Maine Governor Passes Same-sex Marriage Bill

May 6, 2009 ( - Maine Governor John Baldacci signed a bill Wednesday approving same-sex marriage, making the state the fifth to do so.

The Associated Press reports that the Maine Senate voted 21-13, with one absent, for a bill that authorizes marriage between any two people rather than between one man and one woman, as state law currently allows. The House had passed the bill Tuesday.

Maine is now the fourth state in New England, to allow same-sex marriages. Connecticut enacted a bill after being ordered to allow gay marriages by the courts (see CT High Court Approves Gay Marriage), and Vermont passed a bill over the governor’s veto (see VT Is Fourth State to Legalize Same-sex Marriage).

New Hampshire ‘s House was also expected to vote on a bill Wednesday and send it to Governor John Lynch, the AP said. Massachusetts’ high court has ordered the state to recognize gay marriages (see Massachusetts Court Says Gays Entitled to Marry).

In Rhode Island, a bill to legalize same-sex marriage has been introduced but is not expected to pass this year (see RI Governor Axes Domestic Partner Benefits Bill).

Outside New England, Iowa is recognizing gay marriages after a court ruling (see Iowa High Court Ruling Clears Path for Gay Marriages). The practice was briefly legal in California before voters banned it.