by Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
Voters in Maine exercised their right to a People’s Veto and chose to repeal a law passed by the state legislature that would have allowed same-sex couples to marry. Gay marriage has now lost in every single state – 31 in all – where the issue has been put to a popular vote.
According to a report by Fox News, with 87 percent of precincts reporting, votes to reject the law were running at 53 percent vs. 47 percent.
The outcome will now repeal a law passed by the Maine Legislature last spring which was put on hold after the people gathered enough signatures to force a vote.
The vote is a heartbreaking defeat for proponents of gay marriage who mounted an energetic and well-funded campaign in a state where many believed they had a good chance of winning because of the state’s moderate, independent-minded population.
“The institution of marriage has been preserved in Maine and across the nation,” declared Frank Schubert, chief organizer for the “Yes on 1” campaign to reject the law.
Maine now joins 30 other states where the issue of same-sex marriage was rejected by the people when put to a popular vote. The five states where same-sex marriage is currently legal, Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont, all enacted their laws through the legislature or judges.
Gay-marriage supporters conceded early this morning.
“We’re in this for the long haul,” said Jesse Connolly, manager of the pro-gay marriage campaign. “For next week, and next month, and next year — until all Maine families are treated equally. Because in the end, this has always been about love and family and that will always be something worth fighting for.”
Gay-rights activists were desperate for a win so they could blunt the argument that gay marriage was being foisted upon an unwilling populace by activist judges and lawmakers.
Analysts believe if the Maine law had been upheld, it would have given momentum to the movement for another vote on gay marriage in California, and given a boost to gay-marriage bills in New York and New Jersey.
Also on the ballot Tuesday was an initiative in the state of Washington deciding whether to uphold or overturn a recently expanded domestic partnership law that will give same-sex partners the same rights as heterosexual married couples.
That race currently remains too close to call and may be days before the final votes are tallied.
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