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Maine Marriage Equality Question Will Go Before Voters

Maine Marriage Equality Question Will Go Before Voters

 

An effort to have Maine voters legalize marriage equality can proceed after the Maine Secretary of State confirmed Thursday that enough signatures have been verified to place a Citizens’ Initiative allowing same-sex couples to receive marriage licenses on the November ballot.

The number of signatures submitted for verification was an impressive 105,000. The 85, 216 verified votes far exceeds the 57,272 that was required to put the issue on the ballot. This, according to equality groups and marriage equality advocates, shows how strong support for legalizing marriage equality is in Maine.

Statements via WhyMarriageMatters:

“Just as my own thinking has evolved on this issue, more and more people in Maine are coming to understand that loving, committed same-sex couples should not be denied the freedom to marry,” said Pastor Michael Gray of Old Orchard Beach United Methodist Church and the citizens initiative’s lead signer. ”We gathered signatures from voters in more than 450 towns all over Maine, and those people signed the petition because they want the chance to vote on this issue again so their gay and lesbian family, friends and neighbors can have access to marriage licenses.”

[...]

“Same-sex couples want to marry for the same reasons other couples want to marry: because they love each other and want to spend their lives together,” said Betsy Smith, the executive director of EqualityMaine.  ”During the last two years, our coalition has had thousands of face-to-face conversations about marriage with Mainers who have changed their minds about this issue. There’s no question that momentum is growing for same-sex marriage in Maine.”

Polling data suggests that around 54 percent of Mainers support legalizing same-sex marriage, with Bestey Smith, executive director of Equality Maine, quoted as saying, “Many Mainers have changed their minds and want a chance to bring equality and fairness to our state.” This is in reference to the narrow defeat marriage equality suffered at the 2009 ballot where voters opted to ban a gay marriage law the state’s Legislature had approved, enacting what is known as a “people’s veto.”

Two other recent public polls put support for marriage equality at 53%, the same margin that rejected same-sex marriage in 2009.

The measure put before voters will be titled “An Act to Allow Marriage Licenses for Same-Sex Couples and Protect Religious Freedom” and the wording proposed for the ballot question is as follows:

“Do you favor a law allowing marriage licenses for same-sex couples, and that protects religious freedom by ensuring that no religion or clergy be required to perform such a marriage in violation of their religious beliefs?”

According to the American Independent, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) has already pledged $32,000 to trying to defeat the marriage equality effort though their resources will be spread thinly with other marriage equality related battles set in Washington and potentially Maryland.

If marriage equality were to win in Maine it would be the first time voters have approved a same-sex marriage law.

 

Related Reading:

Maine Next Hope for Gay Marriage?

Pastor on Gay Marriage: There’s No Us and Them

Denny’s Implementing Trans-Friendly Restroom Policy

 

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Image used under the Creative Commons Attribution License, with thanks to San Diego Shooter.

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28 comments

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4:24AM PDT on Jun 4, 2012

I, like Christopher F, find it strange that civil rights are put up for approval by a popular vote. Civil rights have either been introduced by politicians or the courts. Decisions have been challenged, like Prop 8, but I find it risky to do as described above. What say that outside influence won't sway people? Has happened before!

3:10AM PST on Feb 28, 2012

Thanks.

2:39PM PST on Feb 27, 2012

I find it strange that people get to vote on same sex marriage and yet LGBT people have never been asked to vote on opposite sex marriage .....

So the good people of NOM have already pledged $32,000 to trying to defeat the marriage equality effort? Imagine how much good they could do if the money had been pledged to a charity, but then, they obviously believe that preventing other people the freedom to marry is more important than good causes.

11:20AM PST on Feb 26, 2012

It's hard to believe that we are still arguing about Equal Rights. We are in the 21st Century, but you would think we are in the 19th Century. Some right wing republicans want us to still be back there. It is the tea party religious right wing that are so against peoples rights. They are against marriage rights, gay rights, women's rights, contraception rights, against 'other religions', and even public school rights. Maybe this is just the last vocal throes of a religious right Republican party. Perhaps then they will step out of the dark past and into the light.

3:55AM PST on Feb 26, 2012

Let's hope all the bigots do not turn out to vote.

1:33AM PST on Feb 26, 2012

Marriage equality is just a matter of time. The more people actually meet and get to know someone that they know to be gay, the more people become accepting of equality for gay people. As more people come out, more people get to know someone who is gay, and it becomes safer for people to come out, which encourages the cycle. People learn that gay people are, first and foremost, people.

11:43AM PST on Feb 25, 2012

LOVE FINDS LOVE NOT SEX OR COLOR!

11:41AM PST on Feb 25, 2012

I lived in Maine for many years, and I know how fair and honest Mainers can be. Unfortunately, I know how much power and influence the anti-gay marriage forces can muster. I now live in California, where Prop 8 was passed after a huge influx of money from out of state, namely the Mormon Church. I expect the same kind of outside influence to happen in Maine, so, hopefully, Maine voters will expect it and will be able to resist. Same-sex marriage is an idea whose time has come! Repeal DOMA!!!!!

11:34AM PST on Feb 25, 2012

"No Comment"...

9:50AM PST on Feb 25, 2012

Go Christopher F.! Everyone should have the same rights. We are born with Constitutional Rights in this country.

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