2009 May 6

Maine (Temporarily) Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage


The Governor of Maine signed into law a bill legalizing same-sex marriage on this day. The law, however, was rejected by voters in a referendum in November 2009 — although the state’s domestic partnership law remained in effect. Three years later, on November 6, 2012, voters approved a referendum legalizing same-sex marriage, making Maine one of the first states to approve same-sex marriage through a ballot initiative (Maryland and Washington were the others). The law took effect in December 2012.

The political and legal climate regarding same-sex marriages changed dramatically in the 2000s, as an increasing number of states legalized same-sex marriages and federal courts began declaring unconstitutional state prohibitions on such marriages.

The Supreme Court declared a major provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional on June 26, 2013 in the case of Windsor v. United States, ruling that the federal government had to recognize legal same sex marriages. In the year following the Windsor decision, a number of federal courts declared state prohibitions of same-sex marriage to be unconstitutional, and another major Supreme Court case on this issue seemed inevitable.

On June 26, 2015, in Obergefell v. Hudson, the Supreme Court declared that same-sex marriage was constitutional in the entire United States under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Learn more about same-sex marriage in Maine: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TEo8EO2hDYQ

Learn more at Freedom to Marry: http://www.freedomtomarry.org/

Learn more about same-sex marriage: http://www.hrc.org/campaigns/marriage-center

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