Maine Secretary of State Approves Language of Marriage Petition—Time to Get to Work

Today, Maine’s Secretary of State approved the language for the citizen’s initiative asking Mainers to restore the freedom to marry in the state. Now that the language has been approved, EqualityMaine will begin collecting signatures to add that initiative to the ballot in 2012.

The citizen’s initiative to restore the freedom to marry to Maine was introduced by EqualityMaine and the Gay and Lesbians Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) in June, after over 18 months of public education about why marriage matters. In 2009, the freedom to marry was won and then repealed in Maine. Since then, EqualityMaine and GLAD have been working tirelessly, going door-to-door and engaging in conversations to win hearts and minds and to build a majority behind the freedom to marry in Maine.

The initiative, titled An Act to Allow Marriage Licenses for Same-Sex Couples and Protect Religious Freedom, has now had its language approved by Maine’s Secretary of State. This means that now marriage advocates in Maine can begin collecting the 57,277 signatures required by January 2012 in order to get the initiative added to the November 2012 ballot.

United Methodist Pastor Michael Gray, one of the first signers of the petition, was very grateful to State Secretary Summers for approving the initiative’s language and looks forward to the campaign ahead. Pastor Gray told the Bangor Daily News today, “As campaign volunteers fan out across the state to collect signatures from their fellow Mainers I expect they will encounter thousands of willing signers who have changed their hearts and minds on marriage after getting to know their gay and lesbian neighbors, co-workers and community members—just as I have done.”

Freedom to Marry continues to support EqualityMaine and GLAD’s work to win back the freedom to marry for Mainers and applauds the speedy approval of the petition’s language by State Secretary Summers.

Now it is time to get to work. The petition needs over 57,000 signatures to be added to the ballot in November and volunteers have already begun collecting signatures across the state. To find out how you can help win the freedom to marry in Maine, click here.