Same-Sex Marriages in Maine, One Year Later
Steven Bridges and Michael Snell thought they knew what they were getting into a year ago when they went to City Hall to get married. But they didn’t realize that they were about to become instant celebrities.
Joining Snell’s daughters as witnesses were several dozen news reporters and photographers as Bridges and Snell became the first same-sex couple to get married shortly after midnight on Dec. 29 at Portland City Hall. Photos of their wedding in the clerk’s office made their way from Maine to California.
"We thought it was truly going to be a low-key night with Michael’s daughters," Bridges said. "It didn’t turn out that way."
More than 1,500 same-sex couples followed them in the year since it became legal for gay couples to wed in Maine, which along with Maryland and Washington states became the first to approve gay marriage by popular vote on Nov. 6, 2012.
Same-sex marriage is now legal in 18 states through legislative action, court rulings and popular votes.
Ian Grady of EqualityMaine, which led the referendum drive in Maine, said the process of recognizing same-sex marriages is speeding up nationwide. None of the potential problems cited by gay marriage opponents - teaching same-sex marriage in schools, churches being forced to perform ceremonies - have come to bear, Grady said.
The Christian Civic League of Maine, which fought the referendum, remains concerned that same-sex marriages will be taught in schools, infringe upon religious liberties and cause wedding cake makers, photographers and others who decline to work with gay couples to get into hot water. That’s already happened in other states, said Carroll Conley, the group’s executive director.