Will Maine Voters Be First to Legalize Gay Marriage?

gay marriagePhoto via Thinkstock

These are the states, in chronological order, where voters have banned gay marriage at the ballot box: Alaska, Hawaii, Nebraska, Nevada, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Utah, Kansas, Texas, Alabama, Colorado, Idaho, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, Wisconsin, Arizona, California, Florida, and North Carolina.

These are the states, in chronological order, where voters have approved gay marriage at the ballot box: 0.

That’s hard to believe, right?

But it’s true: Every single time the question has been put to voters, they’ve rejected gay marriage. (The only places where gay marriages are legal are states where it’s been approved by the courts or the legislature.) Even liberal California rejected it in 2008.

This November, four states have the chance to change this: Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington will all be voting on initiatives to legalize gay marriage. And according to polls gathered by Molly Ball at the Atlantic, Maine is poised to most easily pass the bill, with 55 percent of those polled supporting the bill, and only 36 percent opposed. Maryland and Washington seem likely to pass it as well, while Minnesota is a bit tighter.

For Maine, it would be a chance at redemption. In 2009, the state legislature passed—and Governor Baldacci signed—a bill legalizing gay marriage. After being challenged, the voters repealed the bill at the ballot box, 53 percent to 47.

Fortunately, opinions are changing rapidly on the issue. Three years after that vote, support for gay marriage has reached a critical mass. In 2012, national support for gay marriage topped 50 percent for the first time in polls. In June, a CNN poll showed support at 54 percent. That’s only going to continue to increase as younger voters grow increasingly influential.

A few months from now, Maine has the chance to become the first state (or one of the first states, at least) to stand up for civil rights and approve gay marriage—and really show the rest of the U.S. the way life should be.

  • wayne

    Our East Coast is where our freedoms and liberty were first secured. That Maine should be the first state in the Union to repeat that honor would be terrific!

  • Jean

    Everyone in the US should have freedom of speech, no one in government should intimidate free speech.

    The protections of marriage that heterosexuals already enjoy for themselves and their families should also be enjoyed by gays and their families.

    They should also have protection against job discrimination, hate crimes, bullying in schools, exclusion from visiting a dying mate in a hospital.

    Those Christians that are against any rights for gays, such as Chick-Fil-A’s Cathy, have gone as far as donating money to a group advocating a law that would execute someone for homosexuality.

    Except for a very small fringe, those against marriage equality would not agree with that even if there is a Biblical precedent for executing gays.

    Everyone should have the freedom of religion, and interpret the Bible according to their convictions.

    But the logic of enforcing some restrictions on marriage for the sake of a particular Biblical view if actually applied would also mean the end of the legality of most divorce in the US and prohibiting alcohol again.

    Which brings me back to the same rights for gays that heterosexuals have

    Which sounds a lot to me like , Do onto others as you would have them do unto you.

  • Joe

    Actually Minnesota is fighting against an amendment that would ban same sex marriage in their state constitution. The other three states are voting to legalized marriage equality though.

  • http://yahoo Peter Rufo

    Wouldn’t it be nice if this country would stop being so narrow minded. Every living person, gay or straight deserves the same rights.