November 2, 2009
Maine Voters to Decide on Same-Sex Marriage
The Maine Legislature legalized same-sex marriage in May, but voters will get a chance to repeal the new law on Tuesday.
This is the first time voters have had a chance to repeal a legislature-initiated law that extends marriage to same-sex couples. If voters repeal it, the law will not be implemented.
The campaign to approve the law, Protect Maine Equality, and the campaign for repealing the law, Stand For Marriage Maine are still fighting hard as Election Day approaches to get the voters out. Protect Maine Equality raised $4 million for advertising and other campaign material, compared to $2.6 million raised by Stand for Marriage Maine, according to The New York Times. In addition, Gov. John Baldacci (D) publicly supports the law.
The final public opinion polls taken before the election suggest that the vote is a dead heat, the Washington Post reports.
Maine’s Press Herald said that 51.8 percent plan to vote “no” (the law should stand) while 42.9 percent plan to vote “yes” (the law should be repealed).
The last time the issue was decided by voters rather than through the legislature or courts was California’s Proposition 8. In November 2008, a majority voted that only marriage “between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California,” as defined now by the California Constitution.
A spokesperson for Stand For Marriage Maine told the Post that after the backlash in California against the Mormon Church, its leadership decided not to become directly involved in Maine. Gov. Baldacci did identify Catholics as a group to watch closely.
"Lewiston, in western Maine, that's a pretty large segment of Franco-American Roman Catholic, working-class kind of a community," he told The Washington Post. "Reactions and support has been pretty good, but that'll be an area we'll want to watch."