Maine voters approve same-sex marriage
Voters in Knox County supported ballot Question 1, which asked, "Do you want to allow the State of Maine to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples?" While the margin was closer in Waldo County, voters there too approved the measure.
Knox County residents voiced their support for Question 1 with a 12,463 to 10,141 vote, with results from Warren not reported as of 9 a.m. Wednesday. In Waldo County, with all towns having reported results, the margin was much closer; 10,599 votes in favor of allowing same-sex marriage and 10,109 opposing votes.
With 86 percent of precincts reporting at 7:30 a.m., Maine residents approved same-sex marriage with an approximate 53 percent in-favor vote, according to Bangor Daily News.
The question was the first in the nation to be placed on the ballot by supporters of same-sex marriage, rather than opponents seeking to repeal existing legislation.
Upon news voters in Maine passed Question 1, Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin said in a written statement, “This is a landmark election for marriage equality and we will forever look back at this year as a critical turning point in the movement for full citizenship for LGBT people. Voters in Maine came to the common-sense conclusion that all people deserve the ability to make loving, lifelong commitments through marriage.
“We are thrilled for all Maine families and for the dedicated campaign that led this effort through to the end. As we celebrate victory tonight we know we have added momentum to ensure that this victory is soon felt in every corner of this country. Poll after poll shows a majority of Americans supporting marriage equality and the numbers continue to grow every single day."
Same-sex marriage has been an ongoing topic during Maine elections. Domestic partnerships have been recognized in Maine since 2004. In 2009, Maine was the first state in the country where the Legislature approved legalization of same-sex marriage and the bill was signed by then-Gov. John Baldacci a short time after the bill passed. About six months later, voters at the polls rejected the legislation, repealing it.
According to a New York Times story published in June 2012, “In states where same-sex marriage is legal now — Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont, as well as in the District of Columbia — it has been made possible through court rulings or legislative action. In the 32 states, including California, in which voters have had a say, they have rejected it.”
Several other states also addressed same-sex marriage, including Maryland, Washington and Minnesota, according to an NBC News story written by Miranda Leitsinger. In Maryland and Washington voters were being asked to uphold state laws allowing same-sex marriage; while in Minnesota, voters decided whether to ban same-sex marriage, the story says.
In Maryland, voters were faced with Question 6, a referendum petition regarding the Civil Marriage Protection Act, which "establishes that Maryland’s civil marriage laws allow gay and lesbian couples to obtain a civil marriage license, provided they are not otherwise prohibited from marrying; protects clergy from having to perform any particular marriage ceremony in violation of their religious beliefs; affirms that each religious faith has exclusive control over its own theological doctrine regarding who may marry within that faith; and provides that religious organizations and certain related entities are not required to provide goods, services, or benefits to an individual related to the celebration or promotion of marriage in violation of their religious beliefs," according to information provided by Maryland State Board of Elections. CNN reported early Wednesday morning the measure in Maryland was approved.
Washington voters addressed Referendum 74 (Senate Bill 6239); a “yes” vote would keep marriage equality law; and a “no” vote repeal it. Results of the referendum were not immediately available; though at the time of publication, CNN results showed a slim lead — 52 percent to 48 percent — in favor of the law.
Those heading to the polls in Minnesota addressed a question to recognize "marriage solely between one man and one woman.” CNN was projecting Wednesday morning that a slim margin of voters rejected the question.