Three states legalized same-sex marriage.
In this year’s general election, four states’ ballots offered voters an opportunity to weigh in on marriage rights for same-sex couples. In three states, voters held the power to legalize same-sex marriage: Maryland voters chose between adopting or rejecting a new law permitting same-sex marriage, Maine voted on whether to overturn or ratify a 2009 measure that prohibited same-sex marriages, and Washington’s vote was between endorsing or precluding a law similar to Maryland’s that would make same-sex marriage legal and available. Minnesota, meanwhile, voted on whether to adopt a constitutional definition of marriage as a union between one man and one woman.
Last night’s election marks the first time in American history that a measure to legalize gay marriage has been passed by a popular vote. Prior to the election, the states (and District of Columbia) where same-sex marriage was legal had been made so by the actions of lawmakers and courts; voters, in all 32 times that measures to enable same-sex marriage had been offered on a state ballot, had voted them down.