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AUGUSTA, Me. — Three years after voters in Maine rejected same-sex marriage, they will consider the matter again in November. This time, advocates say they have reason for optimism.
They point to a shift in public opinion, the personal support for same-sex marriage voiced last month by President Obama and what they believe is an effective door-to-door “persuasion” campaign throughout the state.
In addition, the vote will take place in a presidential election year, when more young people, who overwhelmingly support gay marriage, are likely to turn out than in an off year.
Maine is the only state where supporters of same-sex marriage have put such an initiative on the ballot. Whenever the matter has gone to voters before, including here in 2009, it has been driven by opponents; this time, it was proponents who put the issue on the ballot, and they have spent more than two years organizing.
“This is the first time people are having the opportunity to vote yes for equality, as opposed to no,” said Lee Swislow, executive director of Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, a legal rights organization. “We would not have gone forward in Maine and submitted the signatures if we didn’t feel we had a good shot at winning.”
But the weight of history is against them. The fight has never been won at the ballot box. In states where same-sex marriage is legal now — Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont, as well as in the District of Columbia — it has been made possible through court rulings or legislative action. In the 32 states, including California, in which voters have had a say, they have rejected it.
In November, voters in four states will weigh in on same-sex marriage. There is a chance that in three it could become law; besides the initiative in Maine, voters in Maryland and Washington State will decide whether to repeal same-sex marriage laws recently passed in those states. In the
This article originally appeared on: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/news/us/gay-marriage-again-on-ballot-in-maine-641884/