Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Maine: The Way Life Should Be

Maine Gov. John Baldacci signs a gay rights marriage bill in his office at the State House in Augusta, Maine, on Wednesday, May 6, 2009.

OUR STATE motto. And it had a deep resonance today when, shortly after noon, Governor John Elias Baldacci became the first governor in the nation's history to sign a marriage equality bill into law. LD 1020, An Act to End Discrimination in Civil Marriage and Affirm Religious Freedom, now bears the signature of an Italian Catholic state executive.

The Maine event.

I've had goosebumps most of the day.

Maine, the way life should be.

When I first moved here, people asked me why I would do such a thing. For many in the nation, Maine is akin to Siberia.

Well, in this, the whitest state in the union, Portland, our largest city, boasts a Black woman mayor and a chief of police who's a Black man.

Go figure.

I live in a rather conservative small town near the capitol in Augusta, so I get to scoot down Route 202 to the State House anytime I want to lobby or witness our legislative process up close and personal.

I'm blessed -- brilliantly blessed -- to have lived long enough to see the election of our nation's first Black president, and to live on a farm in my dream home in a place where the vows I shared with my beloved husband almost 11 years ago will now be recognized by my state.

The vows I shared nearly 11 years ago. Tempus fugit. These weren't the vows we exchanged, but here is our Declaration of Lifelong Commitment, signed by our family and friends:

WHEREAS we are of sound mind, body and spirit; and
WHEREAS we have been living and loving together for nearly two years; and
WHEREAS we have made, in the presence of our families, friends, ancestors and all that is holy, a public pronouncement of our intent to enter this union, we

Jacobus Dirk Blom & Craig Von Hickman

the undersigned, on this 22nd day of August 1998, as witnessed by those closest to us,

PROMISE to have and to hold each other, in sickness and in health, in joy and in sorrow, in prosperity and in destitution, all the days of our lives on this earth. We further

PROMISE to recognize this union as sacred and unbreakable and will, in times of trouble or weakness, turn to God and to all those who have witnessed this declaration to support us on our lifelong journey together

And no, I don't fear the overturning of this legislation by the people's veto process via referendum come November or next June. Let the Catholic Church spearhead the effort to obtain the 60,000 or so signatures that need to be certified to send the issue to the ballot box.

It. Will. Fail.

Of this, I am certain.

The way life should be.

As goes Maine, so goes the nation.

From Andrew Sullivan:

So I sit here and toast with a small cappuccino and some petite vanilla bean scones like the big proud fag I am. A few years ago, this would have been front page news. Now it feels like history repeating. And justice slowly seeping up like a rising water table that becomes a mighty and joyous flood.

It's a new day.


(UPDATE: I found a clip of my brief interview after the house vote yesterday here.)


Helen W said...


Peace & Love,

Beth said...

Wow, I had a chill run down my spine reading this post. I am SO thrilled Craig! What an amazing and important moment in time!

Pamela said...

As it should be.

Peace and love for any and every one lucky enough to find it. :)

sG said...

It's good. Congrats, Craig. ^_^

Ron Buckmire said...

great stuff!!

maryanne said...

Congratulations, Craig, on the wisdom of your governor. First open records for adoptees, now marriage equality! God Bless Maine!

muriel may campbell said...

I love everything you said
It is true, As Maine goes, so goes the nation, a saying quite old in Maine, nice to hear it come from Sullivan

Your wedding vows are perfect. Would you mind posting you cake cutting picture or perhaps you wedding photo, one of my favorites, both.
We spent an afternoon looking at the album one day last summer and said a prayer that this day would come.

After all it is about time people stop living in sin, . . is not that what the church would say? would they speak to living together? another upside down illogical, oxymoron or something like that
I am so happy about a lot of things right now
must take a rest


you have the faith
God Bless the world

Mister James said...

It just keeps getting better!

It feels like our turn on the ride.
Good work being our witness my friend.

Jolene said...

Hi Craig - I've been lurking on your tennis blog for a while now, but have never posted a comment. This seemed like as good a time as any to make my first one (granted, not on the tennis blog istelf, but still). Congrats! As a native of Mass. who's spent a lot of time in Maine, I'm so proud of the lead New England is taking on this issue.

Craig Hickman said...

Hi, Jolene!

Thanks for lurking. Thanks for commenting. Thanks for your support.



em, I'll look for the photos. They might already be on this blog somewhere.


Mister James, and you know it's true.


Beth, Helen, Pamela, sG, MadProf, maryanne, and everyone lurking, peace and love!

oddman said...

Wonderful, Craig and Job! I'm thrilled. And your vows are just precious.

HoiHa said...

Craig I join you on that trip over the moon - we are getting there brothers and sisters. Now if we can get the "Uniting American Families Act" through at the federal level I might one day be able to come "home" with my partner instead of being in "exile" for choosing love first. But days like this give us hope.

muriel may campbell said...

Mister James,
You are most welcome
anytime, sir :-)

Your voice was good, I love it
We all had a chance to see the rest of the footage
You were very relaxed, focused and came accross calm.
Don't bother looking for the pic's if they are here, on your blog.
Tennis is probably calling?

Our Governor signed the bill into law immediately.
sinking in