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The Maine thing is having a supportive legislature

by Jeremy Hooper

200904301315-1Yesterday New Hampshire, today Maine. While the latter state's Senate is currently recessing, and still discussing a proposal to put the matter to voters, they have passed marriage equality on a first vote:

After extended and emotional debate Thursday, the state Senate voted 20-15 to give its preliminary approval.
Maine Senate backs gay marriage on first vote [AP via Bangor Daily]

So where does this leave us in the pretty pony race to become the fifth marriage state? Well in NH, there's another (close but seemingly favorable) vote in the House to approve the language that was taken on in the Senate, and then the Bill/Bill-blessing bill goes to the desk of the (seemingly not as easy, but still promising) Gov. John Lynch. In ME, assuming today's vote holds, the matter next goes to the House for consideration, and if passed there, will then go to Gov. John Baldacci (who is considered friendly, though has mum on his intent to sign).

So which state will get there first? Will we soon go from 4, all the way to 6 marriage equality states (Egads!)? Or will one or either development trip up, forcing one or both states to waste time debating this inevitable concept for just a little bit longer?

We'll let you know as soon as we do! In the meantime, get your arse to the Northeast where magic is happening on a daily basis keep pressing your lawmakers to get on the right side of history!

**UPDATE: The referendum question was rejected, 22-13. The in a revote on the original matter, we gained a vote, making the final pro-gay tally 21-14!!!! Maine Senate backs gay marriage [AP/Fosters]

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Your thoughts

Just a MAINE report: from a citizen...posted on Blend yesterday. RE: Her talk with her Governor when the Gov. called them! Link and partial quote follow.


It was a very friendly and cordial conversation and as I later mentioned to Charlie, anyone can call a supporter- it takes guts to call somone who you KNOW disagrees with you.

But here's the thing. Charlie had read the missive to me earlier in the day and I said, "No, don't send that- let me research and verify further" and was told "Too late; it's sent!"

So I asked to speak to the Governor for a moment...

Now understand, I have only met him once before when chaperoning a school field trip to the Statehouse and in real life am VERY shy about speaking out- eeks!

But I like John Baldacci, who is from "my neck of the woods", and find him to be a very nice person. I especially like his record on important issues and think he has done a fairly good job, given the difficulties of the past decade.

Governor Baldacci has been supportive time and again and darn it, he called HERE.

So I thanked him for calling and for providing me with a wife's ultimate "Dream Come True", as I had told him NOT to send that email until I had verified. (and told him to relate the story to HIS wife at some point, as she would get a chuckle!) But I added that if I HAD found Charlie's conclusion to have been the case, I would have been wholeheartedly behind it and the tone.

I described my background- a lifelong "Jim Longley" independant until February 2008, when I finally registered as a Democrat. That until a few years ago, if someone had told me that I would learn about, advocate and take up a cause in which I had no personal stake, I would have said they were crazy.

But in my mind, this is all about FAIRNESS. All Mainers- and their families- having the same rights, being treated the same, being recognized and protected under law the same.

He then gave me his views of Maine a a state and our fellow Mainers that showed me he loves this state as deeply as I do. That Mainers are very proud and independant, wanting their own civil rights, to be treated fairly, and are willing to let people live as they want to.

I was encouraged and continued, telling him about last week's public hearing and how impressed I have been with the respectful tone set by Equality Maine and the moving stories, time and again, of families- just regular people and families- and that I had to leave because I felt I would burst into tears if I heard one more story of unequality.

That I spent 13 hours last week at the testimony (he had heard much of the testimony via livefeed and was especially impressed with the respectful messages), listening to moving stories of real Maine families, who simply want to have the same rights and protections that he and I have with OUR families.

That at one point late in the evening, I turned to a new friend and apologized, saying that I was so sorry that this was having to occur, that all of this should have been resolved DECADES ago.

At that point, he told me that civil rights sometimes take time to obtain.

I told him that I understood that all Mainers have an opinion regarding LD 1020 and while WE can all openly discuss them and many have already, HIS was the one opinion that had to be kept private and he HAS to keep quiet right now, as to let the legislative process play out without interference.

His response was that I was absolutely right.

Our later joint conclusion is that if a bill does pass and is presented to the governor for signing, he will indeed sign it.

HOWEVER, he did not say that specifically.

THIS was democracy at its best- our elected leader reaching out to speak at length with voters.

Thank you, Governor Baldacci!

Posted by: LOrion | Apr 30, 2009 1:42:39 PM

Via Towleroad... the amendment to put before the voters failed, and the final bill passed 21-14:


Posted by: michael | Apr 30, 2009 1:50:12 PM

I'm not as confident Lynch won't veto, but if he doesn't, New Hampshire is #5. Maine's bill will pass its House no problem and the governor will sign it. However, get ready for the "People's Veto" process, which seems to be 25% of the time about gay rights in Maine.

Posted by: Bruno | Apr 30, 2009 2:47:00 PM

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