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Equality California Devastated by Passage of Maine's Question 1; Elated by victories in Kalamazoo and Washington State

(SAN FRANCISCO)– A slim majority of Maine residents voted to repeal a law legalizing the freedom to marry for the state’s same-sex couples. In a devastating blow to the quest for equality, Question 1 passed by just over five percentage points, with 52.78% voting for and 47.22% voting against.

Maine’s legislature passed a bill legalizing marriage for same-sex couples last May, which Maine’s Governor signed into law while voters in Kalamazoo and Washington State rejected measures that would have stripped LGBT people of non-discrimination protections and domestic partnership, respectively.

Said Equality California Executive Director Geoff Kors “Yesterday’s loss in Maine is a devastating blow to all who believe in equality, especially to same-sex couples and their families. The efforts of anti-gay extremists to strip same-sex couples and their families of fundamental freedoms are not only abhorrent, but they have real and damaging consequences. Their discriminatory agenda fueled by dishonest attacks and scare tactics is dangerous and embodies the archaic politics of division. Although this is a painful setback, we should also look at the progress that was made. Support for the freedom to marry has grown significantly over the past several years in Maine, in California and nationally, and the victories in Kalamazoo and Washington – where anti-equality forces ran despicable campaigns and lost – demonstrate how far we have come and give us strength and hope despite the setback in Maine.

"But while we are making progress, it is also clear that none of these measures should ever have been allowed to go to the voters. Enough is enough. A minority group should never have to defend its rights at the ballot box. We call on the Obama administration that was absent in a critical fight for the soul of our nation to speak up forcibly against these assaults on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans and to immediately join Equality California and others in asking the federal courts to rule that it is unconstitutional to allow a majority to take away rights from a minority. Millions of lives are being damaged and hundreds of millions of dollars spent needlessly, and it is time for our President and Congressional leaders to demonstrate leadership.

"Equality California is grateful to the thousands of EQCA members who donated and volunteered with us in knocking on doors in Maine and in making more than 60,000 phone calls to Washington and Maine from our phone banks. The struggle for equality is just that – a struggle, and we are in this for the long haul, until every lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender person achieves full and true equality.”