[JURIST] Maine voters approved a ballot initiative Tuesday that repealed a same-sex marriage [JURIST news archive] bill [text] passed by the state legislature last May. Question 1 [text], which read, "Do you want to reject the new law that lets same-sex couples marry and allows individuals and religious groups to refuse to perform these marriages?" was projected to prevail by a margin of 53 percent to 47 percent with 87 percent of votes counted, according to unofficial results [WMTW report] as of Wednesday at 9:00 AM ET. The legislation was set to take effect in September until Question 1 qualified for the ballot after gaining the required signatures in a process [materials] allowing voters to override laws passed by the legislature. The petition for the veto began soon after Governor John Baldacci [official profile] signed the legislation into law [JURIST report] last May.
The bill would have made Maine the sixth state to recognize marriage between same-sex couples, after similar legislative initiatives were successful in New Hampshire and Vermont [JURIST reports]. Legislation to the same end was passed [JURIST report] by the New York State Assembly in May, but has since stalled in the state senate. In April, the Iowa Supreme Court overturned [JURIST report] that state's ban on same-sex marriage, following the supreme courts of Connecticut, California, and Massachusetts [JURIST reports]. Last November, California voters approved Proposition 8 [JURIST report], a ballot initiative similar to Maine's, amending the California constitution to exclude same-sex couples from marriage and effectively overriding the ruling of the high court.