Nov. 4, 2009 -- In Maine, a referendum that would have allowedsame-sex couples to marry was voted down.
The defeat is a setback for a gay-rights movement which has found New England most receptive to same-sex marriage in recent years.
The measure was passed by the Maine legislature and signed by Democratic Gov. John Baldacci in May but had not taken effect, pending the outcome of the vote.
Gay marriage has lost in every state in which it has been put to a popular vote – most recently in California last year.
Massachusetts became the first state to wed same-sex couples in 2004. Connecticut followed in 2008. And Iowa, Vermont and New Hampshire all legalized the unions this year. New York and the District of Columbia recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states but do not grant them.
If gay marriage opponents had succeeded in Maine, it would have marked the first time voters overturned a gay-marriage law enacted by a legislature. When Californians approved Proposition 8 last November, it was in response to a court ruling, not legislation.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.