Marriage and the Election

In the clamor of news coverage on Tuesday’s elections, one story that many may have missed was the outcome of four ballot initiatives related to the right of same-sex couples to marry under state law.

Two states legalized same-sex marriage yesterday:

  • Maryland: Question 6 adopted 51.9% to 48.1%
  • Maine: Question 1 adopted 52.66% to 47.34%

In Minnesota, voters rejected a proposed state constitutional amendment that would have banned same-sex marriage, 51.3% to 47.6%. In Washington state, the vote on Referendum 74, which approves a law passed earlier this year that legalized same-sex marriage, is leading by over three percentage points; but a substantial number of mail-in ballots have not yet been counted.

This was a dramatic change from the outcome in previous elections. “We’ve lost at the ballot box 32 times,” said Paul Guequierre of Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights group. “History was made tonight.”

The elections yesterday add to the six states (Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York and Iowa) and the District of Columbia, which previously had adopted same-sex marriage through judicial decisions or legislation.