Gay Marriage Finally Wins at the Polls

| Wed Nov. 7, 2012 2:23 AM EST

Tuesday was an historic first for gay marriage—three times over.

Voters in Maryland, Maine, and Washington all approved ballot measures—by significant margins—allowing gay marriage in their states. Never before have voters gone to the polls in any state and directly approved gay marriage.

Maryland's vote affirms the state legislature's passage of same-sex marriage in February. Maine's reverses a 2009 referendum that blocked gay marriage. Washington state's decision to approve marriage equality builds on its 2009 vote that expanded domestic partnerships to something called, at the time, "everything but marriage."

Meanwhile, marriage rights advocates await a final tally in Minnesota, where a ballot measure asked voters whether to amend the state constitution to explicitly ban gay marriage. Since the state already has a law banning same-sex marriages, a defeat of the measure wouldn't make gay marriage legal.  But it would prevent the state from erecting yet another obstacle to approving them in the future.

UPDATE, 12:40 PDT: Minnesotans have defeated the attempt to amend the state's constituition to ban gay marriage, giving four victories to same-sex marriage supporters.