Voters in Maine will decide the fate of a recently approved gay rights law, after a measure seeking the law's repeal was approved on Thursday.
Earlier this year, the state legislature passed a law that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation. Similar bills had failed to pass twice before, in 1998 and 2000, due to opposition by Maine voters.
When the gay rights bill passed in the legislature, supporters of traditional marriage mobilized a campaign to repeal the law, collecting 56,650 signatures in 80 days. On Thursday, the Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap approved the petition for a repeal, which will be decided upon by a statewide referendum.
Those who oppose the measure to repeal can challenge the signatures within 5 days, but this is unlikely. The number of signatures collected exceeds the minimum of 50,519 signatures by a few thousands. The measure will show up on the November 8 ballot for voters to decide.
Pro-family groups applauded the news, especially the sponsors of the campaign, the Christian Civic League of Maine and the Maine Grass Roots Coalition.
Gay rights advocates announced their plans to fight the repeal measure. The gay rights law will not take effect until the repeal is voted upon in November.