After a three-hour debate, the Maine House gave final approval to a same-sex marriage bill and sent it back to the Senate, where a final vote is pending.
Representatives voted 89-57 Tuesday afternoon to give the bill final approval after rejecting an amendment that called for a November referendum. The bill was sent back to the Senate, which is expected to take it up when it returns Wednesday. The proposal would make Maine the fifth state to allow gay marriage.
Same-sex marriage already passed Maine's senate; the vote next Wednesday is a formality. One of the Dem state reps in Maine who voted "yes" on the bill—Steve Butterfield—sent this moving note to TPM:
I'm struck by how overwhelmingly the balance of representatives today have spoken in favor—on both sides. A Republican representative known for being a staunch conservative gave an exceptional and moving floor speech early on this morning in which he said he realized "this is not about me" and announced his support.
Yes, there's the feeling of being a part of history, and yes, there's the camaraderie of righteousness that comes from being on the right side of a pivotal issue—but the mood here very much feels like this movement is more inevitable than it was even a month ago.