Maine voters on Tuesday rejected a law allowing gay marriage, a closely fought referendum on the one year anniversary of a similar outcome in California.
Repealing the law passed by the legislature last May is another setback for gay-rights advocates, and makes Maine the third state in which voters reversed government rulings to permit gay marriages, after California and Hawaii.
The Maine gay marriage vote, Question 1, asked voters if they wanted to repeal a gay-marriage bill approved by the Legislature and signed into law in May by Democratic Governor John Baldacci.
With 98% of precincts reporting, 52.78% of voters cast to repeal the same-sex marriage law, with 47.22% in favor of enacting the law.
Supporters of the gay marriage law in Maine, however, are encouraged by the 47% vote they in a referendum that drew an unexpectedly high turnout.
Leaders of the campaign that fought unsuccessfully to prevent repeal the law, said they are not quitting what they term is a “civil rights struggle.” But what form their effort will take is not yet known.
Maine currently grants domestic-partnership status to same-sex couples, along with about seven other states. The legislature voted in May to allow gay marriage, but an opposition petition campaign surpassed the threshold of signatures necessary to put the state law on the November ballot, setting the stage for the furious, two-month campaign, enabling Maine voters to exercise a “People’s Veto” of the gay marriage law.
The law was supposed to go into effect on September 12, but was put on hold pending the outcome of Tuesday’s election.
Same-sex marriage has yet to win a popular vote in any state, and Maine joins the list of more than 30 other states that have rejected gay and lesbian marriage at the ballot box.
Same-sex unions are recognized in five states — Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont — all as a result of court rulings or legislative action.
Other Election Results:
In other contests Tuesday, Washington state voters are on the verge of approving the “everything-but-marriage” referendum granting expanded domestic partner benefits to gay couples and unmarried heterosexual couples, with returns showing a razor-thin margin of 51 percent to 49 percent supporting the expanded status.
In Kalamazoo, Michigan, voters overwhelmingly supported upholding the city’s anti-discrimination law that extends protection to LGBT individuals.