New Hampshire legislators were also poised to send a gay marriage bill to their governor, who hasn't indicated whether he'll sign it. If he does, Rhode Island would be the region's sole holdout.
The Maine Senate voted 21-13, with one absent, for a bill that authorizes marriage between any two people rather than between one man and one woman, as state law currently allows. The House had passed the bill Tuesday.
Democratic Gov. John Baldacci, who hadn't previously indicated how he would handle the bill, signed it shortly afterward. In the past, he said he opposed gay marriage but supported civil unions, which provide many benefits of marriage.
Debate was brief. Senate President Elizabeth Mitchell, D-Vassalboro, turned the gavel over to an openly gay member, Sen. Lawrence Bliss, D-South Portland, to preside over the final vote.
Republican Sen. Debra Plowman of Hampden argued that the bill was being passed "at the expense of the people of faith."
"You are making a decision that is not well-founded," warned Plowman.
But Senate Majority Leader Philip Bartlett II said the bill does not compel religious institutions to recognize gay marriage.
"We respect religious liberties. ... This is long overdue," said Bartlett, D-Gorham.
Maine is now the fourth state in New England, to allow same-sex marriages. Connecticut enacted a bill after being ordered to allow gay marriages by the courts, and Vermont passed a bill over the governor's veto.
New Hampshire's House was also expected to vote on a bill Wednesday and send it to Gov. John Lynch, a Democrat.
Massachusetts' high court has ordered the state to recognize gay marriages. In Rhode Island, a bill to legalize same-sex marriage has been introduced but is not expected to pass this year.
Outside New England, Iowa is recognizing gay marriages on court orders. The practice was briefly legal in California before voters banned it.
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Closing arguments are scheduled Thursday for a former Yuma police officer accused of raping a Kensington woman last year during a visit to her family home.
An 18-year-old man was hospitalized Thursday morning with wounds from a machete suffered in an attempted robbery in Linda Vista.
All northbound lanes of Interstate 5 will be closed from 10:30 p.m. to 5 a.m. starting Thursday night and continuing through Friday, according to the San Diego Association of Governments.
California regulators are considering a plan to charge a fee for text messaging on mobile phones to help support programs that make phone service accessible to the poor, according to a newspaper report Wednesday.
San Diego State University’s star basketball player, Jalen McDaniels has been accused in a Washington state civil lawsuit of recording sexual acts with a female high school classmate in 2016 and sharing the video with friends on social media.
Apple will build a $1 billion campus in Austin, Texas, break ground on smaller locations in Seattle, San Diego and Culver City, California, and over the next three years expand in Pittsburgh, New York and Colorado.
Offshore flow under a weak Santa Ana will bring warmer temperatures to San Diego coastal and inland areas.
The recent fall storms that soaked San Diego set rainfall records across the county – putting a dent in the drought and making a difference at local lakes.
A police cruiser was involved in a collision Wednesday night in La Jolla that left an officer injured.
Rep. Nancy Pelosi all but ensured Wednesday that she will become House speaker next month, quelling a revolt by disgruntled younger Democrats by agreeing to limit her tenure to no more than four additional years in the chamber's top post.