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Maine Governor Baldacci Signs Bill Legalizing Same-Sex Marriage

Maine_small Governor John Baldacci has signed a bill legalizing same-sex marriage in the state:

"Baldacci made his announcement within an hour of the Maine Senate giving its final approval to LD 1020. The Senate voted 21-13 in favor of the measure after a short debate. The House of Representatives gave its approval on a 89-57 vote Tuesday. The proposal would make Maine the fifth state to allow gay marriage. Four states now allow same-sex marriages. Connecticut, Massachusetts and Iowa have been ordered by the courts to do so, and Connecticut later enacted a law codifying the court ruling. Vermont in April passed a gay marriage law over the governor's objection."

 Baldacci, who has opposed same-sex marriage in the past, said in a statement:

Bladacci "I have followed closely the debate on this issue. I have listened to both sides, as they have presented their arguments during the public hearing and on the floor of the Maine Senate and the House of Representatives. I have read many of the notes and letters sent to my office, and I have weighed my decision carefully. I did not come to this decision lightly or in haste. I appreciate the tone brought to this debate by both sides of the issue. This is an emotional issue that touches deeply many of our most important ideals and traditions. There are good, earnest and honest people on both sides of the question.

"In the past, I opposed gay marriage while supporting the idea of civil unions. 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. Article I in the Maine Constitution states that ‘no person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law, nor be denied the equal protection of the laws, nor be denied the enjoyment of that person’s civil rights or be discriminated against.’ This new law does not force any religion to recognize a marriage that falls outside of its beliefs. It does not require the church to perform any ceremony with which it disagrees. Instead, it reaffirms the separation of Church and State. It guarantees that Maine citizens will be treated equally under Maine’s civil marriage laws, and that is the responsibility of government. Even as I sign this important legislation into law, I recognize that this may not be the final word. Just as the Maine Constitution demands that all people are treated equally under the law, it also guarantees that the ultimate political power in the State belongs to the people. While the good and just people of Maine may determine this issue, my responsibility is to uphold the Constitution and do, as best as possible, what is right. I believe that signing this legislation is the right thing to do."

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Comments

  1. Its a good day to be from Maine.

    Its also a good day for all of us fighting for equality.

    Posted by: samwise | May 6, 2009 12:39:52 PM


  2. Lobster tonight!

    Posted by: ZnSD | May 6, 2009 12:41:59 PM


  3. Next stop: New Hampshire!

    Posted by: Dan E | May 6, 2009 12:48:06 PM


  4. Fantastic!

    Posted by: Tyler | May 6, 2009 12:48:10 PM


  5. "No army can withstand the strength of an idea whose time has come."
    (Victor Hugo)

    Posted by: tobethatguy | May 6, 2009 12:49:26 PM


  6. Baladacci is a great example of how open-minded people can be enlightened. Six months ago he never would have signed this bill. Bravo, Governor. Great job, Maine activists. Are you watching, California Supremes?

    Posted by: wisebear | May 6, 2009 12:49:44 PM


  7. Woo Hoo!

    Posted by: Tweety | May 6, 2009 12:50:12 PM


  8. so good

    :) :) :) :)

    Posted by: steve | May 6, 2009 12:52:21 PM


  9. Gov Baladacci just made a little place for himself in the history books. First Governor to sign in a marriage equality bill. Way go gov!

    Posted by: GeoNorth | May 6, 2009 12:54:19 PM


  10. Fantastic news! Well done Maine!

    Posted by: CitizenGeek | May 6, 2009 12:55:29 PM


  11. The dominoes keep falling!

    Posted by: Gabriel Aronson | May 6, 2009 12:56:01 PM


  12. YAY!!

    Posted by: gabriel | May 6, 2009 1:00:16 PM


  13. very cool! :-)

    Posted by: liz templin | May 6, 2009 1:03:00 PM


  14. Come on CA Supremes. Do the right thing.

    Posted by: Kevin | May 6, 2009 1:05:24 PM


  15. This is great! I see every win as one more state I may get to live in! My boyfriend up in NY keeps saying that all of New England is going to allow marriage equality by the time I visit him at the end of June. I sure do hope so.

    Posted by: Blaz | May 6, 2009 1:05:25 PM


  16. YES!!!!!!!!

    Posted by: Wayne | May 6, 2009 1:06:40 PM


  17. What a smart and good man!

    Posted by: RB | May 6, 2009 1:07:25 PM


  18. Yay :D

    Posted by: stephen k | May 6, 2009 1:08:58 PM


  19. Now is the time to call/write/fax Gov. Baldacci and THANK HIM! He changed his view and gave Mainers equality!! Will someone post his contact numbers/email PLEASE!! More importantly contact him and SAY THANK YOU!!

    Posted by: alex in boston | May 6, 2009 1:12:12 PM


  20. Great news! I keep remembering all those moving testimonies from the day of the hearing in Maine. Today, I'm humbled by their victory and wish them all the happiness in the world.

    Posted by: Rafael | May 6, 2009 1:12:25 PM


  21. All the more reason to go to Ogunquit.

    Posted by: Bill S. | May 6, 2009 1:15:12 PM


  22. "Instead, it reaffirms the separation of church and state. It guarantees that Maine citizens will be treated equally under Maine’s civil marriage laws, and that is the responsibility of government."

    Well stated, now if only other states would just adhere to this. Congrats to Maine!

    Posted by: stansfield4602 | May 6, 2009 1:16:06 PM


  23. This is great news. But we will now face the biggest fight since Prop 8. The anti-gays will now use the "People's Veto" process. In the past 14 years, they have won 2 of those and lost 2 of these referenda.

    1995: Failed to pass Colorado-style anti-gay initiative barring all gay rights laws prospectively

    1997: Successfully repealed the state gay rights law

    2000: Again successfully repealed the latest gay rights law passed by the legislature

    2005: Failed to repeal the third gay rights law passed by the legislature

    The marriage law will definitely get on the ballot and it will be a big fight. If we lose, it will take the wind out of our momentum. If we win, it will mean a corner has been turned. Prepare to open your wallets.

    Posted by: Tim | May 6, 2009 1:19:35 PM


  24. Wow, what a wonderful surprise. It brings tears to my eyes and I support getting lobster on the way home to celebrate for Mainers. When can the weddings begin?

    Posted by: Jersey | May 6, 2009 1:19:58 PM


  25. Gov. Baldacci:

    Phone: 207-287-3531

    Email: http://www.maine.gov/governor/baldacci/contact/citizen_services/share_views.html

    Posted by: Rafael | May 6, 2009 1:25:05 PM


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