Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Equality - Down But Not Out in Maine, or is it - shit!

UPDATE: or is it. Shit. Maine voters repeal gay-marriage law

The Associated Press: Gay marriage appears in danger of losing in Maine
PORTLAND, Maine — Gay marriage appeared in danger in Maine in a closely watched referendum Tuesday that the nation's gay rights movement had hoped would yield a breakthrough victory at the ballot box.

Voters were asked to decide whether to repeal or affirm a state law that would allow gay couples to wed. The law was passed by the Legislature in May but never took effect because of a petition drive by conservatives.

With 481 of 608 precincts reporting, the pro-repeal side had 52 percent to 48 percent for gay-marriage's supporters.

A vote to uphold the law would mark the first time that the electorate in any state endorsed gay marriage. That could energize activists nationwide and blunt conservative claims that same-sex marriage is being foisted on states by judges or lawmakers over the will of the public.

However, repeal — in New England, the region of the country most supportive of gay couples — would be another heartbreaking defeat for the marriage-equality movement, following the vote against gay marriage in California a year ago.

It would also mark the first time voters had torpedoed a gay-marriage law enacted by a legislature. When Californians rejected same-sex marriage, it was in response to a court ruling, not legislation.

Maine's secretary of state, Matthew Dunlap, said turnout seemed higher than expected for an off-year election and voter interest appeared intense. Even before Tuesday, more than 100,000 people — out of about 1 million registered voters — had voted by absentee ballot or early voting.

Frank Schubert, organizer for the campaign to repeal gay marriage, said a victory by his side would be a "backbreaking loss" for gay-rights activists, given the heavy mobilization and fundraising efforts put into their campaign.

Jesse Connolly, manager for the pro-gay marriage campaign, said the results bore out his prediction of a "razor thin" election.

"At the end of the day we're going to see a positive result," he said late Tuesday. "We might not see that tonight. It might be tomorrow."

Five other states have legalized gay marriage — Iowa, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire and Connecticut — but all did so through legislation or court rulings, not by popular vote. In contrast, constitutional amendments banning gay marriage have been approved in all 30 states where they have been on the ballot....

Also, From Open Left:

Update 47: The No On 1 campaign manager, Jesse Connolly, just went down with us to the ballroom and announced that the race is too close to call and they are still counting. The counting could continue well into the morning. There will be no concession or declaration of victory, it appears, tonight. Things are extremely tight and no news media so far has called the race either.

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