The equal marriage bill has passed the Senate on a 20-15 vote. The vote was along party lines, except for Republican Chris Rector voting in favor and Democrat Troy Jackson voting against the bill.
This is a major hurdle cleared for equal marriage. L.D. 1020 will now have one more procedural vote in the Senate and then go to the House, where there is a much larger pro-equality majority and then to the Governor's desk for his signature.
If Governor Baldacci chooses not to veto the bill, opponents will have 90 days after the adjournment of the legislature to gather 55,087 signatures in order to prevent the bill from becoming law and to force a "people's veto" referendum.
Update: The amendment to put the bill to an automatic referendum was defeated 22-13 and the final vote on the engrossed bill was 21-14, with Republican Peter Mills switching to vote with the majority. Here's the full list.
WCSH takes a look at a race that may decide control of the state senate.
Speaking of district 15, I almost missed this mention in the Sun Journal last week:
Jeers to Sen. Lois Snowe-Mello, for backtracking on her statements about the state's Animal Welfare Office and blaming the Sun Journal for "distorting" her views. Sen. Snowe-Mello made her comments to Mike Tipping, who writes the Mainepolitics.net blog, about her quotes in a Sept. 14, 2007, article about an animal meeting in Lewiston.
At that time, the senator was quoted as comparing the Animal Welfare Office with the "Gestapo" and that she was "afraid" of what it was doing. In talking to Tipping, Snowe-Mello said she was repeating words from somebody else.
We stand by our story. Snowe-Mello should stand by her statements.