| (NOTE: EqualityMaine has asked that people utilize the hashtag #MarryME on Twitter.)
Earlier this year it was announced in Lewiston that coalition partners EqualityMaine, GLAD and Maine Freedom to Marry were planning to launch a signature-gathering drive aimed at putting the issue to a statewide vote. The organizers would need to collect at least 57,277 voters' signatures by January 30th to get the measure on the November 2012 ballot.
This weekend, EqualityMaine launched their petition signature campaign at a variety of events statewide:
The renewed effort to get gay marriage approved in Maine kicked off Saturday as petition-gatherers fanned out across the state, targeting farmers markets, parades and festivals in communities form York to Bangor.
Equality Maine says the effort targeted a number of communities including Portland, Kennebunk, Biddeford, York, Bangor, Ellsworth and Brunswick.
The idea was to target heavily attended festivals. Thus, signature-gatherers were at a street festival in Biddeford, an art festival in Brunswick, and the Bob Dylan concert in Bangor.
There were also petitions for signing at the Portland Farmers Market and at the Great Falls Balloon Festival in Lewiston.
At the invitation of EqualityMaine, I spent Saturday morning shadowing those EQME L/A volunteers. There were 3 scheduled training sessions held throughout the day, with over 2 dozen volunteers for the first shift (9:30am) alone.
In fact, enough people showed up for that first session that the training room was standing room only out into the hallway- that spoke volumes to me regarding the passion, conviction and enthusiasm of those attended.
After a thorough explanation of how to the signatures and Q&A session, the group left to greet the tens of thousands of people all over downtown Auburn and Lewiston- some waiting for the 11 am parade to start, others going to the festival.
I was able to get bunches of great pictures of the signature process (see below), as the volunteers were met with many people happy to sign the petitions.