Maine is the first state in the nation to gain marriage equality by popular vote
WINNING MARRIAGE: On November 6, 2012, Maine became the eighth jurisdiction in the United States to extend the freedom to marry to same-sex couples when a majority of Mainers voted YES on Question 1 at the ballot on Election Day. The win marked the first time that the freedom to marry has ever won a popular vote, and the first time marriage advocates proactively ran a marriage ballot campaign. Read more about the historic vote.
Question 1 was a proactive citizen's initiative begun by advocates for the freedom to marry and supported by Mainers United for Marriage, the coalition working to pass Question 1. Same-sex couples began marrying in Maine on December 29, 2012.
HISTORY: On May 6, 2009, Gov. John Baldacci signed a freedom to marry bill into law after it was approved by the state legislature.
Anti-gay groups immediately began collecting signatures to repeal the bill at the ballot. After months of an intensive campaign, the voters of Maine repealed the freedom to marry with 53 percent of the vote. 47 percent of Mainers voted to uphold the freedom to marry.
Since the loss in 2009, advocates including Equality Maine, Freedom to Marry and Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders have worked to increase support for marriage in Maine through public education campaigns and conversations with voters across the state. The work is paying off, with public support growing from 47 percent to 54 percent.
In early 2012, marriage advocates delivered enough signatures to the Secretary of State to place a citizen's initiative on the Nov. 6, 2012 ballot that would allow same-sex couples to receive a marriage license while also protecting religious freedom. On Feb. 23, the Secretary of State confirmed that more than enough signatures had been collected to place the initiative on the ballot,
After months of campaigning, Mainers United for Marriage, the coalition working to pass Question 1 at the ballot, declared victory on November 6, 2012, a historic night where marriage ballot measures also passed in Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington.
POLLING DATA: One month after the freedom to marry took effect in Maine, 78% of respondents explained that same-sex couples marrying had no impact or a positive impact on their lives. Before the election, when Question 1 was approved in Maine to extend the freedom to marry to same-sex couples, 52% of Mainers said they supported marriage. (Public Policy Polling, January 2013)
NUMBER OF SAME-SEX COUPLES: According to The Williams Institute's analysis of the 2010 U.S. Census, 3,958 same-sex couples are living in Maine, representing 7.1 same-sex couples per 1,000 households.
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