５／１０／日 – メイン州で同性婚が可能：下院上院を通りボルダッチ知事がサイン
Maine governor John E. Baldacci signed legislation Wednesday that will enact marriage equality for the fourth state in New England.It was unclear whether Baldacci would sign the bill, even after the house passed it on Tuesday 89-58, and the senate passed it 22-14 last Thursday. However, the governor said he has been closely following the debate, including a 12-hour public hearing which attracted 3,500 visitors and hundreds of public comments.
“This is an emotional issue that touches deeply many of our most important ideals and traditions,” Baldacci said in a statement. “There are good, earnest, and honest people on both sides of the question. 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.”He added, “Article I in the Maine constitution states that ‘no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, nor be denied the equal protection of the laws, nor be denied the enjoyment of that person’s civil rights or be discriminated against.'”
There are approximately 4,650 same-sex couples living in Maine, according to the Williams Institute, a research center for LGBT issues. Half of those couples are expected to marry within the first three years of the legalization of same-sex marriage, which could boost Maine’s economy by $60 million annually.
There is still the threat of a “people’s veto,” which would force a voter referendum on the marriage-equality law. The effort, being led by the Portland Catholic Diocese and the Maine Family Policy Council, among others, would require 55,087 signatures within 90 days of June 17, the end of the Maine legislative session. Otherwise, same-sex marriage licenses would begin to be issued after the 90th day. ”Even as I sign this important legislation into law,” Baldacci added, “I recognize that this may not be the final word. 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.” Maine Family Policy Council president Mike Heath announced on May 1 that his group would lead the movement for a people’s veto of “sex outside of marriage.”
“The people of Maine know what marriage is,” Heath said in a statement. “Politicians pretend this debate is complicated and emotional. It isn’t. Maine people know the difference between right and wrong. What has been going on in Augusta for the past 20 years is a horrific farse.” The statement also said that all Mainers can already get married — to “someone of the opposite gender.” Evan Wolfson, executive director of the Freedom to Marry Coalition, which has been championing New England’s push for marriage equality, affirmed Wednesday that the battle is not over. ”To avoid a Prop. 8－type assault in Maine,” he said, “all who believe in fairness and equality under the law must take action now and over the next several months to ensure that the people in Maine get the information they need to reject the deceptive, antigay campaign we are likely to see mounted.” (5-6-09, Advocate)