5 victories for gay rights and same-sex marriage

Not only did Americans elect the first openly gay Senator Tuesday, (congratulations Wisconsin candidate Tammy Baldwin) four states also moved closer to legalizing same-sex marriage in what is being viewed as a huge step forward for gay rights.

It’s a historic moment, notes The Atlantic, and marks the first time same-sex marriage has won on a U.S. ballot question.

“The results in Maine and Maryland broke a 32-state streak, dating to 1998, in which gay marriage had been rebuffed by every state that voted on it,” writes The Associated Press.

Here’s how it went down:

Fifty-three per cent of voters chose “yes” to legalize same-sex marriage and 47 per cent said “no,” says The Huffington Post. The decision marks a victory for gay and lesbian couples in the state, where the legislature passed a bill allowing same-sex marriage in 2006 and voters overturned it in 2009. Same-sex couples in Maine should be able to get marriage licences by December.

A referendum to approve same-sex marriage narrowly passed, with 51.9 per cent of voters approving same-sex marriage. “It was a little bit pins and needles,” Human Rights Campaign’s Kevin Nix told CNN. “It was going to be a close call all along.” Maryland’s vote makes it the first state below the Mason-Dixon line to approve same-sex marriage, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Voters were asked to vote on a constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage by defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman only. That amendment was rejected, but only narrowly, with 51 per cent of voters voting “no.” Whether or not to legalize same-sex marriage in the state will likely be back up for debate in January, reports the Duluth News Tribune.

Washington State
Legislators have already approved a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage in Washington State. But in a last-ditch attempt to thwart the bill, opponents were able to get a question onto the ballot, asking voters if they wanted to uphold the law. Due to a high number of mail-in ballots, the results of that ballot are not yet conculsive and “the vote count was expected to stretch on for days,” reports the Wall Street Journal, but early results showed voters were 52 per cent in favour of the same-sex marriage bill.