Apr. 29, 2004 – In what he called a demonstration that Maine is committed to civil rights for all its citizens, the stateâ€™s governor signed a domestic partnership bill into law. The law gives homosexual and heterosexual couples that have lived together for longer than one year in a committed relationship many of the benefits that straight married couples enjoy. â€œWhen your partner dies, it is a very hard time in your life and you may need protection no matter how supportive your family is,â€� said Betsy Smith, executive director of Equality Maine, one of the groups that worked for passage of the bill. â€œEven without a will, under this law someone in a domestic partnership can be able to keep the house and keep their shared property."