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Same Sex Marriage Bill Passes in Maine Senate

The Maine state Senate voted yesterday in favor of a bill that would allow same sex couples to marry in the state in a 20 to 15 vote. The Senate defeated a proposed amendment to the bill requiring a referendum vote by Maine’s voters, according to the Human Rights Campaign. The Joint Committee on Judiciary had voted earlier this week in favor of the bill and one committee member proposed that voters decide the issue in a referendum, according to New York Times.

According to the Associated Press, it is unclear whether Maine Governor John Baldacci will sign the bill if it is passed by the legislature. A recent poll showed 47.3 percent of Maine residents support the same sex marriage bill and that 49.5 percent oppose the legislation, reported the Associated Press.

Thousands gathered for a Judiciary Committee hearing on the bill last week and, according to the Bangor Daily News, the crowd gave a standing ovation to the bill’s sponsor, state Senator Dennis Damon.

If the legislation is approved, Maine would be the fifth state to permit same sex marriage in the United States after Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, and Vermont. Similar legislation is currently under consideration in New York and New Hampshire.

Sources:

Feminist Daily Newswire 4/30/09; Associated Press 4/22/09, 4/22/09; New York Times 4/29/09; Bangor Daily News 4/22/09; Human Rights Campaign Press Release 4/30/09

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