June 14, 2012
Contact: Megan Sanborn
(207) 441-0501

Secretary of State Charles E. Summers, Jr. Releases for Public Comment the Proposed Ballot Question for the Same-Sex Marriage Initiative

AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine Secretary of State Charlie Summers released, today, a draft question for the Same-sex Marriage initiative that will be presented to Maine voters on the November 6, 2012 ballot.  Under the law, the public will have 30 days to comment on the wording of the ballot question that has been proposed.

The Maine Constitution, Article IV, Part Third, Section 18 provides for legislation by citizen initiative.  In order for a proposal to move forward, proponents must file with the Secretary of State a number of signatures of registered Maine voters equivalent to 10% of the votes cast at the last gubernatorial election.  That number this year is 57,277 signatures.  Once the signatures are certified, the legislation is transmitted to the Legislature.

On March 6, 2012, the Secretary of State, having certified that proponents of An Act To Allow Marriage Licenses for Same-sex Couples and Protect Religious Freedom, had gathered a sufficient number of signatures, transmitted the initiated legislation to the Legislature.  Members of the House and Senate had the option of enacting the measure into law, without amendment, or sending the question to the voters for a final determination.  Because the initiated bill was not enacted, a question will be placed on the November ballot.

The proposed wording for the initiative question that voters will decide on, along with a link to the text of the initiated legislation, is as follows:

  • Do you want to allow same-sex couples to marry? 

The question was drafted by the Secretary of State with assistance from senior staff, and the Attorney General's office.  Secretary Summers noted that Maine law, Title 21-A MRSA Section 905-A, requires that the Secretary of State "provide a 30-day public comment period for the purpose of receiving comments on the content and form of proposed questions to be placed on the ballot for any pending initiatives."

Written public comments on the proposed question may be filed with the Secretary of State by email at; by mail at Secretary of State, Attn: Public Comment, 148 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333-0148; or by hand at the Secretary of State's office at Nash School, 103 Sewall Street, Augusta, Maine.  Public comments must be received by the Secretary of State prior to 5:00 p.m. on July 16, 2012. After the end of the public comment period the Secretary of State has 10 days to determine the final ballot question.