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Gay Marriage Battle Heats Up in New England: Summary of Legal Developments

As court proceedings and the debate continues over the passage of California's Proposition 8, which amended the state's Constitution to limit the definition of marriage to a union between a man and a woman, the AP reports that the battle over gay marriage is raging on in New England.

Although the reasons why the focus has shifted to New England are debatable, laws legalizing gay marriage are now being considered in the legislatures of three states in the region. At the moment, Massachusetts and Connecticut are the only U.S. states that allow marriage for gays and lesbians.

Below is a summary of ongoing legal proceedings in New England over the marriage equality debate, and some additional links relevant to the marriage equality debate:

1. Vermont's Senate approved a bill last week allowing same-sex marriage, but shortly thereafter Governor Jim Douglas pledged a veto should it pass the Legislature.

2. New Hampshire's House of Representatives approved a bill legalizing gay marriage in a very close vote, but speculation appears to point to a veto by Democratic Governor John Lynch if it gets past the state Senate.

3. A bill in Maine legalizing gay marriage has the support of a number of legislators, but may also face a veto. Maine's governor, Democrat John Baldacci, has not taken an official position on the bill but has opposed gay marriage in the past (while favoring civil unions).