Maine joins the crowd in New England and legalizes same-sex marriage

May 6, 2009

(ChattahBox) — With the stroke of a governor’s pen, Maine today became the fifth state to authorize same-sex marriages, the fourth to do so in New England. Maine’s Democratic Gov. John Baldacci signed the bill into law despite previously stating his opposition to gay marriage. In a statement, he explained his change of heart: “I have come to believe that this is a question of fairness and of equal protection under the law, and that a civil union is not equal to civil marriage.”

The move comes one day after the Maine Senate voted 21-13 in favor of authorizing marriages “between any two people.” Senate approval followed Monday’s 89-57 House vote. The state House of Representatives passed the bill Tuesday by a 85-62 margin. The law takes effect 90 days from when the legislative session ends, likely in June, but if the bill’s opponents gather 55,000 signatures, they can delay it pending a referendum, which would likely be held in the next election in November, said the governor’s spokesman, David Farmer.

Of the six states in the region, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont already recognize gay marriage, and the two that don’t—New Hampshire and Rhode Island—are moving rapidly in that direction. New Hampshire legislators are poised today to send a gay marriage bill to their governor, who hasn’t indicated whether he will sign it.


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