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Maine Voting on Same-Sex Marriage

November 2, 2009

Tomorrow, November 3, residents of Maine will decide whether to agree with the legislature’s legalization of same-sex marriage, or deny it via a “people’s veto.” If voters affirm the right of gay and lesbian couples to marry by voting against Question 1, Maine will become the first state to support same-sex marriage at the ballot box; thus far, same-sex marriages have been legalized exclusively through court rulings or legislative action.

Although the race has been close, Philip Spooner, a republican and World War II veteran who has a gay son (among four children), openly supports same-sex marriage and gave testimony for marriage equality on April 22 of this year. This testimony is now online, and has about 600,000 views (you can watch it, too, on youtube ).

As with all matters put to a vote, voter turnout is key. We’ll find out soon what the people of Maine decide.

UPDATE (Wednesday, Nov. 4th)- Well, no dice.  Maine followed California and Hawaii in overturning gay marriage rights granted by their governments, according to the Wall Street Journal.  Washington state, however, is still potentially poised to increase domestic partnership rights to those of married couples, making the difference semantic only, according to a writeup by examiner.com. According to numbers from late last night, the results are harrowingly narrow, with 51% in support so far. The geographic distribution is interesting, as most of the major population centers seem to be in favor, but most of the geographic area against. 

Vote distribution, from the Washington State Goverment via the Examiner.com article. Green is approval, Yellow is rejection of Referendum 71. 

For comparison, here is a map of population distribution by county in Washington, from the Department of Transportation

This is interesting to compare to the distribution in Texas of counties who voted in favor of Proposition 2 in 2006, to ban gay marriage: 

Again, it becomes evident that population density LOOSELY correlates to opinion, though of course, Austin county ( in green ) was the only one that did not actually support the ban with a 50% majority– the other colors only indicate decreasing degree of support.  (A few lightly populated Western counties are notable exceptions, though their <10,000 populations are perhaps too small as sample sizes. Anyone from out that way want to shed light on the political climate?)

Image from maps.com

I can’t claim to know quite what that means in terms of sociology, but it’s interesting to think about.

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