Monday, May 20, 2013
By MATT WICKENHEISER, Staff Writer
UPDATE: 12:07 P.M.
AUGUSTA--Sen. Lawrence Bliss, D-South Portland, opened today's same-sex marriage hearing at 9:20.
Lawmakers are now introducing themselves to applause from the crowd, estimated to be at nearly 4,000.
The hearing is expected to continue into tonight.
A number of lawmakers have arrived, including Senate President Elizabeth Mitchell, D-Vassalboro, Senate Majority Leader Phil Bartlett, D-Gorham, Speaker of the House Hannah Pingree, D-North Haven, Judiciary Committee Chairman Lawrence Bliss, D-South Portland and Judiciary member Sen. Barry Hobbins, D-Saco.
Opponents of the bill are also filing in, many wearing buttons that say "Marriage, One Man One Woman."
AUGUSTA AT 8:30 a.m. --Several hundred people were inside the Augusta Civic Center early this morning in advance of a public hearing for a bill that would legalize gay marriage in Maine.
Several hundred more waited outside, as well. Supporters and opponents of the bill said in advance of the hearing that they expected several thousand to attend the all-day hearing.
Supporters of LD 1020 see the bill as an opportunity to end what they see as discrimination against gay people, while opponents have cast it as an assault on the institution of marriage.