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May 07, 2009
5th State Allows Same-Sex Couples to Marry

Maine will join Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, and Vermont in allowing same-sex couples to marry.

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Yesterday, Maine governor John E. Baldacci signed into law LD 1020, An Act to End Discrimination in Civil Marriage and Affirm Religious Freedom. The law allows same-sex couples to marry and becomes effective in September.

“In the past, I opposed gay marriage while supporting the idea of civil unions,” Governor Baldacci said. “I have come to believe that this is a question of fairness and of equal protection under the law, and that a civil union is not equal to civil marriage.”

Opponents of gay marriage say they will ask voters to repeal the law.

While federal law still only recognizes marriage between a man and a woman, the Maine legislation is significant for employers because of the host of benefits and tax breaks for married couples governed by state law.

There are 5 states that will allow same-sex couples to marry. In May 2008, the Supreme Court of California ruled that state laws limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples are unconstitutional, but voters approved a ballot measure in November that banned gay marriage once again.

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