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(NECN: Alison King) - On Wednesday, Maine's governor signed a gay marriage bill and in New Hampshire, a gay marriage bill awaits action by the governor. So how is it that new england has become the region leading the charge nationwide -- with states Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont already having legalized same-sex marriage? "It runs the gamut from social reasons, cultural reasons, political, economic and religious reasons that make New England somewhat different from the rest of the country," Arline Isaacson, co-chair of the Massachusetts Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus, said. She says new englanders have always had a progressive and libertarian bent with a diverse and open-minded religious inclination. And in Massachusetts, the place where it began, she says serendipity played a role as well -- with advocates having success at keeping gay marriage off the ballot for a number of electron cycles. "It's a good thing we kept it off the ballot all those years because it allowed people to see what having same sex marriage in their state meant," Isaacson said. "Which for most people is nothing at all. No consquence, no difference, no change." Most closely watching have been the state's New England neighbors -- hence, many feel, the domino effect. "New England is a small enough region -- we share a similar culture," executive director of GLAD, Lee Swislow, said. "We share media markets, there's a lot of back and forth that people in other states have seen the Massachusetts experience and they've learned from it." She said a number of polls in recent months show a dramatic increase in support for gay marriage. Gay marriage may be gaining wider acceptance around the country, but even here in Massachusetts the forces to reverse the five year law are still hard at work. "We're not going away," Massachusetts Family Institute president Kris Mineau said. "And remember - all of these states still have an amendment or an opportunity to amend their Constitution." "Of course we are very concerned, and we're not pleased, but we're not surprised because New England is the most liberal area of the country," Mineau said. Mineau said while courts and legislatures have been siding with gay advocates, the opposition has had great traction in the ballot box. "Every state where the citizens have been allowed to vote on the definition of marriage - it's passed with an overwhelming success rate of 68-percent," Mineau said. Still, states around the country are starting to follow New England's lead. Gay couples started marrying last month in Iowa -- New York and New Jersey are thought to be not too far behind. NECN's Alison King reports.