PORTLAND, Maine (AP) – The first television advertisements in an anticipated referendum on Maine’s gay marriage law begin airing Thursday across the state.

Carisa Cunningham from Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders says the advertisements are airing in multiple markets in Maine. Details will be announced Thursday afternoon by the EqualityMaine Foundation, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders and the Maine Civil Liberties Union Foundation.

Maine’s gay marriage law was scheduled to take effect next month, but it’s been sidetracked as state election officials verify petitions submitted to force a statewide referendum.

The law will be stayed and a November election called if state election officials certify the signatures of at least 55,087 registered voters. Gay marriage opponents say they collected more than 100,000 signatures.

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