Gay-marriage supporters have won the campaign to bring same-sex marriage to Maine, according to the Associated Press. Early results in what was expected to be a close race showed 54 percent supporting Question 1, and 48 percent opposing it, with 34 percent of all precincts reporting statewide, according to unofficial tallies. Several hundred gay-marriage supporters gathered at the Holiday Inn By the Bay ballroom for a festive election night party with a disc jockey who played songs such as Frank Sinatra’s “Love and Marriage.” They cheered at the news that President Obama was projected to win in Maine and considered it a good sign that former Gov.Angus King, an independent who supports same-sex marriage, was called an early winner as well. “The trends are all looking good,” said Mainers United for Marriage spokesman David Farmer. Many hoped to erase the stinging memory of 2009, when gay marriage was rejected by Maine voters 53 percent to 47 percent. In Lewiston, opponents gathered at the Ramada Inn, where Protect Marriage Maine leaders Carroll Conley and Bob Emrich tallied results in one room to share with the crowd in the conference room. A small group remained at the Protect Marriage Maine gathering in Lewiston late Tuesday night. Bob Emrich, co-chairman of the organization, said anything could happen, given the closeness of the race and the scattered manner in which the results were coming in. “It’s still early,” he said. “We’re very hopeful.” He said he was still hoping for strong turnout in the northern part of the state. Attendance at the low-key party at the Ramada Inn peaked at about 40 earlier in the evening. Fox News was projected on a large screen at one side of the space and CBS News played on a television in another. The final outcome became less clear as the night wore on. “We’re still waiting to see what Portland will do. That will be very telling, but not conclusive,” Emrich told the group. Caroline and Dan West of Raymond were planning to stay at the gathering until the result was clear. “We’re die-hards,” said Caroline West, who is 47 and will soon be going to school to become a licensed alcohol and drug counselor. Dan West, 48, said they want to support “Biblical and traditional” marriage to preserve the health of society. West is the treasurer of No Special Rights PAC, which was started by same-sex marriage opponents Michael Heath and Paul Madore. West said he wanted to show support for Protect Marriage Maine, which has spearheaded opposition to gay marriage this election. He didn’t make any predictions about the outcome. “It’s all in God’s hands whether we win or we lose,” he said. “We do our part.” If the ballot measure passes, the earliest gay and lesbian couples could marry would likely be early January. That’s because the Secretary of State’s Office has 20 days to certify results,Gov. Paul LePagehas 10 days to approve them, and after that, there’s a constitutionally-mandated 30 day waiting period for the law to take effect, according to the Secretary of State’s Office. The vote in Maine will have national implications, both for state-level battles moving forward and for the Supreme Court, which is likely to take up at least one gay-marriage case next year. Maine is one of four states that voted Tuesday on gay marriage, with Maryland and Washington considering whether to uphold laws passed by their legislatures and Minnesota deciding whether to adopt a constitutional amendment to define marriage as between one man and one woman. Across the country, 31 states have constitutional amendments banning gay marriage.
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