PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - Maine residents have approved same-sex marriage, giving the gay rights movement a breakthrough victory.
Shortly after midnight, Matt McTighe took the stage at the Yes On One campaign headquarters at the Holiday Inn by the Bay in Portland. Yes On One championed the cause of legalizing same-sex marriage.
McTighe thanked his supporters and spoke emotionally before a cheering crowd about Maine's long road toward marriage for all Mainers.
McTighe spoke about past and present opponents who have fought to deny allowing homosexuals to marry. He said past techniques had been deceptive and hateful. But he said this year "Maine people have proven that truth and love are more powerful than fear and deception."
The Human Rights Campaign, which has contributed more than $800,000 to the campaign for marriage equality in Maine, says that this is "a critical turning point in the movement for full citizenship for LGBT people."
The NAACP also sent along congratulations and added that opponents' efforts to drive a wedge between gays and blacks would ultimately fail.
The No On One campaign said at Midnight that they were not ready to concede the campaign. They say that the AP called the vote too early and that not enough votes had been counted.
Gay marriage is legal in six states and Washington, D.C., but those laws were either enacted by lawmakers or through court rulings. In popular votes, more than 30 states had previously held elections on same-sex marriage, with all losing.
Maine, Maryland and Washington state were holding up-or-down votes Tuesday on legalizing gay marriage. Minnesota was voting on a proposal to ban gay marriage in the state constitution.
(The AP contributed to this report.)