Gay Marriage loses in the state of Maine: Repealed by voters
Yes on One referendum wins , 53%
In nearly identical margins to the Proposition 8 in California win, Yes on Question One, to repeal gay marriage, won in the state of Maine last night.
This is a blow to the gay marriage movement, hoping to make history in the progressive state.
If Maine had voted No on the referendum, they would have been the first state to allow gay marriage by popular vote, not by legislation imposed on the people.
Maine had been called "the bellwether state " regarding this referendum: 'As goes Maine, so will go the nation on gay marriage', both sides had proposed last month. Now, gay advocates are sorry they said this. This will likely give Prop 8 new legs, as will Oregon pro-traditional coalitions new confidence on this issue.
It is staggering to me . . . It's one more sign, I fear, that the Democratic establishment's opposition to marriage equality is real; and the president's peeps are increasingly determined to do what they can keep us from the right to civil marriage. ~Andrew Sullivan, gay marriage advocate
Dejection fills Ballroom as Yes on 1 wins in Maine
Cecelia Burnett and Ann Swanson had already set their wedding date. When they joined about 1,000 other gay marriage supporters for an election night party in a Holiday Inn ballroom, they hoped to celebrate the vote that would make it possible.
Instead, they went home at midnight, dejected and near tears after a failed bid to make Maine the first state to approve same-sex marriage at the ballot box.
"I'm ready to start crying," said Burnett, a 58-year-old massage therapist, walking out of the ballroom with Swanson at her side. "I don't understand what the fear is, why people are so afraid of this change.
"It hurts. It hurts personally," she said. "It's a personal rejection of us and our relationship, and I don't understand what the fear is."
With 87 percent of precincts reporting, gay-marriage foes had 53 percent of the vote in a referendum that asked Maine voters whether they wanted to repeal a law allowing same-sex marriage that had passed the Legislature and was signed by Democratic Gov. John Baldacci.
For the gay rights movement, which has gained a foothold in New England, it was a stinging defeat. Gay marriage has now lost in every state — 31 in all — in which it has been put to a popular vote. Gay-rights activists had hoped to buck that trend in Maine, framing same-sex marriage as a matter of equality for all families in a campaign that used 8,000 volunteers to get out the message.
Five states have legalized gay marriage — Iowa, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire and Connecticut— but all did so through legislation or court rulings, not by popular vote.
Voters in Maine repealed a state law legalizing same sex marriage, which backers of the measure said shows "voters don't want to change what you call marriage." Advocates of same-sex marriage refused to concede defeat early Wednesday after supporters declared victory.
Nearly 53 percent of voters backed the referendum of a law the state legislature approved in May and the governor signed.
"Voters have a pretty good grasp about what they think marriage should be," said Jeff Flint, the Sacramento strategist for the Yes on 1 campaign. "It's not that they're discriminatory or bigoted. They just draw the line at what they think marriage should be." Mark Sullivan, a spokesman for No on 1/Protect Maine Equality, refused to concede, saying votes needed to be counted in all of Maine's counties. "We're going to continue operations until every vote is counted," Sullivan said. "We'll see what the final count is (later Wednesday) and take it from there."
The vote in Maine comes a year after California voters rejected same-sex marriage by a nearly identical margin. Voters in almost three dozen states have rejected such marriages through constitutional amendments, while same-sex marriages are legal in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont and Iowa.
"For the same-sex marriage movement to move ahead, it has to win a state like Maine," said Corey Cook, a political science professor at the University of San Francisco. "It's not a liberal bastion, but it is fairly progressive - sort of an impartial bellwether."
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