On May 6, 2009, the State of Maine made same-sex marriages legal. Maine's Legislature passed the a bill approving marriages between gay and lesbian couplies, the complete text of which you can read below. Maine's Governor John Baldacci signed the bill into law the same day.
An Act To End Discrimination in Civil
Marriage and Affirm Religious Freedom
Be it enacted by the People of the State of Maine as follows:
Sec. 1. 19-A MRSA §650, as enacted by PL 1997, c. 65, §2, is repealed.
Sec. 2. 19-A MRSA §650-A is enacted to read:
§ 650-A. Codification of marriage
Marriage is the legally recognized union of 2 people. Gender-specific terms relating to the marital
relationship or familial relationships, including, but not limited to, "spouse," "family," "marriage,"
"immediate family," "dependent," "next of kin," "bride," "groom," "husband," "wife," "widow" and
"widower," must be construed to be gender-neutral for all purposes throughout the law, whether in the
context of statute, administrative or court rule, policy, common law or any other source of civil law.
Sec. 3. 19-A MRSA §650-B is enacted to read:
§ 650-B. Recognition of marriage licensed and certified in another jurisdiction
A marriage of a same-sex couple that is validly licensed and certified in another jurisdiction is
recognized for all purposes under the laws of this State.
Sec. 4. 19-A MRSA §651, sub-§2, as amended by PL 1997, c. 537, §12 and affected by §62, is further amended to read:
2. Application. The parties wishing to record notice of their intentions of marriage shall submit
an application for recording notice of their intentions of marriage. The application may be issued to any
2 persons otherwise qualified under this chapter regardless of the sex of each person. The application
must include a signed certification that the information recorded on the application is correct and that
the applicant is free to marry according to the laws of this State. The applicant's signature must be
acknowledged before an official authorized to take oaths. Applications recording notice of intentions to
marry must be open for public inspection in the office of the clerk. When the application is submitted,
the applicant shall provide the clerk with the social security numbers of the parties. The application must
include a statement that the social security numbers of the parties have been provided to the clerk. The
clerk shall record the social security numbers provided by each applicant. The record of the social security
numbers is confidential and is not open for public inspection.
Sec. 5. 19-A MRSA §655, sub-§3 is enacted to read:
3. Affirmation of religious freedom. This Part does not authorize any court or other state
or local governmental body, entity, agency or commission to compel, prevent or interfere in any way
with any religious institution's religious doctrine, policy, teaching or solemnization of marriage within
that particular religious faith's tradition as guaranteed by the Maine Constitution, Article 1, Section 3 or
the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. A person authorized to join persons in marriage
and who fails or refuses to join persons in marriage is not subject to any fine or other penalty for such
failure or refusal.
Sec. 6. 19-A MRSA §701, as amended by PL 2007, c. 695, Pt. C, §4, is further amended to read:
§ 701. Prohibited marriages; exceptions
1. Marriage out of State to evade law. When residents of this State, with intent to
evade this section and to return and reside here, go into another state or country to have their marriage
solemnized there and afterwards return and reside here, that marriage is void in this State.
1-A. Certain marriages performed in another state not recognized in this State.
Any marriage performed in another state that would violate any provisions of subsections 2 to
performed in this State is not recognized in this State and is considered void if the parties take up residence
in this State.
2. Prohibitions based on degrees of consanguinity; exceptions. This subsection
governs marriage between relatives.
man may not marry his mother, grandmother, daughter, granddaughter, sister, brother'sperson may not marry that person's
daughter, sister's daughter, father's sister, mother's sister, the daughter of his father's brother or sister
or the daughter of his mother's brother or sister. A woman may not marry her father, grandfather,
son, grandson, brother, brother's son, sister's son, father's brother, mother's brother, the son of her
father's brother or sister or the son of her mother's brother or sister
parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, sibling, nephew, niece, aunt, uncle or first cousin.
B. Notwithstanding paragraph A, a
manperson may marry the daughter of his father's brother orthat person's first cousin as long as,
sister or the daughter of his mother's brother or sister, and a woman may marry the son of her father's
brother or sister or the son of her mother's brother or sister
pursuant to sections 651 and 652, the
man or womanperson provides the physician's certificate of
3. Persons under disability. A person who is impaired by reason of mental illness or
mental retardation to the extent that that person lacks sufficient understanding or capacity to make,
communicate or implement responsible decisions concerning that person's property or person is not
capable of contracting marriage. For the purposes of this section:
A. "Mental illness" means a psychiatric or other disease that substantially impairs a person's mental health; and
B. "Mental retardation" means a condition of significantly subaverage intellectual functioning
resulting in or associated with concurrent impairments in adaptive behavior and manifested during
the developmental period.
4. Polygamy. A marriage contracted while either party has a living wife or husband from whom
the party is not divorced is void.
5. Same sex marriage prohibited. Persons of the same sex may not contract marriage.
This bill repeals the provision that limits marriage to one man and one woman and replaces it with
the authorization for marriage between any 2 persons that meet the other requirements of Maine law. It
also specifies that a marriage between 2 people of the same sex in another state that is valid in that state
is valid and must be recognized in this State.
This bill also clarifies that the authorization of marriage between 2 people of the same sex does not
compel any religious institution to alter its doctrine, policy or teaching regarding marriage or to solemnize
any marriage in conflict with that doctrine, policy or teaching. It also specifies that a person authorized
to join persons in marriage and who fails or refuses to join persons in marriage is not subject to any fine
or other penalty for such failure or refusal.