Maine voters approved overturning legislation that would have legalized same-sex marriage in the state yesterday. According to the Bangor Daily News, with 87 percent of precincts reporting, 53 percent voted to overturn the law and 47 percent voted to maintain the law.
The law in question was supposed to go into effect September 15, but a people’s veto petition with more than 55,000 signatures was submitted prior to that date, initiating a 30-day stay of the law through yesterday’s election. Same sex marriage opponents submitted a people’s veto application to repeal law just one day after Governor John Baldacci signed the law in May.
Early reports indicated that gay rights supporters were out-organizing their opposition in fundraising. According to Associated Press, supporters of same sex marriage raised more than $4 million from over 20,000 donors compared approximately $2.5 million raised by opponents. Both sides, however, have until Friday to post their final financial reports to the state. Of the opposition’s $2.5 million reported so far, over $1.5 million came from a single donor, the Princeton, New Jersey based National Organization for Marriage (NOM), which was active in defeating same sex marriage in the California state ballot measure in 2008. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland, Maine also gave some $550,000, some of which came from other dioceses and smaller donors.
Same sex marriage is currently legal in five states: Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont. Legislation to legalize same-sex marriage remains under consideration in New York and a legal challenge of Proposition 8, the November 2008 ballot initiative that overturned the right of same-sex marriage in California, is pending.