A Republican state representative in Maine has urged voters in Tuesday’s equal marriage referendum to reject the measure and says even in death, he still disagrees with his late brother’s sexuality.

David Johnson, who represents Eddington, Maine, released a statement on the anti-gay Protect Marriage Maine website, saying:

“I miss my brother and stay in contact with his partner because I love them both and know many other gay couples and love them dearly as well. The fact remains that God intended marriage to be between one man and one woman, and we have no right to redefine marriage.

“It has taken me a while, but I have finally figured out that God’s plan is better than man’s plan in all aspects of life. He constructed marriage this way for a reason. Numerous studies confirm this, showing that kids do much better when raised by their married mother and father.”

Mr Johnson’s brother died of cancer in April and had been in a relationship of more than 25 years with his partner.

Maine’s lawmakers passed equal marriage in 2009, but in a state-wide ballot with echoes of California’s Proposition 8 law, a large enough number of voters reversed the legislature’s decision before it came into effect.

Along with Tuesday’s presidential election, equal marriage referendums are also taking place in several other US states.