Question 1, Maine's gay marriage
referendum, remains a tight contest but gay marriage advocates are
heading into the final lap with the advantage, one analyst concludes.
Gay marriage has yet to win a popular
vote but proponents hope Mainers will be the first to buck the trend.
At least one analysis favors a gay marriage win.
Question 1 asks Mainers to affirm –
or reject – a gay marriage law approved by lawmakers in the spring.
If approved, the law would not go into effect; gay men and lesbians
would not be allowed to marry, but gay marriage would not be banned
outright. That is, the Legislature would be free to enact a new law
during its ordinary session. Which is different from a
voter-approved constitutional gay marriage ban – such as
California's Proposition 8 – that leaves lawmakers and courts
impotent on the issue. A ban severely hamstrings gay marriage
In a last-minute Monday post,
statistician Nate Silver says the contest will be tight, no doubt
hinging on voter turnout, but gives the advantage to supporters of
“The tight polling, certainly, should
keep everybody on their toes,” Silver says, “and gay marriage
could quite easily be overturned.”
“But I'd still put the Yes on 1 side
as about a 5-to-2 underdog,” he adds.
Upholding the law would boost momentum
in states such as New York and New Jersey and the District of
Columbia which are considering legalizing gay marriage. And greatly
deflate the sails of social conservatives who quickly altered their
opposition tune from elected officials – not activist courts –
should decide on gay marriage to voters are the ultimate arbitrators
when New England lawmakers began approving the unions.
Opponents of gay marriage in Maine
recycled many of the arguments used last year to pass Proposition 8,
including the assertion that legalizing gay marriage is a ploy to
teach schoolchildren about being gay. The campaign also employed
other arguments, including a bizarre claim that marriage is for
“If Question 1 fails, homosexual
marriage will not become equal to traditional marriage because
traditional marriage will be totally eliminated,” the Yes on 1
campaign said in an email to supporters. “Marriage will be
genderless. It will exist solely for the benefit of adults.”