AUGUSTA — The Secretary of State’s Office released proposed wording for the gay-marriage ballot question today.

The question reads: “Do you want to allow same-sex couples to marry?”

The release of the question triggers a 30-day public comment period. Comments may be sent to [email protected] The deadline to submit comments is 5 p.m. July 16.

David Farmer, spokesman for Mainers United for Marriage, said his immediate reaction was that the wording did not include a specific reference to religious freedom. Those supporting the measure say they have worded the proposed state law so that no religious groups would be required to perform same-sex marriages. In a statement released this afternoon, Matt McTighe, campaign manager for Mainers United, described the question as “simple” and “straightforward.”

“Unfortunately, the question does not address the parts of the proposed law that protect religious freedom by ensuring no religion or clergy be required to perform a marriage in violation of their religious beliefs,” he said. “More than 105,000 Maine voters signed petitions that included information about both parts of the law. Ideally, the language of the question would reflect that full explanation.”

Farmer said the group will respond to Secretary of State Charlie Summers during the public comment period because the question does not include a reference to religious freedom. Once the comment period ends, Summers will release a final question, which then triggers a 10-day appeal period.

Bob Emrich, campaign manager for Protect Marriage Maine, said he would have preferred that the question ask voters if they wanted to change the definition of marriage. He said his group may ask for that to be added to the question, but for the most part, they are happy with the wording.

“We won’t complain if it’s left the way it is now,” he said. “At least it’s a simple yes or no.”

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