Advocates of same-sex marriage turned in more than enough signatures to move ahead with a citizens initiative that would allow gay and lesbian couples to marry in Maine, the Secretary of State's Office ruled Thursday.
... Advocates of same-sex marriage, who lost in 2009 at the ballot box in a 53-47 percent vote, say enough Mainers have changed their minds that the measure will pass this time.
... Brian Souchet, director of the Office for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland, said he fully expected that the advocates would get enough signatures.
But, he said, they will have a harder time convincing the public that it's time to allow same-sex marriage in Maine.
"This is a group that's attempting to redefine marriage," he said. "We don't see how a majority of Maine voters are going to go for that."
... Bob Emrich, who is organizing a coalition of opponents that will include the Christian Civic League of Maine, Concerned Women for America and the National Organization for Marriage, said he's cautiously optimistic that voters haven't changed their minds on the issue since 2009.
"We're much better prepared than we were before," he said. "I don't know anyone other than EqualityMaine folks who think things have changed."
In a statement released Thursday night by the Catholic diocese, Bishop Richard Malone said, "The church will remain firm in her constant teaching that marriage is exclusively the union of one woman and one man -- a nearly universally accepted truth until very recently. ... The church advises people to read the proposed legislation very closely before they vote on it."