Is the Tide Turning on Gay Marriage?

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Pivotal battles over same-sex marriage are shaping up across the U.S., with gay activists claiming the tide has turned in their favor.
    
However, next month, the country will get a clearer picture of what the American people really think about the issue when voters head to the polls to decide the question.
   
Gay rights issues are on the ballot in three states - and it's a key issue in the New Jersey governor's race.
   
Where the Public Stands

When it comes to gay marriage and what the public thinks, the record so far is clear:  In all 30 states that have raised the issue, voters have approved constitutional amendments supporting traditional marriage. 
   
However, next month that trend could change and gay marriage supporters are eager to gain a victory.

The stakes are perhaps highest in Maine where traditional marriage supporters submitted more than 100,000 signatures to the secretary of state this summer. Their goal is to overturn the state's new gay marriage law. 

Should they succeed, it will be the first time the people have overturned lawmakers on this issue.  If they fail, Maine will become the first state where voters approve gay marriage.
    
That's why out-of-state funding is pouring into The Pine Tree State - and gay rights activists are acknowledging that Maine is important.

"It's huge," said Robin McGehee, Co-director of the National Equality March. "I mean every single fight we have going is important.  Maine is important because people just like me in families just like mine need to have that dignity and protection."

Another high profile vote on gay rights will be taking place in Washington State. Voters will weigh in on expanded domestic partnership rights via Referendum 71.

Also, in New Jersey, the candidates for governor are engaged in a heated debate over gay marriage. The Democratic and Independent candidates say they would sign a bill to legalize it, while the Republican candidates are opposed to such a measure.

Looking ahead, gay marriage is already taking center stage in the Iowa governor's race in 2010 - and that could force presidential candidates to take up the issue in 2012.

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Heather Sells

Heather Sells

CBN News Reporter

Heather Sells enjoys reporting on a variety of issues for CBN News. Some of her recent stories have focused on religious liberties, technology, AIDS, overseas missions, domestic trafficking, and politics.  Follow Heather on Twitter @SellsHeather and "like" her at Facebook.com/HeatherSellsCBNNews.