After a long, hot summer when the gay marriage debate took a breather, expect the conversation to reignite in a number of states as temperatures plummet.

Roiled opponents have vowed to undo wins piled high by supporters in the spring when Iowa, New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont legalized gay marriage. In Washington State, Nevada and Wisconsin lawmakers approved gay-inclusive domestic partnership laws. Washington's law grants gay and lesbian couples all the rights and obligations of marriage, while Wisconsin and Nevada lawmakers only approved a handful of benefits. And lawmakers in the District of Columbia agreed to recognize gay marriages performed outside its borders. The law effectively allows marriage for gay and lesbian couples who hop on a train to one of the nearby states where it's legal.

But come this time next month some of those gains might be history. Next month, voters in two states will decide whether to keep their gay unions laws.

Maine became the fifth state to legalize gay marriage on May 6, when Maine Governor John Baldacci signed a gay marriage bill approved by lawmakers. The nation's most vociferous opponent of gay marriage, the National Organization for Marriage, and the Catholic Diocese of Portland formed the Stand for Marriage Maine coalition to push for repeal.

Question 1 goes to voters on November 3, giving Mainers the first opportunity in the nation to approve a gay marriage law – or reject it.

In Washington State, where a law that bans gay marriage remains in place, voters are also being asked to approve of legislative action. Passage of Referendum 71 would affirm the state's gay partner law, dubbed the “everything but marriage” law by the media.

Opponents in both states managed to put the laws on hold until voters have their say at the ballot box.

On Tuesday, District of Columbia lawmakers will begin debate on a gay marriage bill. Openly gay councilman David Catania announced last week he would introduce his long awaited gay marriage bill on Tuesday. The measure, which enjoys the endorsement of 10 out of 13 council members, is a shoo-in for passage but that doesn't mean there won't be any fireworks.

Gay marriage foes in the District have already begun their push to outlaw gay marriage. And the bill will also need to get around Congress, which has the final say on laws approved by the city council.

Democrats in New York and New Jersey have vowed to legalize gay marriage. Albany watchers say lawmakers are close to moving on a gay marriage bill waiting on Senate approval to become law. And New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine has said he's prepared to lead an effort to legalize gay marriage during the legislature's lame duck session in November – that is if he's reelected.

In Illinois, lawmakers cannot decide whether to back civil unions or marriage for gay and lesbian couples, leading to increasing criticism of elected officials. Supporters of a failed gay partner bill in New Mexico say they're prepared to attempt a comeback in the fall.

And in California, Proposition 8, the gay marriage ban which has created the most intense heat on the issue, goes on trial before a federal judge in January.