Maine has become the latest US state to reject same-sex marriage after a “people’s veto” received support from a majority of voters.
Proposals to legalise ‘gay marriage’ have now failed in all 31 states in which they have been put to a popular vote.
The five states which have legalised same-sex marriage have done so through the courts or the state legislature, not the ballot box.
Maine’s own legislature had approved same-sex marriage in May, but popular opposition led to it facing a “people’s veto” in a referendum.
Question 1 on the Maine ballot read: “Do you want to reject the new law that lets same-sex couples marry and allows individuals and religious groups to refuse to perform these marriages?”
On Tuesday night, with a handful of districts still to be counted, it became clear that a majority of voters had backed the veto.
Supporters of traditional marriage expressed their delight at the result.
Their victory came even though the “No on 1” campaign in favour of same-sex marriage had twice as much funding at its disposal.
Mary Conroy, spokeswoman for Stand for Marriage Maine, said: “I feel energized, overcome, overjoyed for the family and the people of Maine.
“Clearly, this tonight is the people of Maine speaking.”
Jeff Flint, who also worked on the campaign to defend traditional marriage in California in 2008, said the outcome was “further evidence that although voters have shown tolerance toward same-sex couples, they draw the line at marriage”.
In November 2008 voters in Arizona, Florida and California backed measures in each of their states to defend the definition of marriage as a union between one man and one woman.
In March UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown attacked the California measure as “unacceptable”.
Speaking at a Downing Street reception to celebrate LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) History Month, Mr Brown said: “What I saw in America tells me what we have got to do.
“This Proposition 8 in California, this attempt to undo good that has been done, this attempt to create divorces for 18,000 people who were perfectly legally brought together in partnerships.
“This is unacceptable and this shows why we have always got to be vigilant, always got to fight homophobic behaviour and any form of discrimination.”
Although the UK allows civil partnerships, the Government has stopped short of calling them ‘marriage’.