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Gay couple turned away from getting married in Litchfield, ME

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The Portland Press Herald
|
January 2, 2013

A gay couple who asked to be married at the Litchfield Town Office on Monday morning got turned away, even though the town clerk and deputy town clerk are authorized to perform weddings. The incident, described as a misunderstanding by the clerks, occurred on the third day that gay couples were able to wed legally in Maine. Gay-rights advocates and others say it shows that municipal officials and others who are notaries public must review and define their wedding policies to avoid discrimination and possible violations of the Maine Human Rights Act. Rich Hirschmann, 56, and Richard Acker, 57, say it was shocking and hurtful to be turned away from their town office. "It made me feel less than human," Hirschmann said. "Like our rights don't count." In November, 53 percent of Maine voters approved legalizing same-sex marriage in the state. The law took effect at 12:01 a.m. Saturday. Shortly after 9 a.m. Monday, the town clerk's office in rural Litchfield, near Augusta, issued a marriage license to Hirschmann and Acker, who have lived together for three years.