A bill that would allow same-sex marriage in Maine passed its first test at the end of last week, when the state Senate approved the measure. Eleven out of the 14 Judiciary Committee members voted to pass the bill, while two voted against it, and one member proposed sending it to voters in a November referendum.
The next step for the bill happens today, when the House of Representatives will take it up. Based on last week’s vote, both gay-marriage supporters and opponents predict it will pass in the House and eventually be sent to Democratic Gov. John Baldacci. It remains unclear, however, whether the Governor would sign it. If in fact it is signed into law, Maine would be the fifth state to legalize same-sex marriage.
At the end of April, according to a Washington Post/ABC News Poll, supporters of gay marriage outnumber opponents: 49% are in favor versus 47% opposed. Additionally, 53% believe gay marriages held legally in another state should be recognized as legal in their states. With all the recent victories out of New England and the Midwest, is it possible that the tide is turning after the 2004 Presidential election in which many states supported constitutional amendments barring an entire group of people from equal rights? We certainly hope so.