Letter: Age works for, not against, equal rights

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I take issue with two of Halsey Frank’s assertions (“Short Relief: Don’t look now, but the next referendum battle is brewing”). The first is his opinion that given Maine’s median age of 40.7 years it is likely that the repeal of the right of same-sex couples to marry was based, in part, on the idea that “people seem to get more conservative as they grow older.” In fact, research indicates that people do not become more conservative as they age, rather they become less conservative. According to a study on aging and sociopolitical attitudes conducted by researchers at the University of Vermont and Pennsylvania State University, individuals 60 years and older experience greater changes in attitudes related to thoughts about minority groups, civil liberties and privacy compared to any other age group.

The second assertion Frank makes is that Maine is not yet “ready” for gay marriage. Human rights are not rights for which a state must be “ready,” nor should a human right be put to a public vote. The opportunity to marry is a fundamental human right that must be made equally available. The Maine Constitution, United States Constitution and the International Bill of Human Rights affirm individuals as equal and provide identical protection to those individuals. In denying the rights of same-sex couples to marry, we are turning a blind eye to the fact that our founding fathers considered all people to be equal and are deserving of equal protection of their rights. Maine continues discriminate and defy our constitutions.

Holly J. Donovan