November 4th, 2009
07:34 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Maine Voters Reject Same-Sex Marriage

Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

Supporters of same-sex marriage are vowing to keep up their fight, after voters in Maine yesterday rejected a law allowing such unions.

Stunned and upset advocates of gay rights gathered on the steps of Portland's City Hall today for a news conference.

"It seems in the end Mainers are not ready to treat these families fairly," an emotional Betsy Smith, executive director of Maine Equality, told the crowd.

"Having the protections and the law, as well as the respect and dignity that comes only with marriage is a journey on which we will continue," Smith said.

With 87 percent of precincts reporting as of this morning, the campaign to overturn Maine's same-sex marriage law won with 53 percent of the vote versus 47 percent opposed to the ballot measure, according to unofficial results compiled by the Bangor Daily News.

"The institution of marriage has been preserved in Maine and across the nation," Frank Schubert, chief organizer for the winning side, Yes on 1/Stand for Marriage Maine said last night.

Maine now joins 30 other states where voters have rejected same-sex marriage.

Five states – Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut and Iowa – have legalized such unions.  But all did so through the courts or legislation, not by popular vote.

What do you think of the vote in Maine and the future fight for same-sex marriage? Share your thoughts below.

Tonight on 360°, we'll look at what's next in the aftermath of the Maine vote.

We'll also look at the other election results. The GOP won the governorship in Virginia and New Jersey. Democrats were victorious in  a bitter House race in upstate New York, taking a seat that had been in Republican-control since 1872, when Ulysses S. Grant was president.  We'll look at why voters seemed to vote the way they did yesterday and what it says about politics in America.

Join us for these stories and much more starting at 10 p.m. Eastern. See you then!

Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
soundoff (85 Responses)
  1. Josh M

    We are almost there guys and gals!

    November 4, 2009 at 10:47 pm |
  2. karl

    Civil rights are not a state referendum issue. Where would we be if we had waited on Georgia to ratify civil rights for blacks? President Obama, it is time to take an even more important place in history! How appropriate for a black man to free another persecuted people!

    November 4, 2009 at 10:46 pm |
  3. A.J.Race

    Alright, since everything goes back to " the definition of marriage" let's check New Oxford American Shall we?

    marriage |ˈmarij|noun1 the formal union of a man and a woman, typically recognized by law, by which they become husband and wife.• a similar long-term relationship between partners of the same sex.• a relationship between married people or the period for which it lasts ...

    Bullet two says, Similar Long Term Relationship between two partners of the same sex... what definition are we changing then? So... I guess once more that idiotic argument is clearly over. If the dictionary, defines marriage as also a long term relationship between two partners of the same sex, what else is the problem here?

    November 4, 2009 at 10:46 pm |
  4. Cecil

    The majority of Americns favor marriage being defined as a union between a man and a woman..........in a democracy the majority rules. Got it?

    November 4, 2009 at 10:44 pm |
  5. Joseph Santini

    Another win for the zelots & bigots of the Catholic church, Mormons and other idiots who believe that their rights are bigger than others.

    Probably, it is time to start, qutting the churches. I left the Catholic faith last December due to their biases and hipocresy. It is OK for a priest to take advantage of children in the church, however, it is wrong for 2 consenting adults to get married, so they can have equal rights.

    Long live bigotry! This country deserves it. As long as we have morons like Rush L. rulling the air waves, we have to deal with this level of stupidity.

    November 4, 2009 at 10:42 pm |
  6. Rod

    I have to agree with Keith for the most part. I would like to see the US government out of the marriage debate all together. It would make more sense to me to follow the example of many European nations and institute a system where the governemt only recognizes Civil Unions, therefore, the religious aspect is removed. Those so inclined can seek out a cleric of their prefered religious belief to perform a religious marriage ceremony. Let's level the playing fieled once and for all and create a true seperation of Church and State.
    My partner of ten years and I moved to Canada three years ago where we were instantly recognized as a common-law couple and granted the same legal rights as our neighbors, as far as I know, none of my neighbours was harmed in any way by this recognition, nor, by our ability to live as a legally recognized couple. We hope to celebrate next year by obtaining our Canadian citizenship as well as getting married, surrounded by friends and family. Yes, I said Married.

    November 4, 2009 at 10:40 pm |
  7. Jonathan

    Very well said Keith.

    As a native of Maine, I voted Yes on 1.

    Being from a small, tight nit community where everyone attends church on sunday, we all share similar views. Religion plays a big part in our society and that is why many Mainers voted they way they did. Up here in Northern Maine, 10 ft from the Canadian border, it is simply how we feel. I personally have no hatred toward any homosexual couple, males or females, but my values and up bringing due make a difference in my life. If you wish to slander or insult, go right ahead. No offence taken. Everyone has their point of view.

    November 4, 2009 at 10:38 pm |
  8. Kelly

    First of all, the Bible does NOT, I will repeat DOES NOT define marriage as being a man and a woman. The closests the Bible comes to defining marriage is a man and one or more women or a man, his wife and his concubines.

    Please people crack the bible open and read it and stop just thumping on the outside of it while taking what your preacher says out of context to use it as a reason to deny certain Americans equal protection under the law....the state and federal law.

    Freedom of religion does not mean you have the freedom to force your religion on every other Amercian.

    November 4, 2009 at 10:37 pm |
  9. kevin

    Marriage is not generally a right. If it was, you wouldn't have to go down to the city hall and get a license. If it was, you could marry anyone you like. If it was, you could have as many spouses as you like. It it was, you could be married by anyone, not just someone licensed by the state to perform marriages. There are lots of restrictions on marriage. Not everyone can qualify to be married. It's not a "right". If it was, it wouldn't be regulated by the state.

    November 4, 2009 at 10:36 pm |
  10. Mad Mainer

    You know, the argument by those who are simultaneously religious and against gay marriage just don't seem to get the obvious fact that their argument is a walking contradiction, which is: STRAIGHT PEOPLE DON'T HAVE TO BE RELIGIOUS TO GET MARRIED. NO ONE IS OBLIGATED TO REPRODUCE ONCE THEY GET MARRIED EITHER. Wow, news flash, right?

    Further, the argument of "protecting the children" is another fatal flaw. Those who truly believe children of gay families would suffer by their parents being allowed to marry are failing to recognize that on the contrary, the children are suffering NOW by the majority of the U.S. refusing to acknowledge their parents as equal and deserving of civil rights. Also, let's not forget the many studies that have shown that it is more important to a child's development and psychological stability to simply have TWO loving parents in the home, regardless of gender and sexual orientation, than one parent alone.

    Lest we forget all the other things that the Bible, Koran, and Torah say about how to treat women, for starters. There are a multitude of examples in those texts that are no longer interpreted literally. If you want to have your religious beliefs, that's just fine. But those in favor of gay marriage call you bigots because your argument is such an obvious fallacy.

    November 4, 2009 at 10:29 pm |
  11. Marc Cortez

    Again...., God created Adam & Eve.... not Adam & Steve..!! 'nuff said.

    November 4, 2009 at 10:29 pm |
  12. Rob Kalonian

    I think it's dispicable what the Mormon Church is doing to our country. Perhaps we should all consider a constitutional amendment limiting Mormon money, travel and influence to Utah so that our 49 other states can make up their own mind on local issues.

    November 4, 2009 at 10:26 pm |
  13. Dave

    To Keith: You say that "marriage" is a sacrament, not a government term. Unfortunately, this is not true - it is both. To accomplish what you say, then the word "marriage" should be removed from all civil legal documents and be replaced by the term "civil union." Civil Unions should then be legalized for same-sex partners (and opposite-sex partners!). Thus, marriage would be purely a religious term, instead of a legal one. But as long as "Marriage" grants persons special treatment under civil law, then it discriminates against same-sex partners. Civil law should not incorporate religious beliefs. Churches, mosques and synagogues should not be required under law to perform or recognize civil unions if they choose not to. But civil law should treat all fairly and equally.

    November 4, 2009 at 10:26 pm |
  14. Stephen


    November 4, 2009 at 10:26 pm |
  15. Mark

    Marriage does not exist because a law defined it. Marriage between a man and woman existed long before this election, before Maine, long before the USA. Don't dismiss the popular vote as bigotry nor discrimination just because you don't like it. Every person, whether gay or straight, must be treated with dignity and respect, but that doesn't change the fact that marriage is more than just a loving relationship.

    November 4, 2009 at 10:26 pm |
  16. Greg

    Following Keith's logic, the government should get out of the marriage business and leave it to the churches. Civil union becomes a contract, pure and simple, and the government (including the IRS) can only go by civil unions. Hospitals and adoption agencies would be restricted from practicing religious discrimination, and most would wind up using civil union as the criterion for power of attorney, serving as an adoptive family, etc. And state governments that ban adoption by gays (for example) would be violating the constitution. Can you see the anti-gay crowd quietly accepting gay adoptions? If not, then it's not just the intolerance of "proponents of same-sex unions" that is at issue here...

    November 4, 2009 at 10:25 pm |
  17. Jerre

    There are over 3700+ years of slavery in our history, but no one seems to support that when talking about civil rights and the abolition of slavery. I'm tired of hearing this argument that marriage is today what is was 4000 years ago. IT WAS NOT. Do a bit more research to learn that marriage has evolve into what it is today..not your assumption that it has been the same institution for 4000 years. Marriage has evolved...women are no longer considered property...marriage is no longer the subjugation of women to men..marriage is no longer arranged...what part of that is the same today as it was 4000 years ago?...Marriage is the sacred union of two individuals who love each other and promise 'til death do us part'....Again, what is so alien about that concept when applied to two people of the same sex? Bigotry has no place here...common sense does...And let's be honest about one of the real reasons for this repeal...Most parents are more scared about the prospect of having to talk about sexuality (and homosexuality) than they are about equality...Having equal rights will not confuse or "convert" your children...Get real!

    If a popular vote were ever the measure/requirement of civil rights..no African American would have ever been allowed equal rights...no minority ever would...

    November 4, 2009 at 10:20 pm |
  18. Damien

    I think it's a shame that two consenting adults aren't allowed to marry because their partner is of the same gender. When religious views trample civil liberties, we lean towards theocracy, something that should be unthinkable in a nation founded with the notion of the separation of church and state. Just because a few religions (of the hundreds on this planet) state that marriage is a man/woman institution doesn't give them the right to dictate that belief to others.

    I'm so ashamed of Maine and the 53% of the people who felt that they were somehow threatened by a gay person getting married, yet feel no religious qualms about their 3x-divorced straight neighbor, premarital sex or the countless other "normal" practices that fly in the face of Judeo-Christian teachings.

    We've made strides, but the folks of Maine just demonstrated that we have a long way to go (and I'm a straight, practicing Christian man, not that it should matter).

    November 4, 2009 at 10:20 pm |
  19. Stephen

    Ridiculous...over it.... a minority's rights should not be up for a popular vote. Thats why we have the equal protection clause in the constitution Gays are just another minority group that we will have to apologize to in the future. Here's a thought....stop discriminating against minorities and all human beings and we won't have to keep apologizing!!!.

    November 4, 2009 at 10:19 pm |
  20. Terry

    We should never condone sin. Same-sex marriage is an abomination. God told us to love people but hate the sin. I will never vote for it.

    November 4, 2009 at 10:16 pm |
  21. Stephen

    Michael is right. If the slavery and desegregation issues had continued to be left up to the states, and decided upon by the populace, I fear it would have never died. Major civil rights issues have no place in the voting booth. They belong in the court rooms.

    November 4, 2009 at 10:15 pm |
  22. Will

    When can we separate church and state and let consenting adults be adults?

    November 4, 2009 at 10:12 pm |
  23. Aldin in Maine

    It was the Catholic Church and several other Christen churches that led the repeal of this law in Maine. As for young voters, we haven't got many up here. Most of our youth flee the state after college due to lack of opportunities here.

    What bothered me about the whole campaign were the lies put forth by the repeal side. Oh, and ignoring state law on reporting the names of their campaign donors, even after a fed judge told'em to comply with the law. I could go on and on. For being the "moral majority", they weren't very moral in how they ran their campaign.

    However, due to the narrow margin of victory in this vote, you'll see this issue come up again...and again, just as TABOR has here in Maine and the Casino initiative that comes up every few years.

    Maybe this is our new economy up here in Maine: Campaign funds from ballot initiatives. Both sides of the Same Sex Marriage issue spent a combined total of over $7 million on this. That would have been unheard of just 10 years ago here.

    November 4, 2009 at 10:10 pm |
  24. Jay

    Keith, Marriage is a sacrament only so far as it extends to the church. If marriage were purely a religious sacrament, athiests wouldn't be allowed to marry, as an example.

    Marriage gained a second definition – as a government regulated institution. This is easily seen by the fact that anyone who is legally allowed to marry can do so without ever setting foot in a church or seeing a religious leader. Religion isn't involved in any way.

    November 4, 2009 at 10:09 pm |
  25. Brent

    I completely agree with Keith about the Civil Unions. From what I can tell, the gay community basically want their partnerships to be recognized by the government. That's fine. Marriage is a religious ceremony by nature and only recognized by the government out of convienence. A Civil Union is a government "marriage". I am completely against gay marriage but would be ok with a government recognized Civil Union. As long as marriage was let up to churches to decide who they would marry.

    November 4, 2009 at 10:07 pm |
  26. Steph Mary

    Maine made the right choice.

    I do not believe that anyone should be treated with disrespect or as less due to their sexual orientation. We are all humans and God's creation. However, I do not believe that same-sex marriage should be allowed. God created man and woman the way they are so that they can have a family by procreating. In a same-sex situation, this cannot be possible, thus a marriage union should not occur.

    November 4, 2009 at 10:07 pm |
  27. Michelle

    @Gordo – The Constitution and the Bill of Rights exists to protect society from the tyranny of the majority. Just because the majority of the people believe in or want something, that doesn't mean that it is right. According to your argument, people of other races were only granted full citizenship because the majority of the people wanted them to have it (they didn't), not because it was the right thing to do.

    @Keith – Nobody is denying that religious beliefs deserve respect. However, under our Constitution, one person's rights do not trump another person's rights. Churches were not going to be required to endorse gay unions, and a gay couple's marriage does not infringe on the rights of any straight person, regardless of their religious beliefs. But using your religious beliefs as an excuse to limit the rights of another person is in direct violation of our Constitution – specifically the 14th amendment.

    November 4, 2009 at 10:05 pm |
  28. Andrew LaVenia

    Thanks Maine, you've joined 30 other states in burning the U.S. Constitution by allowing a popular vote on an equality issue. Aren't we supposed to be protecting the minority from the majority? Did we vote on the civil rights for African-Americans, or was that decided by the courts? I guess some Americans are just more equal than others.

    November 4, 2009 at 10:01 pm |
  29. Carole

    I understand and agree that marriage is a religious term, but some religions allow gay marriage, so why should the government interfere? In addition, to the poster who said that the people have spoken_ Was the people's choice legal when biracial marriages that were outlawed? It's discrimination – plain and simple.

    To Keith, I agree that civil union laws should be established by the feds to allow for civil unions with full benefits.

    November 4, 2009 at 10:01 pm |
  30. Nick

    It's time to set aside these religious arguments. As soon as marriage offered a legal/monetary benefit in the form of tax breaks and other incentives, that argument went right out the window. Marriage is a union, regardless if that's between a man and a woman. Call it what you want; marriage, civil union, partnership – just let these people have their rights.

    November 4, 2009 at 9:56 pm |
  31. Christian

    Have to disagree with Keith here. Marriage existed long before any Scripture spoke about it and existed in far more places than Judaism, Christianity and Islam could have reached at it's earliest origins. The origins of the best man, bridesmaids, dowries, rings and various other rituals of union pre-dates the religion of Moses. And since the English language didn't exist 4000 years ago, the word marriage didn't show up in the Bible. In fact, the word came from the French in 1300 from the Latin "maritatus." What Keith refers to is "holy matrimony" which refers only to baptized Christians. As President John Adams declared in the Treaty of Tripoli "America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion" and nor should its decisions about who can and cannot unite in secular matrimony.

    November 4, 2009 at 9:52 pm |
  32. Duke

    One day – Thankfully – same sex marriage will be legal in all fifty states... It may take a long time...But Justice Will Prevail.

    November 4, 2009 at 9:49 pm |
  33. Carl

    If people really think that marriage is a religious matter, then it would only be fair to say that men and women who choose to get married outside a religion (for example, at a justice of the peace) can't call it marriage, but civil union. On the other hand, there are religious sects who are already willing to marry same-sex couples within their church. So I think there are problems with saying "marriage is religious, and religions are against gay marriage."

    November 4, 2009 at 9:49 pm |
  34. JoeSamus

    Three cheers for Mainers; they have managed to protect traditional marriage.from another assault by the gay crowd, thank God. Marriage has for thousands of years been only between a man and a woman. It holds a special place in our traditions as well as those of people around the world. If the gays want the same benefits married people, that's fine with me. Let them have their civil unions, domestic partnerships, or whatever they want to call it. But calling it marriage is like calling a plunge off the high dive baptism.

    November 4, 2009 at 9:47 pm |
  35. Kevin

    I for one will never understand why religion needs to be brought up at all; this is not a religious issue. Religion does not have a monopoly on the word 'marriage.' There is a huge difference between civil marriage and church-sanctioned marriage. The gays are not asking for churches to do a damn thing, this is all about legal marriage, so what's the problem? Atheists get married, for Christ's sake. Grow up, Xtians, it's not about you.

    November 4, 2009 at 9:47 pm |
  36. Alan

    I think one major problem gay rights advocates has is that they are unable to get the voters to separate a civil marriage from a religious marriage. Judging from the other comments, most people automatically assumes that gay marriage bills equates redefining the definition of a religious marriage and see gay marriage bills as an intrusion of government upon freedom of religion. What the gay community is really fighting for is equal treatment when it comes to civil marriages or how marriages are view before the law, which governs tax benefits, visitation rights, etc. Until the distinction between religious marriage and civil marriages is made clear to the American public, no gay marriage bills will be able to pass by popular vote.

    November 4, 2009 at 9:46 pm |
  37. Wyndham

    We didn't "Lose" anything, like the Yes on 1 people insisting. We still have each other. We still have our family, our friends, our values, and our dignity. We made a leap forward, we are moving forward. A family is a family. Love is love. We are human, after all.

    November 4, 2009 at 9:46 pm |
  38. Kalen

    Dear James,
    I agree with you about Jesus' command that we love one another. However, think back to the story of the woman who was caught in adultery. Jesus convinced the Pharisees to spare her by pointing out that all people have sinned. He then told her to "Go and sin no more." He showed great love to her, but he did not accept her sin or love her deeds. The Bible clearly teaches that homosexuality is immoral, but it also teaches that we should love others regardless of their behavior. We must not condone that which is wrong, nor equate a person's actions with their worth.

    November 4, 2009 at 9:45 pm |
  39. dave


    November 4, 2009 at 9:43 pm |
  40. Mindy

    Allowing the rights of a minority to be bestowed or withheld by a majority vote is quite frankly, unamerican. It's the role of the American government to protect the minority from the majority. It's one of the founding principles of this nation – equal rights for all.
    America is a society with one government, one set of rules and one class of citizen, to section one group out and treat them differently, but expect them to pay the same taxes as anyone else is again, unamerican.

    The results in Maine are disappointing, but the bigger issues need to be addressed.

    November 4, 2009 at 9:42 pm |
  41. marisa

    The Decleration of Independence : We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal: that does mean Gay Americans. What is sad to me is that in this world of the 21st century. We will have to go back to July 4, 1776 in which you cannot erase or VOTE out Gay Americans They do have the right to marry

    November 4, 2009 at 9:41 pm |
  42. America the beautiful

    Well, there are very many people that are glad they do not live in Maine and will probably choose not to spend money there, or support tourism there. I am one. It is too bad they do not stand up for others who do not have the same rights. Maine is plain.

    November 4, 2009 at 9:39 pm |
  43. Keith

    Why can't proponents of same-sex unions respect religious beliefs? Marriage is a sacrament, not a government term. In religious text, it is defined as man-woman by the Bible, Torah, and Koran. The government has no right to legislate its definition anymore than is has a claim to Baptism, Last Rites, or any other sacrament. Socially, same sex couples DESERVE their civil right to legal union. There should NOT be a Constitutional Amendment defining Marriage, but one that CREATES Civil Unions, giving them 100% equal rights and protections in the eyes of the law. People who believe that marriage is not for same sex couples are NOT bigots, they have 4000+ years of recorded human history to justify their position. If the Church wants to change the definition, let the Pope, Archbishop, Clerics, and Rabbis do it. In the meanwhile, while we wait for hell to freeze over, grant same sex couples their Civil Rights in the form of Civil Unions. If the gay community wants others to respect their rights, they need to respect the rights of others.

    November 4, 2009 at 9:31 pm |
  44. todd


    November 4, 2009 at 9:30 pm |
  45. Bill Haverland

    As a gay man in a 30-year relationship, I'm always (and regularly) disappointed at my neighbors' attitude toward me and my partner. There's not much I can do about it, other than to be the best neighbor I can be, but when I have a choice about where I'm going to go on vacation or where I'm going to buy something, you can bet that I'll go to (or buy in) one of the few states where I'm considered "equal" before I'll spend any of my hard-earned dollars supporting the economy of a state whre the majority doesn't think I deserve full marriage rights.

    November 4, 2009 at 9:29 pm |
  46. Gordo

    With over 90% of the population of the US being "straight" (why do we have to even say that?) why is it such a surprise at this kind of outcome? Minorities are minorities because they are minorities. Should I repeat that? POPULAR votes are not popularity votes, but rather MAJORITY votes and that has been the 200+ year American way. Gosh! Get over it, liberals! Or would you rather have a Government run state.... like Iran has? Let the so-called common people make the decision for the rest of us–that is, the majority.

    November 4, 2009 at 9:27 pm |
  47. Courtney Priester

    It is arguable that, by denying Same-Sex Marriage to couples nationally, that gov. is respecting the establishment of religion, rather than the ultimate principles of equality and liberty– to act and think as one pleases, as long as they're not infringing upon others rights. Question is, whose rights are Same-Sex Couples trampling on by marrying? The institution of marriage is defined religiously by being b/w a man and a woman, which is its origin undeniably. Ultimately, it's society's views that shape laws such as these. As society changes even more, this decision will be overturned. It is inevitable. I think it's time we learn from history and save ourselves the time and energy by getting it done and over with. Onto the next matter, please...

    November 4, 2009 at 9:27 pm |
  48. Michael

    This type of social reform can't be left up to the popular vote. What if desegregation in the South had been left up to ballot initiatives?

    November 4, 2009 at 9:24 pm |
  49. James Anthony Diotte

    We do not ban love between two consenting adults. What did Jesus
    say? Have we forgotten once again? Support and love eachother,

    Lookout! Here comes the anti-christ!

    November 4, 2009 at 9:21 pm |
  50. Annie Kate

    If the vote had been in the South instead of Maine I'd look for the Bible Belt influence. Since its Maine though (not saying people from Maine are any less religious) I guess that its a lifestyle they are not that accustomed to and change comes hard in social norms. I have heard it said numerous times today that they young people didn't come out to vote – maybe they would have made the difference. It took the African Americans over 400 years (since the first slave ships here in the 1600s) to gain the rights they have today and yet they still suffer from racism – perhaps the gay community will experience the same – change comes slow if it comes at all.

    November 4, 2009 at 9:19 pm |
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