Tuesday’s election made history in the fight for marriage equality, chalking up huge victories in Maine, Maryland and Minnesota. With votes still being counted this morning, Washington also appears to have approved same-sex marriage — leaving LGBT advocates poised to win four out of four contests on yesterday’s ballots.
In Maine, voters approved the first ballot measure in the country brought by gay rights advocates to allow same-sex marriage, rather than by anti-gay forces seeking to prevent it.
In Maryland, the state legislature passed same-sex marriage last spring, and Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley signed it into law on March 1, 2012. Opponents immediately pushed for a referendum on the November 2012 ballot to stop same-sex marriage, which was set to begin Jan. 1, 2013.
The ballot measure, known as Question 6 or the Civil Marriage Protection Act, “establishes that Maryland’s civil marriage laws allow gay and lesbian couples to obtain a civil marriage license.” On Tuesday, it was approved by 51.9 percent of voters, clearing the way for same-sex marriage in the state.
Washington voters faced a similar scenario as Maryland. Washington’s state legislature approved a same-sex marriage bill early this year and Gov. Christine Gregoire signed it into law by on Feb. 13.
Same-sex marriage was scheduled to begin in Washington on June 7, 2012, but opponents were able to gather enough signatures to get a ballot measure to overturn gay marriage approved for Tuesday’s election. As of this morning, votes were still being counted, but voters appear to have approved the measure to allow gay couples to marry.
And in Minnesota, where same-sex marriage is already banned under state law, gay rights opponents pushed for an amendment to the state constitution to further solidify the definition of marriage as only between one man and one woman.
In another historic moment, Minnesota voters rejected the measure – making the state the first in the nation to defeat a gay marriage ban at the ballot box, according to Freedom to Marry, a national nonprofit working for marriage equality.
Here’s the recap:
Maine Yes: 53.11 percent No: 46.89 percent
On Tuesday, Maine citizens voted — not on a gay marriage ban — but on whether to proactively grant marriage equality in their state. This is the first such ballot measure in the country, brought by LGBT advocates rather than by anti-gay forces seeking to prevent or overturn same-sex marriage.
Maryland For: 51.9 percent Against: 48.1 percent
The Maryland state legislature and governor approved same-sex marriage last spring. Opponents immediately pushed for a referendum to stop it. They lost. On Nov. 6, voters vote for the measure that “establishes that Maryland’s civil marriage laws allow gay and lesbian couples to obtain a civil marriage license.”
Minnesota (measure to ban gay marriage) Yes: 47.6 percent No: 52.4 percent
Minnesota already has a state law banning same-sex marriage. On Nov. 6, voters were asked whether to amend the state constitution to recognize marriage “solely between one man and one woman.”
They refused — making Minnesota the first state ever to defeat an anti-gay marriage amendment.
Washington Approve: 51.8 percent Reject: 48.2 percent
Washington’s state legislature and governor approved marriage equality last year, but like in Maryland, opponents pushed for a ballot measure to stop it.
To uphold same-sex marriage, voters had to vote to approve Referendum 74. Ballots were still being counted at press time, but it appeared to be another victory for marriage equality.
Sources: Unofficial state election results, local media. Tallies likely to change slightly as provisional and absentee ballots are counted.