Gov. Baldacci signs legislation passed by state Senate and House of Representatives
WASHINGTON - The Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, issued the following statement after Gov. John Baldacci signed legislation recognizing marriage equality for same-sex couples under state law. The state Senate voted 21-14 and the state House of Representatives voted 89-57 to pass the legislation and send it to Gov. Baldacci for signature.
"Just one year ago, a single state allowed same-sex couples to marry. Now, with the historic step taken by Gov. Baldacci and the Maine legislature, five states will provide equal dignity, equal respect, and equal rights under state law for same-sex couples by recognizing their freedom to marry, and we hope more will follow soon," said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. "Congratulations to Gov. John Baldacci, Senator Dennis Damon, and Speaker of the House Hannah Pingree for making sure all loving, committed couples in Maine, and their families, will have equal rights and responsibilities under state law, and congratulations to Equality Maine for the hard work it has done over the years to make today a reality."
Solmonese continued: "No religious institution will have to recognize any marriage under this law. This law is simply about making sure that loving, committed couples, and their families, receive equal rights and responsibilities. This is a step that will strengthen Maine families."
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.
In addition to Maine, four states have recognized marriage for same-sex couples under state law: Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, and Vermont (effective September 1, 2009).
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.
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
The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.
To make a general inquiry, please visit our contact page. Members of the media can reach our press office at: (202) 572-8968 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.