News (USA)

All eyes on Maine as voters decide on gay marriage; latest poll a ‘nail-biter’

No on Question 1On Tuesday, Maine residents will have their say in the nationwide debate over gay marriage.

Voters there will decide whether to repeal a law that would allow gay marriage. The law was passed by the Legislature and signed by Democratic Gov. John Baldacci last May but has never taken effect.

If voters reject the measure, the law would remian in tact and Maine would become to first state to approve gay marriage at the polls.

Bolstered by out-of-state money and volunteers, both sides jockeyed Monday to boost voter turnout.

The contest is considered too close to call, and both campaigns worked vigorously — with rallies, phone calls, e-mails and ads — to be sure their supporters cast votes in the off-year election.

Update: The most recent poll of 1,133 likely voters, conducted October 31-November 1 by Public Policy Polling, finds the anti-gay side winning 51-47, a result within the margin of error.

LGBT activists are in high gear tonight, issuing a “Red Alert” to all who favor marriage equality, asking them to step up participation in the campaign for No on 1 in Maine.

Opponents, of course, are hoping for a repeat of California — when a state Supreme Court decision extended marriage rights to gay and lesbian couples, voters overturned it at the polls in November 2008 via the controversial Proposition 8.

As with many ballot questions, this question can prove somewhat confusing, in terms of what a yes and no vote means. Voting “no” on Question 1 means you support the law passed by the Legislature and are in favor of same-sex marriage in Maine.

Since Massachusetts became the first state to legalize gay marriage in 2004, Connecticut, Vermont, and Iowa have followed suit.

New Jersey and New York appear likely to address the gay marriage question in the relatively near future, and on Tuesday voters in Washington State will decide whether to give domestic partners the same rights as married couples.

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