Maine Lawmakers Send Same-Sex Marriage Measure to Ballot; Polls Show Voters Likely to Approve
A citizen initiative to legalize same-sex marriage in Maine is headed for the November ballot, the Kennebec Journal reports:
The Maine House of Representatives unanimously voted this morning to indefinitely postpone the bill, which has the effect of sending it directly to voters. House Speaker Robert Nutting, R-Oakland, recognized Minority Leader Emily Cain, D-Orono, to make the motion. Cain is a supporter of gay-marriage.
"We just think this should be decided by the voters," said Cain's spokeswoman Jodi Quintero. "We would like to see this citizen initiative succeed."
The action by the House avoids a public hearing and a recorded vote by lawmakers. In 2009, the Legislature, which was then controlled by Democrats, held a daylong hearing at the Augusta Civic Center where hundreds of people testified on both sides of the issue.
A recent poll from PPP shows that Maine voters are likely to approve it:
It looks like Maine voters will reverse their 2009 decision and legalize gay marriage in the state this fall. 54% think that gay marriage should be legal to only 41% who think it should be illegal. And when we asked about the issue using the exact language voters will see on the ballot this fall, they say they're inclined to support the referendum by a 47-32 margin.
There's some indication that the exact ballot language is confusing people a little at this point. Only 67% of those who support gay marriage in general say they'll vote yes while 12% say they'll not and 21% are not sure. At the same time just 60% of those who oppose gay marriage generally say they'll vote against the proposed referendum, while 24% say they'll vote for it and 16% are not sure. My guess is at the end of the day voters will see this as a straight referendum on gay marriage regardless of what the language on the ballot says- and the 54/41 number bodes well for pro-equality voters.
Republicans' opinions are pretty much the same as they were in 2009. But Democrats' support for gay marriage has increased slightly, from 71% to 78%. And more importantly independents have gone from voting against gay marriage 52/46 three years ago to now supporting it by a 57/36 margin.