Today, Maine Governor John Baldacci signed a bill that will legalize same-sex marriage in Maine. The bill had passed Maine’s legislature on Tuesday.
Maine is now the fifth state in which same-sex marriage is legal. Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont and Iowa all already allow same-sex marriage.
After the passage of Proposition 8 in California in 2008, it appeared that those supporting same-sex marriage had suffered a set back. However, in 2009, the trend appears to be toward allowing two men or two women to marry each other.
More states are likely to follow Maine’s lead. Both New Hampshire and Rhode Island are considering similar bills currently. In all likelihood, same-sex marriage will be legal in all of New England within the next year or so.
By signing the bill, Governor Baldacci reversed his position on gay marriage, which he opposed in the past. He stated in a public announcement today, “In the past, I opposed gay marriage while supporting the idea of civil unions. I have come to believe that this is a question of fairness and of equal protection under the law, and that a civil union is not equal to civil marriage.”
Those opposing same-sex marriage in Maine are likely to try to overturn this bill with a public referendum. In Maine, voters can petition for a bill to be brought before the state’s voters in a general vote. Thus, same-sex marriage in Maine, as in California in 2008, may become the subject of a popular vote.