Maine approves gay marriage bill

The Portland Press Herald reports:

“Democratic Governor John Baldacci today signed into law a bill allowing gay marriage making Maine the fifth state to allow same sex marriage.

The Governor’s signature came barely an hour after the measure won final approval in the legislature, with a final 31-8 vote in favor in the Maine Senate.”

Baldacci, formerly an opponent of similar bills, noted that churches will not have to perform marriages for same sex couples under the legislation.  Maine becomes the fifth state to currently allow same sex marriage.  Four of the states are in the six state New England region (CT,MA,VT,ME) with the fifth being Iowa.

Opponents of the legislation appear to be aiming for a referendum on the issue.  Hope they lose big time.

Can New Hampshire be far behind?

84 thoughts on “Maine approves gay marriage bill”

  1. D.C. also approved a bill recognizing any marriage performed in a state that legalizes same sex marriage.  Of course this sets up a battle in Congress.  Republicans are going to want to meddle in D.C. affairs just like they did with the gun ban.

  2. These are the states we should target post-2010 for gay marriage, which means we need to make sure the appropriate gubernatorial positions are picked up or state legislative majorities increased or maintained.





    MD (what is happening out in MD anyway, I’ve heard they’ve started the process)

    NJ may pass it next year with Corzine getting re-elected (hopefully)

    And if the DFL win’s the gubernatorial spot in MN, we could probably pass civil unions come 2011.  IL I’m not quire sure what they could get passed, maybe gay marriage but civil unions if not.

    All other states that could possibly do something (namely WI and MI) passed constitutional amendments that banned both marriage and civil unions so they cant do anything and have to wait for the national scene to catch up, or overturn the amendments which I wouldnt even bother trying yet there.

    Other than those listed, we kind of dont have much else to go except for maybe New Mexico and even a domestic partnership bill went down in flames this year.  The above list is pretty much our target list, plus NH if they dont pass it later today or this week.  That only makes 14 states where gay marriage could be possible and one state where civil unions could happen.

  3. Reading the exchange between Andrew and Venslor makes me long for the emergence of the next Harvey Milk. Even though his only elected office was SF Supervisor, he helped form alliances with labor and minority groups to beat back Anita Bryant’s hate campaign. He struck one of the first major blows for gay rights, and we could certainly use someone with his gifts in the current struggle.

    I agree wholeheartedly with Venslor that, if we are to defeat future Proposition H8s, there needs to be better outreach between gays and minority groups, with special focus on older (30+) voters. Younger voters (black, white, Asian, Latino, etc) are not the problem. They voted overwhelmingly against H8. It’s the older voters that are the main stumbling block, and that’s true of all races.  

  4. Could be Jared Polis. I’ve been extremely impressed by him since reading about him wining the primary in CO. Very sharp guy…

  5. Why has there not been much movement regarding legalizing Gay Marriage in Rhode Island? I know the R governor is committed to a veto, but the chamber seems to have the margins. So, what’s the hold up?

  6. Many, many of the Dems in the Rhode Island statehouse are socially-moderate to conservative Italian and Irish Catholics.  Remember, the Massachusetts legislature was stalling too, despite overwhelming Dem control, until the Courts forced their hand.  That said, the chambers are SO lopsided, this should be over soon.

  7. Rhode Island recognizes out of state gay marriages. So its not big deal, drive the 45 minutes, no matter where you live in the state, to Connecticut or Massachusetts and bam. legally gay married at home in Rhode Island. Although, they might push to legalize it if all the other states around them do.

  8. I’ve heard that there is probably a majority in RI for gay marriage, but not a veto-proof majority, so the pro side is basically opting to wait until Gov Carcieri is (hopefully) out of office in Nov. 2010, then press ahead with lobbying a new governor to sign a bill (hopefully D, but perhaps even Lincoln Chaffee could be persuaded).

  9. Rhode Island actually has a law banning abortion, that of course Roe overruled…If Roe v. Wade got overturned, abortion would automatically be banned in Rhode Island.  

  10. Sounds to me like an archaic law only still on the books because Roe v. Wade is still law.

  11. I have no doubt that if Roe was overturned, it would be an easy time getting a law passed to legalize abortion…I just find it funny that they never repealed their archiac law pre-Roe.  

  12. Are states that have elected Supreme Courts.  There needs to be a concerted effort to get progressive justices elected to state Supreme Courts in all states that have elections for the office.  There are far too many states we let slide in these races.  

    In Ohio every F’n Supreme Court justice is Republican despite the office being elected there.  No excuse for that.

  13. The House and Senate in Olympia have been moving very slowly and carefully in the past few years, and I think they should be lauded for it.  It would be a good model for other states to follow.

    First they just got a non-discrimation bill passed–which was probably the hardest to pass(about 3 years ago).

    Then they passed a very simple, low-level, domestic partnership bill.  It allowed things like visitation rights at a hospital, and lots of no-brainer sort of things.  Lots of the things that straight people didn’t even know was an issue for gay men and women.  This was two years ago.

    Last year they passed a more beefed-up version domestic partnership bill.  This ventured in the world of finances. Passed without any debate from the right.

    This year they passed an “everything but marriage” domestic partnership bill.  Sames margins as the previous years’ bills.  The right is fighting amongst themselves whether they should fight against–or wait for what they see coming.

    2010???  A civil unions bill?  Or maybe even a marriage bill?  Slow and steady wins the race!

  14. Fortunately there’s no organization equivalent to the NRA opposing marriage equality — nothing that powerful and that significant to Democratic politicians seeking reelection. So I’m hopeful that congressional meddlers won’t be able to do the sort of trick they’re doing with the amendment stripping DC’s local government of the ability to pass most gun laws.

    For Congress to block the city council’s legislation, they’d have to pass their disapproval through both chambers and get it signed by the president within 30 legislative days from the time the mayor signs it. If they simply do act at all, it becomes law. Of course, they could always pass a law of their own overriding it.

    Maine and New Hampshire are providing some cover (are Collins and Snowe really going to vote to prevent their constituents’ marriages from being recognized in DC?), and there’s enough going on that Congress may be distracted, even if DC-hating Jason Chaffetz is blowing a gasket.

  15. I hope that pushes Maryland to get on the ball and legalize it already. they have the majorities in the legislature and O’Malley should be pressured to sign it if hes on the fence.

  16. of the rise of more aggressive judicial action against unconstitutional laws is a huge buildup of laws rendered obsolete by court rulings, since the legislatures don’t bother taking the time to go and take them off the books.

  17. Have you read “The Appeal” by John Grisham?  It’s a remarkable indictment of the fact that we elect Supreme Court Justices.

    We shouldn’t elect Justices.  Period.

    Not saying that we shouldn’t target the Courts until we eliminate the elections.  Just saying.

  18. Read everything he ever wrote…wasn’t there a time when he considered running for the Senate in Mississippi if Cochran stepped down?  

  19. I’m all for taking things slow, but also picking up opportunities when they arise. Hawaii would be a great chance for a pick up soon, although, there has been opposition there before. We’ll have to see. Also, looking at states that

    a) have only passed statutes against gay marriage:


    b) states without the direct initiative process.

    Because the worst thing that could happen now is more Prop 8s around the country. I live in California, and I’m gay, and I’m more than willing to wait until 2012 for gay marriage so long as it passes by a vote. If we try to bring it up in 2010 again and it doesn’t pass, its just another victory for the social conservatives and it makes our cause look less popular.  

  20. Grisham’s a Democrat.  I’d kinda like Stephen King (also a Democrat) to run for something.

  21. And also a congressional district.  I believe he lives in the 3rd district which was an open seat last year and was rumored as a candidate.

  22. I think Obama would have done as well in Alaska as he did in Montana, losing it by a couple points.  Obama was within the margin of error there in July and August.

  23. Alaska is one of the few states where abortion was generally legal before Roe.  

  24. At first, I would agree with your assessment, but I also thought that Ethan Berkowitz would trounce Don Young, and that Begich would handily defeat Stevens.  Neither was the case.  However, Palin probably helped both guys out.  I dunno.  I’d say Alaska would have been, at a minimum more like North  and South Dakota (8-9%).  

  25. Wikipedia says Grisham considered challenging George Allen in 2006.  Guess he splits his time between VA and MS.

  26. By majorities i mean they have a large Democratic majority. I am sure itd pass if it went to a full vote.

  27. the House won’t be intervening.

    If the House doesn’t do anything, then there is no way for it to be overturned.  The Senate and the President will certainly follow suit.

    Maryland needs to get going on their same-sex marriage stuff so then DC can pretty much have it as well.

    Great news all around today.  Let’s hope Lynch gives us some more great news tomorrow!  Today too, it started raining a little and then it get beautiful out and I got to see the biggest rainbow I’ve ever seen today.  heh.

  28. one of 5 when he served.  HRC just showed a list and I forgot who was all on it now.  Franken will be an addition once that’s over with.






    Schumer I believe


    and then Franken I believe is what it was.

    Brown maybe?  I dont know if he ever stated he was for it but he’s liberal enough.  Sanders may have been on the list, too.  I’m sure there are a number of other Senators who would vote for it if it came up.  Milkulski, Klobuchar, Snowe and Collins if a referendum fails there, Leahy maybe now.  It’d be interesting.  Not that a vote will be coming up any time soon on gay marriage at the national level, that could be awhile in the making.  It’ll be exciting when states like Wisconsin and Oregon start overturning their constitutional amendments.

  29. Boxer










    Lautenberg (I’ve heard him say he supports it)


  30. But a Senator supporting gay marriage is really important. And more than symbolism. They can help fight for it, locally, in their home states. I dont expect it to come up for a vote, federally, anytime soon but they can do alot in their own states. Sure, theres many states where itd be basically pointless to support it (including my own state, though theres no chance of Cornyn or KBH supporting it)…but in many states itd actually help.

  31. I assume that a midterm election will draw a lot less black and hispanic voters who would otherwise vote down a pro-gay marriage amendment, but all of those voters will turn out again in 2012.  

  32. midterm elections naturally bring out more educated people as they vote more and all that.  They opposed Prop 8 and 2010 should be successful.

  33. What about Virginia? I dont think theyre anymore socially conservative than Iowa is but I dont know how complicated itd be to get gay marriage legalized there through the courts. I know it wont through the legislature or voting booth anytime soon.

  34. 12 in all that you listed. In the coming months i wouldnt be surprised if many more senators came out for it. Including: Harkin, Menendez, Shaheen, Leahy, Reed, Mikulski, Cardin, Murray, Cantwell, Klobuchar, Dodd, Durbin, Kerry, etc. I can even see Olympia Snowe supporting it.  

  35. that banned gay marriage and any type of civil unions. That would have to be repealed to make any progress.

    And Virginia is definitely more socially conservative than Iowa.

  36. Despite all his flaws been a rock solid progressive vote and it’s probably doubtful he’s runnign for re-election anyway.

  37. because it is a low turn out election, religious conservatives might be able to turn out more of their forces and in a short amount of time actually increase the margin of victory. We shouldn’t be attempting to get around minorities, we should be working with and educating them. Otherwise, California will be voting on this every two years, just like we have to vote on parental notification of abortion laws. Every two years we have to vote for it, every year it is defeated.

  38. Don’t expect all those young under-30 pro-marriage California voters who were infatuated with Obama to show up again in 2010 to vote for septuagenarian Jerry Brown.  Having another marriage vote in 2010 could be highly risky.  Young voters have terrible rates of participation in non-Presidential elections.  Something to think about.  

  39. after Prop 8 passed;

    California Senator Dianne Feinstein, long been a supporter of gay rights, has now fully embraced marriage equality. She discussed her journey during a recent interview with Maureen Dowd on “NBC Nightly News.”

    “I think as more and more people have gay friends, gay associations, see gay heroism, that their views change,” Feinstein said in the interview. “I think people are beginning to look at it differently, I know it’s happened for me. “I started out not supporting it. The longer I’ve lived, the more I’ve seen the happiness of people, the stability that these commitments bring to a life. Many adopted children who would have ended up in foster care now have good solid homes and are brought up learning the difference between right and wrong. It’s a very positive thing.”

    It’s an interesting story…she talks about how she found Harvey Milk’s body after his assassination.

  40. Maryland shouldn’t be too difficult, unless socially conservative, church-going AAs block it.  We know conservative whites will, but that’s a minimal factor.

  41. Maryland sends pretty liberal black congressmen to D.C. and from what I’ve read most of the large bloc of blacks in the MD state legislature are both economically and socially liberal.

  42. Arizona, only state in the nation to ever fail a gay marriage amendment, occured in 2006 during the midterm elections, lost by 2%.  Presidential election in 2008, it won by like 10%.  This is contradictory to the trend of polls and there aren’t very many ways to explain that except for the turnout difference in a midterm election and a presidential election.

  43. The failed 2006 measure banned same-sex marriage and civil unions. The successful 2008 measure banned only same-sex marriage. That was the key. Had Prop H8 banned marriage and unions, it would have failed big-time, and the Prop H8 proponents knew it.

  44. If he is running for re-election, he’ll come out strongly for it in the hope it improves his numbers amongst white liberals.

    Especially if doing that helps Paterson in New York.

  45. for every college student that’ll come out and vote for Obama and to overturn Prop 8 there are what, 2, 3, 5 minority voters who will come out and vote for Obama and against overturning Propr 8.  Unless we get the minority voters on our side, we need to try to get it overturned when they aren’t coming out to vote en masse and they most certainly will be in 2012.  I’d much rather rely on a heavier white voting demographic.  And not just from a racial point of view, but as economically, the lower educated and lower economic status people of Cali voted for Prop 8 while the opposite of all that is also true.  (Well, from what I’ve read, I never saw an exit polls)  Overturn it when many of these people will be staying home and not bothering to vote, 2010, not 2012 when everyone will be voting for Obama.

    2014 could be it as well, but the No on Prop 8 crew of Cali wont fuck it up again I dont think.  They were complacent and it came to bite them HARD in the ass.

  46. LA County was a key area in the last vote.  I’d expect better organization and campaigning there.  That alone could change the tide.

  47. when we are hoping that heavily Democratic groups like minorities and the poor do not turn out.

    I’d much rather rely on a heavier white voting demographic.   And not just from a racial point of view, but as economically, the lower educated and lower economic status people of Cali voted for Prop 8 while the opposite of all that is also true.  (Well, from what I’ve read, I never saw an exit polls)  Overturn it when many of these people will be staying home and not bothering to vote, 2010, not 2012 when everyone will be voting for Obama.

  48. Public opinion on this issue is shifting very fast and across ethnic lines.  But ya, I’d rather see an effort to overturn prop 8 in 2010 when fewer minorities are likely to vote.

  49. it’s from a strategic standpoint.  It’s not like I’m discouraging them from voting, they should all go and vote in 2010.  But hell, if there an undeniable pretty much unbreakable trend that has occured for how long, take advantage when ya can.  This is an easy way to do it without doing anything wrong.

  50. The problems with just hoping more educated white people come out to vote are:

    a) they are a shinking demographic in California

    b) Even if we win in a low turnout midterm, the conservatives will just put it back on the ballot in 2012, and it gay marriage will be banned again.

    We can’t just dismiss minority groups in this state. One of the biggest problems with prop 8 was that the no on 8 people did a very poor job with minority outreach. We can’t win in the long run if we don’t change the minds of the people that vote against gay marriage. Once people support gay marriage, I can’t imagine that they will just stop supporting it after that. It takes work, and it takes effort, but its the only way we can win, unless we want to sit around a decade or so until the younger demographics begin to turnout more and we can win that way.

  51. that’s all long term thinking.  I definitely agree with all of it but if it can overturned in 2010, then screw the long term planning.  Just do it now.  And having gay marriage for two years rather than a couple of months makes planning for the future a bit irrelevant because it will all change, probably drastically with two years incumbency rather than a couple of months and where the start of gay marriage immediately transitioned into getting rid of it.  It’s kind of like a freshmen Congressperson.    

  52. where the start of gay marriage WONT immediately transition into getting rid of it.

  53. Maybe because I live in California, and I know the heart-break and suffering prop 8 caused. There were times when I would be driving, and I would just start crying I was so overwhelmed with emotion during that whole campaign. I do not, I repeat, do NOT want to go through that every two years. That is what is going to happen if it does not pass by a decent majority. Besides, what is the point if we win in 2010, but then lose again in 2012? Did we really win? Finally having marriage equality in California was so amazing, just to watch as voters took it away from us again was so horrible. I would rather wait until 2016, than to have to sit, and watch the vote come in again and realize that a my civil rights are, once again, being striped away.

    This isn’t just an abstract thought to me, or something that is great to have in all states, this is my actual life.  

  54. They’re very liberal (especially Edwards).  On the state level, I don’t know.

  55. I’ve thought about that a lot recently too. We need someone that is strong enough to stand up for values, but we also need someone that can actually be a role model, and politicians probably aren’t the best place to find that. I think Gene Robinson, is a great spokes person to start, but we need an openly gay person that can just be themselve and not worry about anything else.  

  56. But wasn’t Milk very progressive on economic issues?  Polis has always struck me as more of a moderate on those issues.

  57. We really dont have a single strong supporter in government, period.  We need a champion to be on our side.

    I hope Baldwin runs in 2012 if Kohl retires, Kind would have an easier shot but whatever, I’m willing to possibly lose seat that we may not need at that point anyway to get her in the Senate.  And if Obama improves on his 2008 performance, he’ll be winning Wisconsin by 20% probably, those are some massive coattails.

    Imagine how expensive that race will be, all the pro-family bullshit money pouring in plus all the gay money pouring in, probably would be the most expensive race (for the size of the state) in history.

  58. plus, Polis pretty much bought his seat.  He certainly did do a lot of work rebuilding the CO Dem Party but I dunno, it bugged me when you’d look at the expense reports and he’s the only one breaking a million in spending, several of them at that.  (IIRC)   Although, we cant totally expect a hardcore liberal GLBT person to represent us.  The GLBT community is probably deceivingly more liberal than they really are, the really liberal ones are just the only ones out doing anything.  Not everyone goes to the Pride Parade in a leather get up, 😉

  59. Wasnt Milk a former Goldwater supporter and even campaign worker? He really became liberal in the last decade of his life.

  60. Has struck me as being in the economic moderate or even economic conservative wing of the Democratic Party. I think many of them would even be liberal Republicans if the GOP was a centrist party like it use to be.

  61. Grayson (FL-08) basically bought his victory as well and has turned out to be a fantastic congressman.  He spent something like $4 million on his campaign last year.  Only a small fraction of his money came from actual donors.

  62. That the LGBT community is no more liberal or conservative as the nation as a whole. And any spokesperson for the community would have to be able to appeal to everyone, not just liberal democrats. If we’re looking for someone to stand up for us, it would have to be someone that looks and acts like everyone else. A flaming liberal, pun intended, would not do anything to help the community, as they would only appeal to the left, we do not need that now. We need someone that can stand up, show that gays are just like everyone else. That is why Barney Frank has never been able to rise up as a spokesman for the community really. Not to mention the scandal that outed him in the first place.

    A true spokesman for the community would have to be moderate, clean cut, probably religious, boy/girl next door. A flaming queen, or a butch bull dyke, while both great, are not going to appeal to people on the moderate to far right. They are just turn offs to these people, they don’t get it.  

  63. Gays and lesbians are probably the wealthiest demographic in the country, totally makes sense.

  64. is that he spent all that money to beat a bunch of fellow Democrats who would’ve been equally as great.

    Self-funding against a Republican, whatever, take that sucka out.

  65. At the time Stuart seemed like the best general election candidate by far.  Grayson’s own money went a long way in winning the primary.  Though his slick TV ads were probably the game changer.

  66. Don’t have a link for it, but I remember seeing a study that said that the average income for gays and lesbians is actually lower than the national average.  

    This stereotype is probably due to the fact that gays and lesbians who are better off economically are probably in an environment that is more conducive to them being out and proud, while LGBT people in lower income levels, especially minorities, are often immersed in a culturally conservative culture and it’s harder for them to be as open about it.

    Not to mention the fact that the average gay guy in Manhattan or the Castro is probably pretty well off, and lots of people will see them and assume that all gay people live like that.

  67. I read this study. They basically found that gays are more or less equal with the race that they typically belong to, with white gays tending to be similar to other whites, and gay minorities being in similar to other minorities. The big differences that this study found is that a lot of gay couples do not have children, and children are big money wasters.

    Ironically, if I remember correctly, marriage was the greatest source of disparity between gays and heterosexuals. The protections and rights granted by a federally recognized marriage.

  68. I remember reading a GQ article about having a gay boss and it had a bunch of statistics saying gays (may only be gay men) on average have IIRC a 36% higher likely having a management position amongst a few other statistics pointing to things like that.  It was a couple of them that basically said, we have better jobs than straight people and are more highly educated too I believe.  But I dont have the article and cant really cite anything.

    I’ll retract saying we’re the richest but I doubt I need statistical evidence to prove that we have the most expendable income.  That will certainly change drastically once adoption is more easily done than needing to jump through a million hurdles with a lawyer to get a kid.

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