Gay marriage supporters in Maine will
announce on Thursday, January 26 whether they will return to the
ballot box this year or wait.
Equality Maine, the state's largest gay
rights group, has collected nearly twice the number of signatures
needed to put the question on the ballot.
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(53%) repealed a gay marriage law approved by lawmakers with a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.
“Until we finally win marriage at the
ballot, opponents will always claim that marriage is supported only
by the courts and legislatures, but not by the people,” Betsy
Smith, the group's executive director, told Bloomberg News.
Speaking to National Public Radio
(NPR), Marc Solomon of Freedom to Marry, said he believes Maine could
be first state to win marriage at the ballot box.
“We think 2012 is going to be the
year that we actually win a state at the ballot and take away,
really, our opponents' last good talking point that they have on this
matter,” Solomon said.
Support for marriage equality has grown
since 2009 in the Pine State. A survey released late last year shows
majority of Mainers (51%) now support the institution.