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State of the Race: Maine Ballot Referendum

During 2009, the state legislature in Maine passed a marriage equality law titled, “An Act To End Discrimination in Civil Marriage and Affirm Religious Freedom,” that was signed into law by the Governor Baldacci. After that, opponents of the law gathered enough signatures to force a referendum onto the ballot that same year. That fall, Question 1, passed with 53 percent of the vote, meaning the marriage equality law was repealed. Same-sex couples were not allowed to marry in Maine during the time the law was passed and subsequently repealed.

In 2012, Maine will once again vote on a referendum that could allow same-sex marriage in the state to go forward. And once again, it’s Maine Question 1, that will appear on the ballot. The question before voters  this November in Maine is, “Do you want to allow the State of Maine to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples?”

A September poll by the Portland Press Herald showed the 2012 referendum passing with a 57 to 36 percent margin and supporters of the referendum in Maine appear optimistic heading into the vote.

However, up to this time, in every single state in which a ballot referendum regarding marriage equality has appeared, the anti-equality side has prevailed. Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, in her piece titled, Zero For Thirty-One: Lessons From the Loss in Maine, looks at her experience working to pass the referendum during 2009.

To learn more about Question 1, visit Mainers United For Marriage at : www.mainersunited.org.

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