“Do you want to allow the state of Maine to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples?” This is the referendum question Mainers will answer when they vote on Nov. 6.

But same-sex couples have registered their wedding ceremonies with the state and received certified copies licensing that union since 2004. A license is a permit where you must be registered with the state to have a wedding ceremony and join together in legal matrimony to get benefits.

Same-sex couples can file paperwork to get similar rights as heterosexual couples, such as inheriting their spouse’s property, adopting children, being considered next-of-kin when making funeral arrangements, serving as guardian or conservator of their spouse’s property if their spouse becomes incapacitated and taking up to 10 weeks of unpaid leave if their child is sick or dying.

Clearly, same-sex couples already get licenses despite political rhetoric.

Marriage is not a right. You need a license to get married. You don’t need a license for your rights.

Special-interest groups are not spending $5 million to pass a law to get a driver’s, hunting, fishing or marriage license. All of which can be revoked by the state.

This is about our rights, not special rights, but taking away rights we already have, such as our 1st, 10th and 14th Amendment rights. Same-sex marriage is being used to attack our Constitutional rights, state by state.

Here’s how.

Same-sex marriage will change the legal definition from “one man and one woman” to Person A and Person B, making it meaningless. This completes the transfer of power over this institution from the realm of “We the People” and grants full control to the state, which strikes at the heart of our First Amendment.

Here’s why.

Redefining marriage will allow gay-rights groups to join a class-action lawsuit with Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York and Iowa against the federal government, claiming discrimination.

This lawsuit bypasses Congress to go before the Supreme Court which will strike at the heart of the 10th Amendment, which is states’ rights. This class-action lawsuit will allow noncitizens to collect welfare and free health care, which strikes at the heart of the 14th Amendment, which is what it means to be an American citizen.

This is not about love. It is about the law and the changes this law will make to our government and our rights.

Let’s look at the buzzword “equality” they are using. It is a terrific clue as to the kind of government they are talking about.

Gay marriage is a global agenda, and when they speak about “equality” they are talking about making America equal with the rest of the world, hence, the need to eliminate free speech, states’ rights and what it means to be an American citizen.

Eleven other countries have passed gay marriage: Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Iceland, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, South Africa and Sweden.

Passing gay marriage is not the only thing they have in common: They are also ranked the most socialist countries on earth. So what does socialism have to do with same-sex marriage?

To understand that we need to know what socialism is.

Socialism is a political and economic theory that believes that government should control everything. It is a stage between overthrowing capitalism and creating a communist government.

Same-sex marriage is a cover so politicians can play political football in the attempt to score votes and grow government. What voters need to understand is that, in Maine, everything is already fair and equal.

The last thing we want to do is use a corrupt tax code to justify passing a law that takes away our Constitutional rights for the sake of changing our government to make America “equal” with the rest of the world.

For these reasons, vote no for same-sex marriage on Nov. 6.

Erick Bennett is a political consultant and strategist who owns FNX Enterprises. He created the Maine Equal Rights Center campaign and the Voter Guide for this year’s referendum question.