[JURIST] A pro-same-sex marriage group in Maine, EqualityMaine [advocacy website], has gathered enough signatures to place a same-sex marriage [JURIST news archive] referendum on the November ballot. The question reads: "Do you favor a law allowing marriage licenses for same-sex couples that protects religious freedom by ensuring no religion or clergy be required to perform such a marriage in violation of their religious beliefs?" Same-sex marriage opponents will have 10 days to challenge the signatures [Reuters report] in an attempt to stop the bill from being placed on the ballot. In 2009, the Maine legislature passed a same-sex marriage bill, but voters chose to overturn the measure [JURIST report] by voting in a referendum much like the one planned for November. EqualityMaine now expects that voters will pass the same-sex bill by more than ten percent.
Recently, there has been a nationwide push towards acceptance of same-sex marriage. Earlier this week, the Maryland Senate passed a same-sex marriage bill [JURIST report], sending it to the governor. Also this week, Washington state legalized same-sex marriage [JURIST report] after Governor Christine Gregoire signed the legislation. New Jersey is also considering legalizing same-sex marriage soon, although it currently has a civil union system in place. Governor Chris Christie conditionally vetoed a same-sex marriage bill [JURIST report] last week and called for a voter referendum to decide the issue, rather than the state legislature. Same-sex marriage has also been legalized in New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire and the District of Columbia [JURIST reports].