KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Voters in Maryland and Maine approved ballot initiatives that legalized same-sex marriage – the first wins for gay rights advocates at the ballot box over the issue – while voters in Minnesota rejected a proposal to amend the constitution to ban same-sex marriage.
The victories at the polls have some gay rights supporters saying that public opinion on the issue is shifting in their direction. Opponents of same-sex marriage note that the measures passed in states that were already solidly blue, the Wall Street Journal reports.
In Maryland, voters approved a same-sex marriage law by a 52-48 percent margin, while voters in Maine approved by a 53-47 margin a meature that reverses a 2009 vote that barred same-sex marriages from being legally recognized.
A similar ballot measure allowing same-sex marriage was leading in Washington State by a 52-48 percent margin with a little more than half the vote counted.
Voters in Minnesota rejected a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage by a 51-48 percent margin. A nearly identical amendment was approved by North Carolina voters last May.
Following Tuesday’s vote, nine states (Massachusetts, Iowa, Vermont, Connecticut, New Hampshire, New York, Maine, Maryland and Washington) and the District of Columbia now allow same-sex couples to marry.