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Churches fight gay marriage in Maine with pew collections

Ahead of Maine's vote to legalize gay marriage, many churches there are planning to pass the collection basket around on Father's Day to help fundraise against the ballot initiative.

Up to 200 churches are expected to raise money for a political action committee opposing the November vote, the Christian Civic League of Maine told The Associated Press.

The Catholic Church won't be joining the alliance, but participants include Methodist, Baptist, Pentecostal, Nazarene, Church of God, Wesleyan, Evangelical Free, Advent Christian and other denominations, the league stated.

While churches and other nonprofits may not raise money for candidates to office, they may raise money for issues important to their members.

Father's Day, June 17, seemed appropriate for a special church collection because of the day's focus on family, league Director Carroll Conley Jr told the AP. Additional collections are expected in the months ahead.

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"The messaging we're using is that those who are seeking to redefine marriage in Maine believe there's no difference between moms and dads," Conley told the AP. "We believe those differences are relevant. We don't think the differences in the genders are societally imposed roles, and we believe that children benefit when they're in that ideal environment where there's a mom and dad."

AP noted that several churches are working to pass the initiative.

The referendum is about inclusion, a "loving God" and being nonjudgmental and compassionate, said Rev. Sue Gabrielson, the minister at the Sanford Unitarian Universalist Church.

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