The Freedom to Marry in Maine

Winning Marriage: December 29, 2012

Same-sex couples began marrying in Maine on December 29, 2012 after voters in Maine became the first jurisdiction in global history to proactively extend the freedom to marry to same-sex couples by popular vote, on November 6, 2012. 

History and the Path to Victory:

  • March 28, 1997: The Maine Legislature passes a state statute restricting marriage to different-sex couples. Governor Angus S. King, Jr. allows the bill to become law.
  • July 30, 2005: A bill allowing same-sex couples to join in domestic partnership takes effect in Maine.
  • May 6, 2009: Governor John Baldacci signs a freedom to marry bill into law after it is approved by the Maine Legislature.   
  • November 3, 2009: Opponents of the freedom to marry in Maine push through Question 1, a referendum repealing the freedom to marry bill signed into law earlier that year.
  • 2010-2012: As Americans nationwide engage in conversations about why marriage matters, national and local advocates in Maine take strides toward increasing understanding of same-sex couples and their families.
  • 2012: Polling in Maine tracks majority support for the freedom to marry, reflecting the power of the national discussion of why marriage matters.
  • November 6, 2012: A coalition of support for the freedom to marry led by Mainers United for Marriage helps to pass Question 1 at the ballot. Marriage supporters also triumph at the ballot in Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington on the same night.
  • December 29, 2012:Same-sex couples begin marrying in Maine after the November 6 ballot initiative takes effect.  
  • June 26, 2015: The United States Supreme Court rules in favor of marriage for same-sex couples, bringing the freedom to marry nationwide once and for all. 

Groups that Worked on Marriage:

  • Mainers United for Marriage was a coalition of marriage advocates specifically focused on seeing the successful passage of the citizen's initiative in November. The Why Marriage Matters Maine website showcased the personal stories of real Mainers and demonstrates what marriage means to them. 
  • Equality Maine is the primary statewide organization working to win the freedom to marry for same-sex couples.
  • Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders is New England's leading legal rights organization dedicated to ending discrimination based on sexual orientation, HIV status and gender identity and expression.  
  • Freedom to Marry was the campaign to win marriage for same-sex couples nationwide.