PORTLAND, Maine -- Canvassers are knocking on the doors of saltbox houses and slogans are pinned to yellow slickers. But outside the Pine Tree State, next month's referendum on gay marriage is the vote that dare not speak its name.
Even as President Obama delivers a high-profile speech about gay rights on Saturday -- the eve of a national march for equality on the Mall -- Maine's landmark gay marriage legislation remains practically a secret. With low-volume murmurs of support from the institutional advocates and opponents of gay marriage, Maine's operatives, on both sides of the issue, are curious to find themselves nearly alone as they contest an election that will determine the national gay-rights agenda.
"We're focused on Maine people talking to Mainers," said Jesse Connolly, who is running the campaign to protect the nation's first gay marriage bill to have successfully passed through the traditional legislative process.
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