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From Congress to marriage equality, much at stake on Election Day

Congressional candidates

From the chance to elect the nation’s first openly gay U.S. senator to the nation’s first state referendum to pro-actively legalize same-sex marriage, Nov. 6 could prove historic for LGBT equality.

Here are 10 key contests to watch around the country on Election Day.

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State of Black Gay America Summit seeks to inspire change through ‘collective power’

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The sixth annual State of Black Gay America Summit over Labor Day weekend covered a broad range of topics over the course of the day on Sept. 1 — from HIV prevention medicines and the need for volunteers in vaccine research to the specifics of the Affordable Care Act to how much money does it cost to run an effective campaign in Atlanta and Georgia.

Keynote speaker Je-Shawna Wholley, a recent Spelman graduate who now lives in Washington, D.C., and is a senior fellow at the National Black Justice Coalition, tackled the subject of this year's theme at the summit at the Melia Hotel. "Embracing Our Collective Power to Influence Change" must be made by building coalitions and being sincere in the work people do, Wholley said.

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Poll: Mainers poised to endorse marriage equality

Equality Maine

WBUR, Boston's NPR radio station, released its findings from a recent poll on the upcoming elections in Maine. Among the questions asked was whether or not participants favored a referendum that would legalize same-sex marriage. 55 percent of those polled favored the referendum, while only 36 percent were opposed.

From the poll:

Maine’s referendum legalizing same-sex marriage appears likely to pass: WBUR’s poll follows national polls, which show increasing acceptance of same-sex marriage. The WBUR poll shows Democrats and independents favor the measure, while Republicans oppose it.

It's no surprise that the state's Republicans oppose the referendum.

Maine's legislature originally passed same-sex marriage rights in 2009, but a referendum on the issue in November of that year saw the law overturned.