Saturday/Sunday, April 28-29, 2012: Drug Testing, Same-Sex Marriage and Ted Nugent

Bangor Daily News (Bangor, ME), April 27, 2012 | Go to article overview

Saturday/Sunday, April 28-29, 2012: Drug Testing, Same-Sex Marriage and Ted Nugent


Drug problems

Maine has a prescription drug problem and a welfare problem. Thirty percent of Maine's budget funds welfare programs, more than we spend on schools and new jobs. There are 22 programs. Sign up for one, your eligibility for the other 21 is automatically checked.

Washington County alone has almost 50 percent of its population receiving TANF, food stamps or Medicaid. Twenty-two percent of the convictions in the most recent session of Washington County Superior Court involved one or more drug charges, all of those involving scheduled (prescription) drugs. Maine currently requires individuals convicted of drug felonies to submit to a drug test before receiving welfare.

What about those who don't get caught or are convicted of a misdemeanor? Most jobs today require applicants to submit to a pre- employment drug test. Maine residents who receive welfare should have to do the same. Current welfare recipients have expressed offense and outrage at the idea that they should have to submit to a drug test; that someone is implying welfare users are drug users. That's hardly the case. Prescription drug users and abusers should not be allowed to have the same benefits as law-abiding people who are simply using the "hand up" that the state offers as a means to better their situation for their families and themselves. Its not an accusation aimed at those who receive state aid. It's a means to ensure they receive the aid they qualify for, without wasting resources on people who illegally abuse drugs.

Andrea Ahearn

Holden

What marriage is about

We read Mr. Pinette's OpEd ("Compromise is possible," BDN, April 20) asking if there could be a "title" that would be acceptable to those of us in the gay and lesbian community who wish to marry. We appreciate and share Mr. Pinette's wish for consideration and compassion toward one another.

Same-sex marriage is not only about rights and privileges, but also about love, respect, commitment, responsibility and family. These are what marriage is really about for all couples, regardless of sexual orientation.

There is a problem if different states arrive at various "titles." Every state has laws that allow only "married" adults standing that many married man-and-woman couples take for granted.

Let us explain that we are a same-sex couple in our 70s. We grew up, the same as everyone else, believing that marriage was the ultimate commitment a person can make to another. We married in Vermont, but we want our marriage legally recognized in Maine.

Joy was with her previous partner for over 30 years, yet was not allowed to claim her body because she was not related to her. Lynn cannot name Joy as her pension beneficiary; her pension plan allows changes only for recognized marriages. These same types of written regulations, laws and rules exist in every state.

We were born and we have birth certificates. We will die and we will have death certificates. Please help us to be married and have legal marriage certificates from the state of Maine.

Lynn Smith

Joy Landers

Addison

Augusta vote

The Republicans in Augusta shirked their duty when they refused to return to work to address the governor's line-item veto. …

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