Michael Heath, the face of the anti-gay group Maine Family Policy Council, has resigned, Portland's Fox affiliate, Fox 23, reported.

The group was the first to call for a “people's veto” on a gay marriage law approved by lawmakers in the spring.

Heath has been with the socially conservative group for 15 years, serving as executive director since 1994. He previously helped mount two offensives against pro-gay legislation. The first effort was successful, but voters disagreed in 2005 when he attempted to repeal a law that banned discrimination against gay men and lesbians.

In announcing it would fight against the gay marriage law, the group said: “Homosexuality is very sad, and sinful. Maine must not create a culture that winks at something so debilitating on so many levels. To present this 'orientation' as benign to impressionable children is the height of arrogance, and surely qualifies as evil.”

In accepting his resignation, the board said Heath had become a “lightning rod.”

Last year, Heath blamed the nation's financial crisis on gay unions. Writing at his blog (mikeheath.blogspot.com), he said amending state constitutions to ban gay marriage, and eliminating domestic partnerships and civil unions for gay and lesbian couples would make God “crack a smile.”

He also blamed a gloomy summer on gay marriage, saying at his blog, the “moral climate in Maine has caused the sun to hide its face in shame.”

“In May, our elected officials overturned a law of nature, and in its place paid honor to evil and unnatural practices. … How fitting that this eclipse of human reason is mirrored by the disappearance of the sun,” he said.

While the Maine Family Policy Council was the first to speak out against the gay marriage law, it saw its influence quickly fade when the nation's most vociferous opponent of gay marriage, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), moved in.

Heath says he's been marginalized in the fight against gay marriage.