The pro-gay marriage campaign in Maine announced Friday it had raised nearly twice as much money as opponents of gay marriage, but the contest remains tight.

Campaign finance reports filed with the state reveal No on1/Protect Maine Equality collected more than $4 million to fight off an effort by Stand for Marriage Maine to repeal a recently enacted gay marriage law in Maine.

Stand for Marriage Maine, the group that organized in the spring to repeal the law, reported raising $2.5 million.

The Maine contest, however, pales in comparison to the $80 million spent last November in California to ban gay marriage.

Maine's Question 1 is the first time voters have been asked to affirm – or reject – a gay marriage law approved by lawmakers, instead of banning gay marriage, as in California.

If Question 1 is rejected on November 3, Maine's gay marriage law would remain on the books.

The contest has become a must win for conservatives whose rhetoric on who should decide on gay marriage has whittled down to voters now that 3 states – Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire – have approved gay marriage legislatively. High courts in Iowa, Massachusetts and Connecticut legalized gay marriage when they ruled bans unconstitutional. Massachusetts lawmakers, however, decided not to pursue a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, an effective endorsement of such unions.

The campaigns had until Friday to file their latest reports to the Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices.

No on 1's report showed a large number of contributions in the $50-$1,000 range. Several individuals made large contributions, including Donald Sussman of North Haven who gave $300,000 and Paul Singer of New York who pitched in $100,000. The Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest gay rights advocate, is listed as giving $49,000.

The opposition reported the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland as its two largest donors. Both groups are behind Stand for Marriage Maine.

NOM has contributed $1.5 million to repeal gay marriage in the Pine State so far, while the diocese has given $550,000, which includes money raised by churches from individuals during a special collection and other out-of-state dioceses.

While gay marriage advocates maintain the money advantage, the contest remains tight. The most recent poll shows Mainers evenly divided with 48% on each side. The Public Policy Polling survey asked 1,130 likely voters how they intend to vote on Question 1. Previous polls, however, have shown the ballot measure trailing. Such as last week's Pan Atlantic SMS Group Omnibus Poll of 401 likely voters that found 52% of respondents in favor of gay marriage and 48% opposed.

Repeal in Maine could benefit opponents in other battlegrounds where lawmakers favor granting gay and lesbian couples the right to marry, including New York, New Jersey and the District of Columbia.  New York and the District already recognize gay marriages formed outside their borders.