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Thursday February 02, 2012 | 02:40 PM

Rep. Chellie Pingree made a pitch on the floor of the U.S. House today for Maine voters to make legal same-sex marriages.

Pingree, D-1st District, said that Congress has made progress “on ending discriminatory practices like Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, but it will be up to us in Maine to bring marriage equality to our state.”

Advocates of gay marriage expect to get a same-sex marriage question on the statewide ballot in November after last week submitting more than 105,000 signatures to the Secretary of State’s office. In 2009, Maine voters overturned a law passed by the Legislature to allow same-sex marriage.

Pingree made her remarks during the period when House lawmakers come to the floor to make one-minute speeches on a topics of their choosing.

“In my state of Maine there are thousands of couples in loving, committed relationships,” Pingree said. “And even though to spend the rest of their lives together, because they are same-sex couples they are denied the right to honor their love and commitment to each other through marriage.

“This fall Maine people will have a chance to change that, and to join a growing list of states around the country that are setting aside discrimination and granting all couples the same right to get married,” she said.

Pingree said in an interview outside the House chambers that she is a longtime supporter of making same-sex marriage legal. In the wake of the signatures being turned in to place the question on the ballot, she decided to reaffirm that support on the House floor, Pingree said.

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Kevin Miller is Washington bureau chief for the Portland Press Herald and MaineToday Media. He has worked as a journalist in Maine for 6 ½ years, covering the environment, politics and the State House. Before arriving in Maine, he wrote about politics, government and education for newspapers in Virginia and Maryland.
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