Lawmakers in Maine approved a gay marriage bill, becoming the fourth Legislature to do so.

House members passed Senator Dennis S. Damon's gay marriage bill on an 89 to 57 vote. Senators approved the bill last Thursday with a 21 to 14 vote.

With an 85 to 62 vote, House members also rejected an amendment that would have sent the question of gay marriage directly to the voters.

Only three other states have approved gay marriage legislation: California, Vermont and New Hampshire. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed the legislation twice. But last month, Vermont became the first state to legislatively approve gay marriage after lawmakers passed a gay marriage bill over the objections of its governor, Jim Douglas.

The bill now heads back to the Senate for its final approval.

The Legislature's actions place Governor John Baldacci, who favors civil unions over marriage for gay and lesbian couples, in a tight spot. The Democratic governor backtracked a bit on his opposition to gay nuptials in January when the legislation was introduced.

“I'm not prepared to say I support gay marriage today, but I will consider what I hear as the Legislature works to find the best way to address discrimination,” Baldacci said.

Republican Minority Whip Phillip Curtis of Madison labeled the bill “A radical redefinition of marriage” in calling for its defeat on the House floor.

Representative Jim Martin, an openly gay Democrat, urged members to pass the legislation so that he could upgrade his own 10-year-old commitment ceremony to marriage.

Gay marriage foes have already announced they will push for repeal.

Lawmakers in New York and Rhode Island are considering similar legislation.