America’s LGBT community has scored groundbreaking victories this week with positive results in all four state referenda on gay marriage.
On Wednesday, late results confirmed that 52% of voters in Washington joined those in Maine and Maryland in supporting gay and lesbian marriage rights in their states.
“Washington voters sent a resounding message that nothing less than marriage is full equality for gay and lesbian couples. This victory rounds out a landslide sweep of all four marriage ballot measures this November,” said Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin.
Citizens of Minnesota also voted against a proposed constitutional amendment that would have permanently banned gay marriage in the state by defining marriage as only being between a man and women.
Freedom to Marry’s Director of Organising, Thomas Wheatley commented: “This victory is a joyous step forward for millions of gay and lesbian people in Washington and around the country who have dreamt of someday being able to marry the person they love.
“Washington’s campaign mobilised unprecedented support from businesses, faith leaders, and young voters, demonstrating that the freedom to marry matters to all people and setting a powerful example as we continue to work to win marriage nationwide.”
The results are especially historic because this was the first time in the US that any state’s voting public gave its approval to same-sex marriage. Previously, other states that legalised gay marriages did so through the courts or through laws passed by the legislature.
Thanks to Tuesday’s votes, the number of states to have legalised same-sex marriage in the US will rise to nine. It is also legal in the District of Columbia.
The elections further saw Tammy Baldwin in Wisconsin become the first openly-gay person elected to the US Senate. Barack Obama also became the first American president to be voted into office after publicly supporting same-sex marriage rights.