BY Michelle Garcia

October 27 2009 12:30 PM ET

Maine governor John Baldacci announced his endorsement of marriage equality in a message to those opposing the ballot measure to repeal same-sex marriage rights this November.

"In the past, I opposed gay marriage while supporting the idea of civil unions," he said at a campaign event Tuesday. "I came to believe that this is a question of fairness and of equal protection under the law, and that a civil union is not equal to civil marriage."

Baldacci, who signed legislation to establish marriage equality in the spring, reiterated that the law would not force any religion to recognize a marriage that falls outside of its beliefs. "Instead," he said, "it reaffirms the separation of church and sate."

State senator Chris Rector, who couldn't attend the press conference for No on 1's get-out-the-vote effort on Tuesday, issued a statement saying he voted for the marriage equality bill because "I came to believe that it was the right thing to do for the state of Maine."





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