Twenty Republican leaders have joined a Republican group pushing for marriage equality in Maine.

At a press conference yesterday, state representative Stacey Fitts explained how he changed his mind on the issue.

“I voted against same-sex marriage in 2009, but I changed my mind,” he said. “I know some gay people and I’ve talked with them and my family, and I’ve thought about it a lot.

“As a husband and a father, I’ve come to believe that two people who love each other should have the freedom to get married.”

Republican senator Meredith Strang, who in 2009 co-sponsored an unsuccessful bill for marriage equality, said: “This is about the fundamental right to marry the person you love without the government getting in the way.”

In 2009. Maine voters narrowly rejected a proposal to give gay couples the right to wed.

They will vote on the issue again this November. Polls suggest around 57 per cent of voters are in support of the change.