In a 20–15 vote, the Maine State Senate passed a bill to legalize marriage equality in that state this morning. The body also defeated a measure to put the issue to a statewide referendum before voters. The bill will pass to the heavily Democratic State House of Representatives next, after which, if passed, it will be handed over to Democratic governor John Baldacci. Baldacci has previously opposed full marriage equality, but has recently said he is undecided. “I was opposed to this for a long time, but people evolve, people change as time goes by,” he told the left-leaning blog Pam’s House Blend. Currently, a marriage-equality bill is sitting on the desk of New Hampshire governor John Lynch, having been passed by both state bodies there. Fellow New England states Connecticut and Massachusetts also have legalized marriage equality, and the Rhode Island State Legislature is expected to take up the issue later this year. Meanwhile, the New York State Assembly’s marriage-equality bill, introduced by Governor Paterson, has gone through committee and is expected to hit the floor next week.
Maine Senate Passes Gay Marriage Bill [EDGE Boston]