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Mixner: Obama Zero Help on Maine

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As voters decide the fate of the gay marriage law in Maine today, gay activist David Mixner charges that the Obama administration provided "zero help" on and may actually have hurt the LGBT community's effort to prevent Question 1 from passing.

Question 1 is the ballot initiative that would repeal the gay marriage law passed by the legislature and signed by Gov. John Baldacci in the spring. The latest poll, on Monday, showed that the outcome of the vote remained a toss-up, with 51% of voters in favor of Question 1 and 47% opposed, and a 2.9-percentage-point margin of error.

On Tuesday, Mixner wrote on his blog that Obama is at least partly to blame for the nail-biting closeness of the contest.

"We won't know the results until late in the evening, but there is one result that is overwhelmingly clear to LGBT citizens and their allies: President Obama and his team were zero help in this critical battle and in the last week might actually have hurt us. That is a fact," wrote Mixner.

Mixner cites Obama for a failure to speak out forcefully against Question 1 and for Atty. Gen. Eric Holder's recent comment that the administration "had no position" on the ballot measure, as Mixner described it.

"Despite repeated pleas for assistance from this community from the start of the campaign, he chose to ignore every opportunity to grant us such relief," Mixner wrote. "At the recent Human Rights Campaign dinner he never said the word 'Maine' once. The most we were able to get out of the White House office of communications was that he was opposed to such efforts. Try weaving that into a powerful ad or robo-calling!"

"Tragically," wrote Mixner, "if we lose closely, that defeat almost can be laid at the steps of the White House for their refusal to stand by our side in the battle for freedom."

Last month the Obama administration released a statement about referenda in Maine and Washington state in response to an inquiry from The Advocate.

"The President has long opposed divisive and discriminatory efforts to deny rights and benefits to same-sex couples, and as he said at the Human Rights Campaign dinner, he believes 'strongly in stopping laws designed to take rights away,'" read the statement. "Also at the dinner, he said he supports 'ensuring that committed gay couples have the same rights and responsibilities afforded to any married couple in this country.'"

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