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Maine, Maryland voters approve same-sex marriage

Maine voters on Tuesday voted in favor of Question 1 [LD 1860], which permits the state to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. 53 percent of voters answered the question in the affirmative. The referendum was championed by EqualityMaine [advocacy website], who gathered enough signatures [JURIST report] earlier this year to include the question on the November ballot. The Maine legislature passed a same-sex marriage bill in 2009, but voters chose to overturn the measure [JURIST report] by voting in a referendum. Same-sex marriage will become legal [Bangor Daily News report] in Maine 30 days after the results are certified.

Maryland electorates also voted to legalize same-sex marriage [JURIST backgrounder] by a slim margin on Tuesday. Question 6, which asked voters whether they wanted to uphold the Civil Marriage Protection Act [HB 438, PDF], was answered in the affirmative by 50 percent of Maryland voters. Maryland joined the seven states that allow same-sex marriage [JURIST report] in March when Governor Martin O'Malley [official website] signed the Civil Marriage Protection Act. The Maryland Board of Elections [official website] officially certified [certification notice, PDF] a referendum petition in July seeking to challenge the state's same-sex marriage law [JURIST report] in Tuesday's election. The law will take effect on January 1, 2013.

Washingtonians have unofficially approved the state's same-sex marriage law [SB 6239 text] in Tuesday's election with nearly 52 percent of the tallied votes favoring the law. Preserve Marriage Washington [advocacy website] presented over 200,000 referendum signatures seeking to overturn the state's same-sex marriage legislation, which was signed [JURIST report] into law by Washington Governor Chris Gregoire in February. The results of the referendum will likely become official [Huffington Post report] in the next few days.

Finally, Minnesota voters struck down a ballot initiative that would have outlawed same-sex marriages in the state. 51 percent of voters opposed Amendment 1 [text], an amendment to the state's Constitution banning same-sex marriage.

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