Question ready for petition against gay marriage

AUGUSTA -- Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap and staff from the Bureau of Corporations, Elections and Commissions completed work today on the master petition for citizens wishing to reject the recently enacted law that would legalize same-sex unions.

“An Act to Promote Marriage Equality and Affirm Religious Freedom” was passed by the Legislature and signed by the governor on May 6, and is scheduled to take effect 90 days after the adjournment of the Legislature in mid-June.

Maine citizens have an amount of time, from when a bill is signed by the governor until it is effective, to collect and have verified a number of signatures of registered Maine voters equivalent to 10 percent of the total votes for governor in the last gubernatorial election in order to force a statewide vote on the enacted measure. The current threshold to force the People’s Veto is 55,087 certified signatures.

The question on the ballot will appear on the petition as: “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?”

If an apparent number of signatures are turned in by the 90th day after adjournment. A stay is then put on the effectiveness of the law, and the secretary of atate has until 30 days after the 90 days after adjournment to certify the submitted signatures.

If the secretary of state rules sufficient signatures have been affixed on the instrument of petition, the stay continues until after the voters decide on the question at a statewide election.