AUGUSTA, ME—The Maine State House of Representatives voted today on a bill that would allow the state to create legal same-sex marriages. The bill, LD 1020 was passed by the House 89 votes to 58.
The bill will next be returned to the Senate for final approval.
Representative Stephen Lovejoy, D—Portland reflected on his own 45 year marriage and testified that same-sex marriage will not hurt his union. Lovejoy told the House in explaining his position, "Love does not destroy, hate does. This is the next step in civil rights".
Representative Sheryl Briggs, D—Mexico, told the House that even though her daughter is a lesbian, She is unable to approve of who her daughter is and would be voting against marriage equality because of her religious upbringing.
Gov. John Baldacci, a Democrat, has not said whether he will sign the bill.
The vote in Maine comes on the heels of a new CBS/New York Times poll released Tuesday that shows that support for marriage equality across the country has risen nine points in the last month. The poll, conducted April 22-26, 2009, shows that 42% of Americans now say that same-sex couples should be allowed to legally marry. That number is up nine points from the month earlier when only 33% support marriage equality for same-sex couples.
Four states have recognized marriage for same-sex couples under state law: Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, and Vermont (effective September 2009). The New Hampshire Senate passed marriage equality bill last week. The New York State Assembly is expected to vote next week on legislation that would permit same-sex couples to marry under state law.