American Foundation for Equal Rights

Marriage News Blog

Battleground State Profile: Maine

This November, three states—Maine, Maryland, and Washington—will vote to preserve or obtain marriage equality by way of a statewide referendum. In Minnesota, voters will consider whether to write a marriage equality ban into their state’s constitution. In a four-part series, we look at the history of efforts in each state with a marriage ballot measure, current polling and how you can get involved.

In the spring of 2009, Maine passed a marriage equality bill. It was all set to become law, but anti-marriage activists put the legislation up to a “People’s Veto” referendum before the law went into effect.  Anti-marriage forces won by just 33,000 votes. The National Organization for Marriage alone spent $1.9 million in that race.

It was a difficult defeat to face. But pro-equality Mainers haven’t been resting since then. A coalition led by Equality Maine and Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders spent the last two and a half years working on a public education campaign, talking to neighbors door to door about why the freedom to marry is so important.

In January of 2012, Mainers United for Marriage turned in petitions signed by 105,000 residents — nearly twice the number needed to hold another referendum. The “Act to Allow Marriage Licenses for Same-Sex Couples and Protect Religious Freedom” will appear on the ballot this November.

Current Polling

At this point, the polling looks promising. A survey released earlier this month shows a 22 point lead for marriage equality—57 percent to 35 percent. This lead could narrow however, once the ballot campaign kicks into high gear.

What You Can Do

Will Maine be the first state to win a ballot campaign for marriage equality? You can visit Mainers United for Marriage to get involved with the campaign.

  • Sign the pledge to show your commitment to winning the freedom to marry in Maine.
  • Volunteer with the campaign on the ground
  • Grow the Campaign by asking your friends to join you in winning the freedom to marry in Maine via email, Facebook and Twitter
  • Donate to support the campaign’s efforts.