AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) - Concerned Maine Families, which spearheaded an unsuccessful 1995 referendum seeking to prevent cities from extending rights to homosexuals, will not get involved in the latest repeal effort against gay rights.
``Regrettably, we have yet to see convincing evidence that the necessary funding will be available to make this campaign competitive,'' Lawrence Lockman, CMF vice chairman, said today.
Despite hundreds of calls of support during the past week, Lockman said his group has been unable to raise $500,000, the minimum he said was necessary ``to level the playing field that is presently tilted heavily in favor of the national Gay Left organizations.''
The Christian Civic League of Maine and the Christian Coalition announced last week they intended to launch a ``people's veto'' campaign to block an anti-discrimination bill signed by Gov. Angus King on Friday.
The bill being challenged would prohibit discrimination against gays in housing, credit, public accommodations and employment.
CMF leader Carolyn Cosby had threatened to launch her own drive last week unless King vetoed the bill or the Legislature amended it. Cosby said she needed to hear from supporters by today, when she would decide whether to go ahead.
Cosby was not present at a news conference to announce CMF's plans today. Lockman said she was taking a ``well-deserved vacation.''
Lockman predicted a referendum to repeal the bill would ``trigger mobilization of the national network of big-money gay-activist political contributors.''
``Maine is not a wealthy state,'' he said.
Lockman said CMF's 4,000 or so members were free to get involved in the other groups' referendum drive.
Opponents of the bill must gather 51,131 voters' signatures by 90 days after the legislative session ends. If the signatures are certified, a referendum on the bill must be scheduled.
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