As heartbreaking as it was for the people on the ground and as callous as this may sound, Maine 09 was just another move in the two steps forward, one step back dance that social change movements are. The overall strategy on marriage has been to win in enough states to create a tipping point before seeking a nationwide resolution. Perry v. Schwarzenegger, the big gamble of a case now in federal court in California, might change that strategy, but a loss in any one state won't. Instead, what comes out of Maine are little lessons that are new and big questions that are old.
The little lessons are tactical points: Heavy turn-out is not necessarily a good sign for a minority rights issue. Religiosity isn't everything (Maine is one of the four least religious states in the country). A huge fundraising advantage may be necessary but definitely is not sufficient. And we should trust only automated polling - when people respond to other people instead of to computers, a chunk of them say they will vote to legalize gay marriage, then actually cast their ballots against it.
More importantly, following the jump are three major issues reinforced by the Maine experience as ones that people need to wrap their minds around.