ALBANY, N.Y. — “Remember Maine!” could be the rallying cry after the Nov. 3 elections, as defenders of marriage move from a ballot initiative victory in that state to battles against same-sex “marriage” in New York and New Jersey.

“The importance of the win in Maine nationally cannot be overstated,” Brian Brown, executive director of the National Organization for Marriage, said in a statement. “If we can win in Maine, we can win anywhere.”

Same-sex “marriage” advocates do not agree.

After Election Day, New York Gov. David Paterson announced a special session of the state Legislature to consider budget issues. He added homosexual “marriage” to the agenda.

In New Jersey, where Republican Chris Christie ousted incumbent homosexual-“marriage” advocate Gov. Jon Corzine, some legislators said that they will push a same-sex “marriage” bill for Corzine to sign before he leaves office in January. Christie said during the campaign that he would veto any such bill.

The other Election Day victory for traditional marriage came in Virginia, where Republican Bob McDonnell, who opposes same-sex “marriage,” roundly defeated Creigh Deeds for the governorship.

Traditional-marriage supporters view Maine as a tipping point, where voters went through the laborious “veto referendum” process and decisively overturned the state’s recent homosexual “marriage” law by six percentage points, 53-47.

It was an inspiring victory in what was seen by same-sex “marriage” advocates as a solid stronghold, given Maine’s reputation for a libertarian “do as you please” attitude. Last spring, the state’s Legislature passed a homosexual “marriage” law that was put on hold until the outcome of the referendum, and pro-homosexual forces poured millions of dollars into the fight.

Yet, by a clear margin, Maine became the 31st U.S. state to reject homosexual “marriage” when it was brought to a vote by the people.

‘Hoping They Get Message’

The result gives great encouragement to those defending marriage in New York and New Jersey, where many media outlets have portrayed same-sex “marriage” as inevitable.

“Maine is a great day for us, as are the victories of Governor-elect Christie and Governor-elect McDonnell,” Patrick Brannigan, executive director of the New Jersey Catholic Conference, said. “Governor Corzine, whom I personally like and have worked well with on other social issues, announced himself as the ‘marriage-equity candidate.’... Same-same ‘marriage’ lost the New Jersey election, not only with Corzine, but with the third candidate, [Chris] Daggett, who also supported gay ‘marriage.’”

Yet state legislators plan to push same-sex “marriage” during Corzine’s “lame duck” session. Senate leader Richard Codey, D-N.J., who supports same-sex “marriage,” will seek to get a bill on the agenda, though no date has been set, Jenn Sciortino, a spokeswoman for the senator, said. The day after the election, New Jersey Assembly Speaker Joseph Roberts announced that he would bring homosexual “marriage” to the floor only if he thought it would pass.

In addition, Garden State Equality recently started a new series of television ads, featuring a middle-aged lesbian couple who say they have been together for 20 years and are bringing up four children in their New Jersey home. They claim they are denied full medical benefits for their handicapped child because they are not allowed to marry. New Jersey has a comprehensive same-sex union law, passed in 2007, that provides all the legal benefits of marriage.

Dennis Poust, spokesman for the New York State Catholic Conference, said that lawmakers in that state have avoided a vote on a same-sex “marriage” bill for years because of a lack of votes in the Senate, but Gov. Paterson was keeping the issue alive with the special session, which was held Nov. 10.

“The governor, unfortunately, has not gotten the message from Maine or the New York-23 U.S. House of Representatives race, in which the pro-gay ‘marriage’ candidate (Dede Scozzafava) was forced to drop out partly because of her support of this issue,” said Poust. “We are hoping that the Senate got the message that this goes against the voice of the people and they could risk their term in office.”

There was no vote on same-sex “marriage” Nov. 10, apparently because Democratic leadership did not feel confident there were enough votes for it. The issue was expected to come up again in another special session the following week.

National Implications

In his post-election statement, the National Organization for Marriage’s Brown pointed out that “for the first time in history, the voters of a state have overturned the legislative enactment of same-sex ‘marriage.’ New York, New Jersey and other states considering redefining marriage will now have to confront this blunt fact.”

In an interview, Maggie Gallagher, president of the National Organization for Marriage, acknowledged that the Maine victory and Scozzafava’s defeat have “made it much less likely the New York Legislature will pass gay ‘marriage’ this fall.”

“In New Jersey,” she added, “gay-‘marriage’ supporters have pressed for a vote in the lame duck session from the beginning. We expect a hard fight there. Maine helps, but we need to demonstrate that New Jersey legislators have a reason to be concerned about their re-election chances if they vote for gay ‘marriage.’”

In addition, she reported, the National Organization for Marriage is experiencing “explosive growth.” She said that since January, the group’s activist list has grown from 50,000 to 500,000 and donor base from 8,000 to 40,000. “The biggest argument [same-sex ‘marriage’ advocates] have is the argument from despair: Gay ‘marriage’ is inevitable,” she said. “Puncture that and you unleash a tidal wave of energy.”

Stephen Vincent writes from Wallingford, Connecticut.