Opponents of gay marriage in Maine
turned in petition signatures to force a “people's veto” on the
recently enacted law Friday morning.
Representatives from the Stand for
Marriage Maine coalition arrived to turn in their petition at the
state Capitol in Augusta early Friday morning, Jesse Connolly,
Campaign Manager for No on 1- Protect Maine Equality, said in an
“It's official: We are going to have
to fight to protect marriage equality in Maine in November's ballot,”
Communications Director Mark Sullivan said, then added: “But we
have been gearing up for this moment for months and we are ready to
defend Maine's marriage equality law. Now it's a reality.”
The start of gay marriage in Maine was
scheduled to take place September 12 but will now be put on hold
until after the results of the November election are known, if the
petition is certified valid by the secretary of state's office.
Opponents of the law announced several
weeks ago that they had gathered sufficient signatures to force a
referendum. Mark Mutty, executive director of the group, said it
took four weeks to gather the more than 55,000 signatures necessary
to qualify the measure.
Stand for Marriage Maine is a coalition
of anti-gay groups led by the National Organization for Marriage, the
nation's most vociferous opponent of gay marriage, and the Catholic
Diocese of Portland.
On the heels of the legalization of gay
marriage in Iowa and Vermont, Maine's Legislature passed and Governor
John Baldacci signed into law the gay marriage bill in May, making it
the fifth state to legalize gay marriage. The next month, New
Hampshire lawmakers passed gay marriage legislation as well.