Maine Governor John Baldacci has signed
a gay marriage bill, making Maine the fifth state to legalize gay
marriage, the AP reports.
Senators held a final vote Wednesday on
Senator Dennis S. Damon's gay marriage bill that passed the House
Tuesday on an 89 to 57 vote. The final tally in the Senate was 21 to
13, with one senator absent.
House members also rejected an
amendment that would have sent the question of gay marriage directly
to the voters.
Maine is the second state to approve
gay marriage legislatively, instead of by court order. 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.
Maine's actions expand the number of
New England states that allow gay marriage to four, Connecticut,
Massachusetts and Vermont included. Massachusetts will celebrate the
fifth anniversary of the state Supreme Court ruling that legalized
gay marriage on May 17.
Lawmakers in New Hampshire, another New
England state, are also poised to send a gay marriage bill to their
governor, Democrat John Lynch, who has remained mum on whether he'll
sign the legislation into law, but has indicated in the past that he
favors civil unions for gay and lesbian couples.
Baldacci, a Democrat, previously stated
he does not support gay marriage.
marriage foes have already announced they will push for repeal with a
“people's veto” referendum.
Lawmakers in New York and Rhode Island
are considering similar legislation.