Posted May 07, 2009 12:51 am CDT
Abandoning his earlier opposition, the governor of Maine today immediately signed new legislation allowing same-sex couples there the legal right to marry.
“It’s not the way I was raised and it’s not the way that I am,” Gov. John Baldacci, a Democrat, tells the New York Times in a phone interview. “But at the same time I have a responsibility to uphold the Constitution. That’s my job, and you can’t allow discrimination to stand when it’s raised to your level.”
New Hampshire lawmakers also passed legislation today allowing same-sex couples to wed, the newspaper reports, but it’s not known whether Gov. John Lynch, who is also a Democrat, will sign it, the newspaper notes.
There is also a possibility that voters could nullify the new Maine marriage law, via a ballot referendum, and opponents say they intend to pursue this route.
Maine becomes the fifth state to recognize the marriage rights of same-sex couples, following Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts and Vermont. Massachusetts was the first state to do so, not quite five years ago.