BY Advocate.com Editors

November 03 2009 2:15 PM ET

All eyes are on the state of Maine as Election Day brings gay marriage rights to the forefront. The polls have already been open for hours, after an enormous get-out-the-vote effort was orchestrated across the Pine Tree State.

Please return to Advocate.com for updates from Advocate correspondent Dana Hernandez on the state's fight over whether to retain the marriage equality law that was passed by the legislature and signed by Gov. John Baldacci in the spring. We will also keep you up to date on the results of Washington state's domestic-partnership initiative, Kalamazoo, Mich.'s antidiscrimination ordinance, the contentious governor's race in New Jersey, and the mayoral election in Houston, which could bring in the first lesbian mayor of a major city.

Update 12:30 p.m. ET - There are tears in the crowd. 'No on 1' Campaign Manager Jesse Connolly asked everyone not give up on hope, even though it looks grim. They will be counting votes and absentee ballots into the night and into next week if they have to make sure each vote is counted, Connolly said.

Update 11:34 p.m. ET - With 64% of precincts reporting, the Bangor Daily News shows the Yes on 1 votes inching ahead.

Yes 190057 51.66%
No  177857 48.34%


Update 11:14 p.m. ET - With 30% of precincts reporting, Question 1 in Maine is too close to call. With 148 of 608 precincts reporting, each side has about 50 percent of the votes.
 
Update 11:00 p.m. ET - The ballroom is full of people and the crowd is very diverse. Parents are here with their teenagers, couples, gay, straight, old, young, and in-between. Remarkable. There is a feeling of friendship and family and people coming together to support each other, no matter what.



For the first time tonight, No falls behind -- 74,802 Yes with 50.51% of the vote; 73,292 No with 49.49% of the vote.

Update 10:35 p.m. ET - The Mayor of Portland, Jill Duson, arrived and asked everyone in the room who cast a ballot today to raise their hands high. The entire room screamed and hands shot in the air.

"Now turn to a neighbor and hug them," Duson said. "We love those  public displays of affection." People embraced. Neighbors, strangers, and friends all hugged as one,  cheering.

She shared the Portland numbers: 7, 240 YES; 19, 975 NO

The crowd goes wild....
 
Update 10:17 p.m. ET - Auburn and Kennebunkport vote NO on 1! The results flash on a large overhead screen and the crowd goes wild. People have chills and are jumping up and down!









Update 10:10 p.m. ET - Gov. John Baldacci stopped by to applaud effort of the volunteers and voters.
 
“This state recognizes individual rights and civil liberties,” Baldacci said. “It recognizes together we are going to be a lot stronger than we are apart. ... This is a special state.”



Update 10:02 p.m. ET - With 22% of precincts reporting, the
effort to keep same-sex marriage is still ahead, but the gap has significantly narrowed, according to the Bangor Daily News:

No -  56,659, 50.62%
Yes - 55,267, 49.38%


Update 9:55 p.m. ET - Mary Bonauto, the civil rights project director at Gay and Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) since 1990, stood on the podium and gave thanks to all the volunteers who donated money and time to this campaign.

"A big thanks to those that are not gay and lesbian themselves but has made this fight their own," Bonauto said.



Update 9:47 p.m. ET - The No's win in Bangor -- 54% No to 46% yes ... that's a heavily populated area, so it picks up a lot of votes for 'No on 1.'

Update 9:20 p.m. ET - Rea Carey, executive director for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, said Prop. 8 was a devastating loss, but it is unfair to compare Maine's campaign with California's. "They have vastly differently environments," Carey said. "You can run an ad in Maine that says 'We Are Mainers and These Are Our Families' and everyone can identify with being a Mainer. You can't do that in California."

She said this is due to the large areas in California that people live: the coasts, Northern California, Southern California, and cities.
 
Carey is hopeful the numbers will continue to be in favor of No on 1 until every last vote is counted, she said.
"IF we lose tonight, it will show there is still a slice of people that just don't want gay people to be married," Carey said. "There is a percenatge of voters hearts and minds we have to change."






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