After Tuesday's disappointing election results, where Mainers voted down both gay marriage and restrictions on tax increases, there was a lot of grumbling about who was responsible for sinking gay marriage.
Matt Wickenheiser at the Portland Press Herald took on the water-cooler explanations that it was Republicans versus Democrats, rural people versus urban voters or Southern Maine's cosmopolitan population versus the rugged North.
Keep in mind that a "No" vote on question one was a vote in favor of gay marriage.
After all, why would all these supposed Republicans suddenly dominate a state election in the Democrat-friendly Maine, but also vote down the tax cap on question four by nearly a 21 percent margin.
In Maine, only six counties had more registered Republicans than Democrats in the latest listing on the secretary of state's Web site, from about a year ago: Franklin, Hancock, Knox, Lincoln, Piscataquis and Waldo.
Two of the four counties that voted against Question 1 are on that list. Eight of the 10 counties that have more Democrats voted for repeal.
In Cumberland County, Portland, the state's liberal center, voted strongly in support of same-sex marriage, 20,085 to 7,242, a difference of 47 percentage points. Two neighboring cities, Westbrook and South Portland, also voted against the repeal.
But only a few of Maine's other large communities voted "no." Bangor voted against repeal by about 900 votes, as did Saco, by about 600 votes.
Instead, Wickenheiser broke down the number to show that specific religious stances correlate with the votes.
Religion apparently played a role in the vote. There are. about 200,000 Catholics in Maine, with the church considering about 30 percent of them "active." Three areas are considered very Catholic – Lewiston, Biddeford and far northern Aroostook County. All of those areas supported the repeal.
Small evangelical churches also played a role, according to the article. While the Bible is getting blamed for a this defeat, it's important to remember that the No on One camp was not shy about using liberal churches in their campaign, as well as making religious statements to back up their arguments.
For example the TV ad with Yolande Dumont of Lewiston and her extended family:
I've been a Catholic all my life, my faith means a lot to me," says the woman. "Marriage to me is a great institution, it works, and it's what I want for my children too.The article didn't give any numbers to back up the well-understood belief that the gay marriage opinions are easily predicted by age, just testimony from an academic. It also didn't give a breakdown of which religious sects supported and which opposed - but that's to be expected because those numbers aren't available by looking at area voting records.
So while there still is a separation between church and state, there is no separation between church and politics.