Woot!! Another amazing day for marriage equality here in the United States of America! After the Maine State Congress earlier this week passed a bill to legalize same-sex marriage in their State, Governor John Baldacci has today announced that he has signed the bill into law — making Maine the 5th State in the US to legalize same-sex marriage and the second (after Vermont) to do so by State legislature rather than by court order:
Gov. John Baldacci on Wednesday signed a gay marriage bill passed just hours before by the Maine Legislature. Baldacci made his announcement within an hour of the Maine Senate giving its final approval to LD 1020. The Senate voted 21-13 in favor of the measure after a short debate. “In the past, I opposed gay marriage while supporting the idea of civil unions,” Baldacci said in a written statement. “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.” The House of Representatives gave its approval on a 89-57 vote Tuesday. The governor’s signature makes Maine the fifth state to allow gay marriage. In his statement, Baldacci also acknowledged that his signature may not be the last word on the issue. Opponents have vowed to begin the process of a “people’s veto” to send the matter to referendum. “Just as the Maine Constitution demands that all people are treated equally under the law, it also guarantees that the ultimate political power in the State belongs to the people,” Baldacci said. “While the good and just people of Maine may determine this issue, my responsibility is to uphold the Constitution and do, as best as possible, what is right. I believe that signing this legislation is the right thing to do.” Connecticut, Massachusetts and Iowa have been ordered by the courts to do so, and Connecticut later enacted a law codifying the court ruling. Vermont in April passed a gay marriage law over the governor’s objection.
OMG … Happy, Happy Day!!! It’s like the floodgates of equality and justice have opened up in this country! I cannot believe that so many States have legalized same-sex marriage in this country already … and in such a short period of time! It’s almost as if a new State legalizes the practice on a weekly basis (if only that were really the case). I listened to some of the impassioned debate in the Maine House of Representatives this week on this matter and I was almost brought to tears by the amazing things that many of the legislators spoke before the House. Yes, there was much bigotry and hatred spoken in the oral debate by some but the overwhelmingly positive remarks really filled me with hope and optimism that one day (hopefully soon) marriage equality will be made available for all US citizens. Thank you Maine! Thank you for taking the lead along with Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa and Vermont in allowing the citizens of your States the same access to marriage that all heterosexual couples enjoy in this country. These 5 states will forever be remembered as the birthplace of marriage equality in the United States of America. Again … thank you!