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Home > News > People's Veto on Same-Sex Marriage Certified

September 2, 2009
CONTACT: Matt Dunlap (207) 626-8400

People's Veto of Bill to Allow Same-sex Marriage Certified by Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap for November Ballot

AUGUSTA, MAINE —Secretary of State Matt Dunlap announced today that the effort to reject a bill enacted by the Legislature and signed by the Governor in May has gathered enough signatures of registered Maine voters to effect a stay on the proposed law until voters make the final decision at the polls on November 3rd.

The bill was LD 1020, “An Act to End Discrimination in Civil Marriage and Affirm Religious Freedom”, which as approved would be Chapter 82 of the 2009 Public Laws of Maine. This would allow couples of the same sex to contract in marriage. Individuals and institutions could refuse to conduct solemnization ceremonies under the proposed law, which was to have gone into effect September 12th.

Pursuant to Article IV, Part Third, Section 17 of the Maine Constitution, citizens who disagree with an action of the Legislature in non-emergency legislation have until 90 days after the adjournment of the Legislature to submit a petition signed by registered Maine voters to require that the law be placed before the voters for an up or down vote. The so-called “People's Veto” effort needed to gather 55,087 signatures of registered Maine voters by September 11th in order to place a stay on the effectiveness of the law and force a vote. In late July the organizers of the effort submitted petition forms containing nearly 100,000 signatures.

Officials at the Bureau of Corporations, Elections and Commissions today prepared the Determination of Validity that enumerates the certification effort supervised by the Secretary of State. Due to the volume of signatures and with advice from the Attorney General, the certification only includes those signatures required to meet the constitutional threshold. Under those parameters, the Secretary of State's determination finds that 60,391 of the submitted signatures are valid; this surpasses the required number of 55,087 by 5,304 signatures. Once the Constitutional threshold was clearly met, no further review of the remaining petition forms was undertaken.

Because Maine law directs that People's Veto referenda appear first on the ballot prepared by the Secretary of State for a statewide election, this initiative will appear first on the fall ballot. The order of the initiated referenda questions is to be determined on September 3rd in Augusta.

The question on the ballot will appear as follows:

“Do you want to reject the new law that lets same-sex couples marry and allows individuals and religious groups to refuse to perform these marriages?”