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Maine vote a devastating blow to gay marriage

Maine voters on Tuesday voted down a law that would have legalized gay marriage in the state. It became the 31st state to reject gay marriage at the ballot box.

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Gay marriage supporter Karen Weiss (l.) comforts Jennifer Hoopes as they watch election results at the No on 1/Protect Maine Equality rally in Portland, Maine, Tuesday night. The group is worked to prevent the repeal of Maine's gay marriage law, which was adopted last spring by Maine's legislature.

Joel Page/REUTERS

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In an election that was seen as a national litmus test on gay marriage, Maine voters overturned a state law that would have legalized same-sex marriage in the state.

In doing so, Maine joins the growing ranks of states – now 31 in all – that have rejected gay marriage at the ballot box. No state has ever voted to legalize gay marriage. Gay marriage was passed by the legislature or mandated by courts in the five states where it is legal: New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Iowa.

The Maine vote is a devastating defeat to the gay-rights movement, which poured millions of dollars and sent hundreds of volunteers to Maine. Their goal was to persuade Maine voters to uphold the law that Democratic Gov. John Baldacci signed in May.

The result will send a clear message to other state legislatures considering bills to legalize gay marriage, says Brian Brown, executive director of the New Jersey-based National Organization for Marriage, which contributed $1.8 million to the Maine campaign against the state law.

The victory is especially important to same-sex marriage opponents nationally, he says, because Maine is considered a relatively liberal state in New England – where the gay-rights movement has already gained a strong foothold.

Gay marriage opponents jubilant

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