In January 2009, a bill to allow same-sex couples to legally marry in Maine was introduced in the Maine Legislature. On April 30, 2009, the Senate rejected an amendment to put the issue up for a voter referendum 22–13 and passed the bill 21–14. On May 5, 2009, the Maine House of Representatives passed the bill 89–57, and on the following day, Gov. John Baldacci signed the bill into law to take effect 90 days thereafter.
On May 7, 2009, opponents of the law filed the necessary paperwork to launch a campaign to put the law up for a vote in the November elections, giving them until 90 days after the legislature adjourned to collect at least 55,087 valid signatures to put the measure on the ballot. In June 2009, Stand for Marriage Maine, the coalition group leading the veto effort, announced it had hired Schubert Flint Public Affairs, which had worked on the Proposition 8 effort in California, to handle public relations for the veto effort. In July 2009, No on 1/Protect Maine Equality was formed to oppose the veto. On September 2, 2009, the Secretary of State of Maine verified that the opponents had submitted a sufficient number of valid signatures and certified the ballot question for November.
The question posed on the ballot was, "Do you want to reject the new law that lets same-sex couples marry and allows individuals and religious groups to refuse to perform these marriages?" A vote of "Yes" would repeal the law, while a vote of "No" would uphold the law. The vote was held on November 3, 2009.
Question 1: People's Veto
An Act To End Discrimination in Civil Marriage and Affirm Religious Freedom
Just after midnight on election night, consultant Frank Schubert of Stand for Marriage Maine declared, "The institution of marriage has been protected in Maine and across this nation." The No on 1/Protect Maine Equality campaign conceded defeat two hours later. Supporters of same-sex marriage pledged to continue the fight, while opponents said they would work to introduce a constitutional amendment to keep marriage between one man and one woman.
A legal battle continued as the Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices attempts to force the National Organization for Marriage to respond to subpoenas for the names of its donors in connection with the referendum. The Commission has won consistently in both state and federal courts, most recently on May 29, 2013. On August 4, 2015, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court denied an attempt by the National Organization for Marriage for a stay on releasing the list while its case against a prior Ethics Commission ruling was pending. On August 24, the Donors list was released. Donations were as follows: