Maine State House Votes in Favor of Marriage for Same-Sex Couples

For Immediate Release

Contact: 
Rachel Balick | Phone: 202/216.1516 | Cell: 202/246.1226
Trevor Thomas | Phone: 202/216.1547 | Cell: 202/250.9758

Maine State House Votes in Favor of Marriage for Same-Sex Couples

Bill previously passed Senate last week

WASHINGTON -
The
Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and
transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, praised the Maine State
House of Representatives for its vote today in favor of legislation
that would permit same-sex couples to marry under state law.  The state
House voted 89 to 58 in favor of the measure, which previously passed
the State Senate last week. 
 
“The
march towards marriage equality for all loving, committed couples
continues across this country,” said Human Rights Campaign President
Joe Solmonese.  “Today, Maine joins the growing list of states who have
voted to grant marriage equality to same-sex couples.  It’s becoming
increasingly clear that legislators across the nation understand that
it’s simply the right thing to do.  We congratulate Speaker of the
House Hannah Pingree for her championing of this legislation and
Equality Maine for its great work in building support for equality.  We
urge Maine Governor John Baldacci to sign this bill into law and
unequivocally place Maine on the right side of history.”
 
The
Human Rights Campaign has had a field organizer on the ground in Maine
for the past four months working with Equality Maine to build support
for the marriage legislation. 
 
Four
states have recognized marriage for same-sex couples under state law:
Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, and Vermont (effective September 1,
2009).  Last month, Iowa’s state supreme court unanimously ruled that
the state constitution guarantees same-sex couples the equal right to
marry.  On April 7, Vermont’s legislature overrode Gov. Douglas’ veto,
making Vermont the first state to recognize marriage equality through
the legislative process.  Connecticut also enacted a bill codifying the
state supreme court’s October 2008 decision recognizing marriage for
same-sex couples. 
 
New
York recognizes marriages by same-sex couples legally entered into in
another jurisdiction.  California recognized marriage by same-sex
couples between June and November of 2008, before voters approved
Proposition 8, which purports to amend the state constitution to
prohibit marriage equality.  The Proposition 8 vote has been challenged
in court; a decision by the state supreme court is expected by June.
 
Legislatures
in New Hampshire and New York are also considering legislation that
would permit same-sex couples to marry under state law. Maine currently
provides same-sex couples with access to limited rights and benefits
through a domestic partner registry. Same-sex
couples do not receive federal rights and benefits in any state.  To
learn more about state by state legislation visit: www.hrc.org/state_laws
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The Human Rights Campaign represents a grassroots force of over 750,000 members and supporters nationwide. As the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization, HRC envisions an America where LGBT people are ensured of their basic equal rights, and can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.

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