On Tuesday, Maine became the first state in the country to approve the freedom to marry for same-sex couples via a majority vote on a ballot measure. This is a historic first, a shining symbol of how far the campaign to win marriage nationwide has come in recent years.
Freedom to Marry’s National Campaign Director, Marc Solomon, commented on the huge win this evening. He said:
A majority in Maine voted in favor of loving and committed same-sex couples seeking the freedom to marry. Now the commitment gay and lesbian couples have made in life will be respected equally under the law, celebrated before their loved ones, and called what it is: marriage. It’s hard to overstate the national significance of this vote. For years, our opponents have argued that we could not win a majority vote at the ballot. Today, Maine voters proved them wrong, standing up for the Golden Rule and for freedom for all Mainers.
Mainers United for Marriage, the coalition of organizations working the proactively pass marriage at the ballot, has led an amazing campaign over the past year and a half. Volunteers and organizers in the state made more than one million telephone calls, knocked on nearly 300,000 doors, and had 275,000 one-on-one conversations with voters about why marriage matters to same-sex couples.
Freedom to Marry played a key role in the Mainers United campaign, serving on the Executive Committee and offering strategic guidance and day-to-day support. In total, Freedom to Marry invested $1.3 million in direct cash and helped to raise an additional $1.35 million to fund public education efforts in the state.
Mainers United for Marriage campaign manager Matt McTighe reflected on the win, and on Freedom to Marry’s involvement, tonight. He said:
Freedom to Marry has been one of our most indispensable partners in achieving this historic victory. Their skilled messaging and cutting edge new media expertise has been crucial. They’ve been our largest funding partner, raising and investing more than $1.3 million in hard cash through their Win More States Fund. I’ve turned to them for regular guidance and strategic support, and they’ve always delivered. As more states look to build on the momentum of tonight’s historic victory in Maine, Freedom to Marry will continue to lead the way in our movement to win marriage for all loving, committed couples across the country.”
Tonight’s results demonstrate an enormous improvement since 2009, when opponents of the freedom to marry in Maine succeeded in pushing through an anti-gay ballot initiative that overturned a marriage law that had been previously approved by the state legislature. Several counties that voted to reject the freedom to marry in 2009 voted this year for fairness and equality for all families, and nearly every county in the state has shown distinct gains in the percentage of people voting FOR marriage for same-sex couples. These improvements
Maine is expected to begin issuing marriage licenses for same-sex couples in mid-December!