(Augusta, Maine) Gov. John Baldacci signed legislation Wednesday allowing same-sex marriage in Maine, minutes after it received final approval in the legislature.
Up until he put his pen to the bill ,it was anyone’s guess whether he would sign or veto it. Baldacci had said previously he had not made up his mind on gay marriage.
Had he vetoed it, the bill likely would have died. It received final approval in the Senate by a slim majority, not enough to override a veto.
As the governor appeared to be equivocating, same-sex marriage advocates delivered more than 10,000 postcards asking him to support the legislation.
The new law repeals Maine’s 12-year old so-called Defense of Marriage law, which bars same-sex marriage. Under the new law, churches are not compelled to conduct same-sex weddings if it would be inconsistent with their doctrine.
The conservative Maine Marriage Alliance warned that if Baldacci signed the bill it would press for a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.
The New Hampshire House will vote on a similar bill Wednesday. It already has passed the Senate, but Gov. John Lynch, who has said he believes the current civil union law works, has not said if he would veto the bill.
Same-sex marriage was already legal in three New England states - Massachusetts, Connecticut and Vermont.
Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, the Boston-based LGBT rights group that won marriage equality in court rulings in Massachusetts and Connecticut, last November launched “Six by Twelve” a campaign to legalize gay marriage throughout New England by 2012.
If same-sex marriage becomes legal in New Hampshire, it would leave only Rhode Island as the only New England state without marriage equality.