Push to reclaim marriage equality in Maine off to positive start


Organizers of the effort to reclaim marriage equality in Maine are predicting that the efforts underway to restore same-sex marriage are off to a positive start.

A spokesperson for Equality Maine said that same-sex marriage supporters in Maine gathered more than 5,000 signatures during the first official day of petition-gathering.

The organization focused its first day efforts on summer festivals in the cities of Portland, Kennebunk, Biddeford, York, Bangor, Ellsworth and Brunswick on Saturday.

“We’re finding that Mainers are changing their minds on this issue — and that’s going to continue through November of 2012,” said Betsy Smith, executive director for Equality Maine, one day after Secretary of State Charlie Summers approved the language last Wednesday for the citizen-initiative petitions.

Maine’s marriage equality law, previously passed by the state’s legislature and signed by the former governor, was overturned in a ballot referendum in 2010 after anti-gay opposition groups won that vote by 52.8 percent.

Equality Maine will need to collect at least 57,277 voters’ signatures by Jan. 30, 2012 in order to qualify to put the measure on the 2012 ballot.

The new bill would first go to the Legislature, which would have an option to pass it.

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