Live-Blogging Election 2012: The Marriage Equality Ballot Measures

As the election results come in across the country, I will be following and reporting on how voters decide on same-sex marriage in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington. I’ll also be reporting on the last-minute campaign efforts here in Washington while I volunteer with Washington United for Marriage.

To give you some background, the L.A. Times has summed up nicely what’s happening in each state:

In three of those states — Maine, Maryland and Washington state — courageous legislatures passed bills in favor of same-sex marriage. In both Maryland and Washington, the bills were signed into law earlier this year but were placed on hold when opponents forced referendums that will ask voters whether they, also, approve of allowing the states to issue marriage certificates to gay and lesbian couples.

In Maine, the law was approved in 2009, then overturned by referendum. The issue is back on the ballot in the hopes that voters will reverse themselves and approve marriage equality. In Minnesota, it is already prohibited; voters will decide whether to embed that ban in the state constitution.

Stay tuned throughout the evening to hear how things went. Polls will close first in Maine and Maryland on the East Coast, then Minnesota, then finally here in Washington.

Maine’s Question 1:

Twitter: @MainersUnited

Ballot Language:

Do you want to allow the State of Maine to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples?

[ ] Yes
[ ] No

How people should vote: Vote Yes!

The Results (90% reporting):

Yes – 53% (346,585) ✓

No – 47% (310,228)

UPDATED @ 11:30pm PST Wednesday

The networks are calling this a victory for marriage equality in Maine!

Maryland’s Question 6:

Twitter: @MD4Equality

Ballot Language:

Question 6
Referendum Petition
Civil Marriage Protection Act (Ch. 2 of the 2012 Legislative Session)

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.

[ ] For the Referred Law
[ ] Against the Referred Law

How people should vote: Vote FOR!

The Results (99% reporting):

For – 52% (1,258,952) ✓

Against – 48% (1,156,578)

UPDATED @ 11:30pm PST Wednesday

The networks are calling this a victory for marriage equality in Maryland!

Minnesota’s Amendment 1:

Twitter: @MN4allfamilies

Because same-sex marriage is already banned, this is a redundant effort on the part of opponents of marriage equality. The good news is that it must pass by 60% of registered voters, not just voters who turn out in this election. Those who don’t vote on this amendment are counted as a “No” vote.

Ballot Language:

Limiting the status of marriage to opposite sex couples.

“Recognition of Marriage Solely Between One Man and One Woman.”
[ ] YES
[ ] NO

How people should vote: Vote NO!

The Results (99% reporting):

No – 51% (1,507,915) ✓

Yes – 48% (1,402,141)

UPDATED @ 11:30pm PST Wednesday

The networks are calling this a victory for marriage equality in Minnesota!

Washington’s Referendum 74:

Twitter: @WA4Marriage

Ballot Language:

Passed by the Legislature and Ordered Referred by Petition Referendum Measure No. 74

The legislature passed Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 6239 concerning marriage for same-sex couples, modified domestic-partnership law, and religious freedom and voters have filed a sufficient referendum petition on this bill. This bill would allow same-sex couples to marry, preserve domestic partnerships only for seniors and preserve the right of clergy or religious organizations to refuse to perform, recognize, or accommodate any marriage ceremony.

Should this bill be:

[ ] Approved
[ ] Rejected

How people should vote: Vote to APPROVE!

The Results (66% reporting):

Approved – 52% (1,104,025)

Rejected – 48% (1,020,812)

UPDATED @ 5:00pm PST on Thursday

UPDATE (5:06pm PST) Not related to our elections but Spain’s highest court just reaffirmed that marriage equality is completely constitutional!

UPDATE (7:29pm PST) Polls close in 30 minutes here in Washington and we’re still calling voters! We’re still working to help voters get their ballots in.

UPDATE (8:00pm PST) We made over 116,000 calls in Washington United For Marriage phone banks just today. :)

UPDATE (8:14pm PST) Moved to the Ballroom where the after party is. This room went insane when Obama was declared the winner.

UPDATE (12:30am PST) Finally home! I’m so sorry I wasn’t able to blog past about 9p. The wifi in the room we were in was terrible and only got worse. (Thanks, Hemant, for helping fill in the gap!) I’m pretty exhausted at this point. I’ve been up since 3am and am only just now eating dinner. As spent as I feel, it feels so insignificant compared to what we accomplished tonight. Maine and Maryland are confirmed in our favor. The constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage in Minnesota is no where near the 60% required to pass. And although they’re taking the conservative route and not calling it for the Ref. 74 campaign, I can say with great certainty that we did it! The remaining votes that will come in are highly likely to skew in our favor; the late voters always lean heavily towards the progress side in Washington. That means our lead is likely to increase. I can’t tell you how filled with joy this makes me.

Just as I expected, I cried tonight. I always cry at weddings and tonight was like the joy of 100,000 weddings. All of my friends in WA can get married now. Just typing that brings tears to my eyes; it’s such a big deal, such a beautiful reality! I’ll write more tomorrow along with updating the results. But for now, I’m going to finish my dinner and get to bed. Thank you to all who voted for love and to all of the amazing volunteers and staff who made this night happen. We did it; we made history.

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UPDATE (11:30pm PST Wednesday) King County has already updated their website about allowing same-sex marriage. Marriage licences will be available on Dec. 6th.

About Ericka M. Johnson

As a lover of science and reason, Ericka M. Johnson has an affinity for evolutionary biology and is the president of Seattle Atheists. She revels in any opportunity for a thoughtful debate on the meaning of life, the universe, and everything (especially over a pint.) Follow her on twitter @ErickaMJohnson

  • Blehnertz

    Blog now!

  • Travis Mamone

    I have so much hope for my home state of Maryland!

  • Lindseystock324

    I shouldn’t be paying attention to this at work, it’s just making me anxious and ill-tempered :(

  • amandatheatheist

    I’m so nervous for Minnesota. I don’t even understand the desire to have this ridiculous amendment, particularly from “small govt” Republicans. 

    One woman actually tried to tell me that not passing this amendment would lead to people marrying animals and even inanimate objects. The only way I can deal with people like that is to say things like, “I love lamp.”

  • David_in_Houston

    If any of the states approve of marriage equality, it will be devastating for NOM. They have constantly argued that the public should be able to vote (on other people’s civil rights). This will destroy their entire argument. Of course Brian Brown has already said that if marriage equality does get approved, they’ll continue to work to get it repealed. So Brian doesn’t actually support the idea of people voting on marriage if and when the vote doesn’t go his way. He is the definition of a lying hypocrite.

    I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

  • Margie1357

    Great site to watch these critical outcomes tonight. Thank you

  • AbnormalWrench

    It’s looking like 4 for 4!  (I know WA is going to win).  This is pretty amazing, considering the previous record!

  • Miranda Celeste Hale

    The results at the Washington Secretary of State’s site seem a little more up-to-date than the ones at MSNBC:   So far, it’s looking good for R74, but still too close for comfort, unfortunately :( 

  • Lindsey Stock

     Republicans are only for “small government” when the government does liberal things. They’re completely okay with large conservative government control.

  • Hemant Mehta

    But aren’t their raw vote counts lower than MSNBC?

  • Lydia

    Checking on the results of this made me cry. This is absolutely incredible. 

  • Biodork

    C’mon Minnesota – I don’t have any fingernails left to bite!

  • wright1

    As a straight Californian who wept when Prop 8 (our state anti-gay marriage law) passed, this part of the election makes me cry again… but in a good way. That this issue has been raised to this degree gives me hope, even if the Maine, Maryland and WA state bills are shot down. Biting my nails over Minnesota…

  • Miranda Celeste Hale

    At the moment, they seem to be roughly equal, but that could definitely change. The Seattle Times has been a great resource tonight:  They’re pulling in the results from the WA Secretary of State’s site and also adding additional relevant info. 

    Right now, as of 10:25 pm PST, The Seattle Times reports that WA Referendum 74 is at 51.8% yes, 48.2% no, with 60% of state ballots counted. It’s looking a little worse than it was a few hours ago. I’m nervous :/ 

  • eskomo

    For the Minnesota amendment,  it is only 50% of active voters to change the constitution.

  • Andychambers

    Minnesota public radio is reporting that most of the outstanding votes will be from Minneapolis & Duluth, both “no” heavy precincts. This looks better than the raw counts…
    Too close though…too, too close.

  • Andychambers

    And the AP just called it for Minnesota! That’s NO on this b.s. amendment as well as the on photo ID.

    Take that, bigots!

  • ReadsInTrees

    I am SOO proud of my fellow Mainers today! 

  • eonL5

    Me too!

  • Semipermeable


  • Thackerie

     I have so much pride for my home state of Maryland today! True Blue all the way!