Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Free Speech and the Maine Christian Civic League

I've been harshly critical of the actions of the Maine Christian Civic League and some of its allies in the Spellbound Lingerie story. But now I have found an issue in which I am totally on their side. (Save this for posterity...It's not likely to happen again any time soon.)

The AP is reporting that:

Three federal judges reacted skeptically Monday to a conservative group that wants to air an advertisement around election time singling out Maine's two U.S. senators on the issue of same-sex marriage.

The Christian Civic League is challenging a provision of federal law that bars corporate and union treasury funds from being used to influence campaigns right before an election.

The league's proposed radio ad represents grass-roots lobbying rather than electioneering, said James Bopp, an attorney for the conservative group that claims its free speech rights are harmed by the law.

In Maine's election primary, scheduled for June 13, Sen. Olympia Snowe, a Republican, is running unopposed.

So Snowe is running unopposed. Which means that no matter what the CCL does, short of urging a vote for a write-in candidate, she will win the primary.

The content of the ad is not aimed at her primary election at all! Rather, it is an attempt to influence her and Senator Collins' votes on an attempt to amend the U.S. Constitution:

A tax-exempt Maine corporation, the league wants to run the ad in advance of an early June vote in the Senate on the Marriage Protection Amendment, which says that marriage is solely between a man and a woman.

The ad says: "Unfortunately, your senators voted against the Marriage Protection Amendment two years ago. Please call Sens. Snowe and Collins immediately and urge them to support the Marriage Protection Amendment when it comes to a vote in early June."

It's only coincidental that the vote on the proposed amendment and Maine's primary vote are happening at about the same time. The fact that the CCL would not be allowed to run their ad under the current election laws shows the great potential for politicians to abuse the laws. Henceforth, to avoid seeing ads placed that request their constituents to lobby them on any issue, all our elected officials need do is schedule the votes very near elections. That's a real erosion of the citizens' First Amendment right "to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

For the record, I am not only against the Marriage Protection Amendment, but also in favor of marriage rights for homosexuals. I am, however, horrified to be living in a country where people of the opposite viewpoint apparently won't be allowed to make their viewpoint known.



This is this week's open trackback post. Go here for an FAQ on it. In a nutshell, trackback on most nearly any topic (at my discretion) is allowed today and today only, till midnight eastern U.S. time, provided the post has a link to this post. You don't need to be a member of the Open Trackback Alliance to participate.

Linking to: Freedom Watch, Common Folk Using Common Sense, The Median Sib, Planck's Constant

Linked by Global Security Watch, which is more of a blog aggregator than an original blog source. It's not a splog, so I'll reciprocate the link, for which I'm grateful. I also found a link from Conservative Cat, tho the ping didn't hit me. He's talking about -- what else? -- high oil prices. Worth a read.

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