PORTLAND, Maine — The law passed by Maine voters on Nov. 6 that allows same-sex couples to receive a marriage license will take effect Saturday, Dec. 29, the Maine secretary of state’s office confirmed Monday.
Clerks offices around the state most likely will not be issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples until Monday, Dec. 31. Clerks in Bangor and Portland said their offices would not be open that day.
On Nov. 6, Maine became the first state to allow same-sex couples to receive a marriage license through a popular vote of the people.
According to the secretary of state’s office, the certified election results for the state were signed off on by Gov. Paul LePage on Thursday, Nov. 29, said a press release issued Monday by EqualityMaine, the organization that spearheaded the drive to get the referendum question on the ballot. The new law becomes effective 30 days from that date.
Megan Sanborn, a spokeswoman for the secretary of state’s office, confirmed the date late Monday morning.
“The long wait for marriage for same-sex couples in Maine is almost over,” Betsy Smith, the executive director of EqualityMaine, said in the press release. “Before the end of this year, all loving and committed couples in Maine will be able to stand before their friends, family and community and make a lasting vow to be there for one another.”
Carroll Conley was co-chairman of Protect Marriage Maine, the organization that led the opposition to the referendum. He called Monday’s announcement “expected” but said that as the executive director of the Christian Civic League of Maine, he believes there still are unanswered questions about the effect of the new law.
“We currently are regularly hearing from religious organizations and individuals who are finding themselves in conflict over this change,” he said Monday afternoon. “We are using our resources to obtain and give good legal advice to clerks and on their legal obligations which may be in conflict with their religious convictions.”