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Maine Poll: Same-Sex Marriage May Be Headed toward Approval

Newspaper article

Maine Poll: Same-Sex Marriage May Be Headed toward Approval

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Speaking of Maine (as I seem to be doing obsessively since Olympia Snow's retirement), Mainers may be poised to become the first ever to legalize same-sex marriage by a vote of the people.

Five states -- including Minnesota, as you know -- are likely to have issues of marriage equality on the ballot this year. But in all but Maine, the question has been framed by those opposed to allowing gays and lesbians to marry. And a recent poll suggests that in Maine, advocates of marriage equality are ahead. Here's a quick overview of the five, relying on an Associated Press roundup of last week.

Minnesota and North Carolina are similarly situated. In both states, same-sex marriage has never been legal, but opponents of the idea have arranged referenda to put the ban into the state constitutions so that it will be harder for the courts to strike down the bans. North Carolina will vote on May 8, as part of its primary. Minnesota will vote in November. But same-sex marriage will remain illegal in both states however the vote comes out.

In Maryland and Washington State, same-sex marriage has recently been legalized by the Legislatures (with signatures by the governors). Opponents are currently gathering signatures to put the issue on the ballot in hopes of overturning the new laws. The petition drive is still under way, and I haven't seen any polling on how those states might vote if the referenda make it to the ballots.

Maine is in a separate category. The Legislature legalized same- sex marriage in 2009 (with a signature by the governor). But opponents organized a referendum to repeal the law, which put implementation on hold. And in the 2010 referendum, voters did repeal it by a margin of 53-47 percent. Advocates of marriage equality believe that sentiment has shifted in favor and successfully petitioned to have the question on the ballot again this year.

Public Policy Polling last week released a Maine poll that covered the question and reported its results thus:

It looks like Maine voters will reverse their 2009 decision and legalize gay marriage in the state this fall. …

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