A campaign to legalize gay marriage in
Maine has gathered sufficient signatures to qualify for next year's
Maine, the state's largest gay rights group, announced on
Wednesday that it had collected the signatures of more than 35,000
registered voters on Election Day. The group had earlier announced
plans to gather 75,000 signatures, about 18,000 more than needed to
qualify. The buffer is a hedge against invalid signatures.
The campaign said it had surpassed its
goal and now had almost 100,000 signatures.
“Yesterday, as volunteers gathered
signatures for marriage, folks statewide reported enthusiasm and
changed minds – a volunteer in a small town kept calling to ask if
she could stay longer because she was so excited how many people were
signing,” the group said in an email to supporters.
“A man in a northern, rural town told
us he wouldn't have signed two years ago, and when we asked what
changed his mind he said simply, 'My daughter.'”
In 2009, gay marriage foes narrowly
(53%) repealed a gay marriage law approved by lawmakers with a
“people's veto” at the ballot box, known as Question 1. Now,
backers hope to make Maine the first state to legalize the
institution through the same democratic process.
A survey released last week shows a
narrow majority of Mainers (51%) now support marriage equality.