Election 2012: At this moment
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AP calls marriage for Maine; 59 percent reporting
The Associated Press has declared that Maine's Question 1, a citizen-led ballot initiative to recognize same-sex marriage in the state, has passed.
The Bangor Daily News has recorded 390,646 results so far, with 59 percent of the state's precincts reporting.
The race is tight: The paper is reporting 51.69 percent of the votes as 'yes' responses to the ballot question -- Do you want to allow the State of Maine to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples? -- and 48.31 percent opposed to it.
Despite the AP's announcement, the Bangor Daily News ("Gay marriage question holds slim lead") has not yet declared victory for same-sex marriage proponents.
Portland's Press Herald, in the state's capital, concurred with the Associated Press. ("Mainers vote to legalize same-sex marriage")
If tonight's 'yes' vote in Maine is certified by the Maine secretary of state, it will mark the first time a state has granted marriage rights to same-sex couples by popular vote -- and by a citizens initiative. In Maryland and Washington this election -- by contrast -- voters were asked to enact or reject same-sex marriage laws already passed by their states' legislatures and signed by their governors. Minnesotans voted to enshrine the definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman in the state's constitution.
Maine's law requires gender-neutral terms to be used when identifying familial or marital relationships. It repeals the state's 'one man/one woman' provision in the civil code. It indicates that the sex of applicants should not be a factor when the state issues marriage licenses. It also includes a provision that protects churches, clergy or religious organizations from lawsuits or tax penalties if they refuse to perform or participate in weddings or other functions related to a marriage that goes against the religious institution's beliefs.
[More on the Maine ballot initiative]