Yesterday, voters in Maine, Washington, and Maryland voted to legalize same-sex marriage, and voters in in Minnesota rejected a constitutional amendment that would have defined marriage as between one man and one woman.
Same sex marriage is already legal in six states and the District of Columbia via legislative action. However, the issue of marriage equality was defeated on state ballots 32 times, every single time it was put before the public, until yesterday. Minnesota became the first state to vote against a constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage, and Maine, Maryland, and Washington (most likely, final results pending) became the first states to legalize same-sex marriage via the ballot.
"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," Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin he said in a press release on Tuesday night.
Freedom to Marry's national campaign director, Marc Solomon, echoed Griffin's sentiment in a press release: "It's hard to overstate the national significance of this vote. For years, our opponents have argued that we could not win a majority vote at the ballot."
This sweeping victory for marriage equality reflects the shift towards acceptance of marriage equality and LGBT rights demonstrated in recent polls.
Looking to the future, Griffin said: "Tonight we celebrate, but tomorrow morning we get up and get back to work so that the victories we hail tonight are felt everywhere across this great country. Too many people are denied the ability to marry. Too many people go to their jobs without workplace protections. Too many young people go to bed at night and stare at the ceiling, sleeplessly wondering what awaits them the next day at school or at church or in their own home. Thanks to all the hard work in achieving tonight's victories, we finally have momentum on our side and we will not rest until the promise of equal justice under the law is realized for every single person living in every single corner of this vast country."
Media Resources: Huffington Post 11/07/2012; HRC 11/07/2012; Freedom to Marry 11/07/2012