A campaign to legalize gay marriage in
Maine has gathered more than 40,000 signatures in less than 6 weeks.
Maine, the state's largest gay rights group, announced on
Wednesday that it was more than half of the way toward its goal. To
qualify for the 2012 ballot, supporters need to collect the
signatures of 57,277 registered voters. However, in order to ensure
that there are sufficient valid signatures, the group plans to gather
nearly 75,000 signatures.
“The fact that we have gathered more
than 40,000 signatures in less than six weeks is nothing short of
remarkable,” the group said in an email to supporters. “Simply
put, we could not have reached this incredible milestone so quickly
without the help of dedicated supporters all over the country like
In 2009, gay marriage foes narrowly
(53%) repealed a gay marriage law approved by lawmakers with a
“people's veto” at the ballot box, known as Question 1. Now,
backers hope to make Maine the first state to legalize the
institution through the same democratic process.
The proposed text of the question
reads: “Do you favor a law allowing marriage licenses for same-sex
couples that protects religious freedom by ensuring no religion or
clergy be required to perform such a marriage in violation of their
Proponents in Maine acted after New
York became the sixth state to legalize such unions in July and
Governor Martin O'Malley pledged to back a gay marriage bill during
next year's legislative session, which begins in January.