Much to the chagrin of the National Organization for Marriage, it seems that a storm of support for gay marriage has hit New England. Today, Maine is holding a legislative hearing to debate a bill to repeal a state law limiting marriage to a union between a man and a woman. Led by Democratic Sen. Dennis S. Damon and supported by 60 legislative co-sponsors, the bill would make Maine the fourth New England state to legalize gay marriage along with Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont.
Also up for debate today in front of the State Senate Judiciary Committee is a bill backed by Republican Rep. Leslie Fossel that would expand the rights and responsibilities offered by a domestic partnership registry that was introduced in 2004.
Who will decide the fate of the gay marriage bill is still undetermined; the Legislature has the option of sending the issue to voters or they could simply approve it, at which point opponents could initiate a "people's veto." According to the AP, "The earliest a Judiciary Committee vote is expected would be April 28."
Reports are just coming in that a near-capacity crowd has filled the 4,000 seat Augusta Convention Center, where the hearing is being held, and the hearing was delayed for 30 minutes due to traffic jams. But, to keep the proceedings professional, the legislative committee enacted rules limiting "hooting and hollering" and banned signs and placards inside the building. Wait, so what do I do with my "Giant Gay Repellent Umbrella"?