Same sex marriage passed by popular vote for the first time in both Maryland and Maine


This is truly a great day. I’m so happy to report that same sex marriage was legalized, for the first time by popular vote, in the states of both Maryland and Maine! This brings the total of US states recognizing same sex marriage to eight, along with the District of Columbia. It’s thought to be too early to predict, but Washington may have passed a ballot to approve same sex marriage as well. What’s more is that a constitutional amendment in Minnesota essentially banning the possibility of gay marriage was shot down. So it looks like the tide is turning.

Americans for the first time approved gay marriage at the ballot box on Tuesday, pointing to changing attitudes on the divisive issue.

In Maine and Maryland, voters approved ballot initiatives to begin allowing same-sex unions. Those wins mark a first for a cause that had previously been rejected by voters in more than 30 states, including as recently as 2009 in Maine.

And in Minnesota, where gay marriage is already not allowed, voters declined to back an initiative that would enshrine in the state’s constitution a definition of marriage permitting only a union between a man and woman.

In Washington state, where voters also weighed an initiative to legalize gay marriage, the vote count was expected to stretch on for days. With half of the vote counted as of 3 a.m. Eastern time, nearly 52% supported the idea.

In Maine, with 73% of the votes counted at 3 a.m. Eastern, more than 53% of the voters supported the gay-marriage initiative, the first time gay-rights groups have brought the issue to the ballot on their own terms. Although the Associated Press called the vote, opponents of the Maine measure didn’t immediately concede, saying they were waiting on results from outlying areas of the state.

In Maryland, with 98% of the votes counted, nearly 52% supported gay marriage. “We’re sure to feel the ripples of this monumental victory across the country for years to come,” said Josh Levin, campaign manager for Marylanders for Marriage Equality.

And in Minnesota, 51% of the votes were against a gay-marriage ban in the state’s constitution as of 3 a.m. Eastern. Supporters of the amendment said it was needed to prevent courts or legislatures from changing state law in the future. In May, a similar amendment passed in North Carolina with 61% voter support.

[From The Wall St. Journal]

Congratulations to the couples in these states who now have the right to marry. One of my relatives is planning to marry her longterm partner in New York next Spring and I’m really looking forward to that. I love weddings! I hope it’s just a matter of time before gay marriage rights extend across the entire US. It seems like it should have happened years ago, doesn’t it?

Kaiser watched MSNBC’s coverage last night and she told me that Rachel Maddow calls Obama “‘our first gay president’ because he’s moved the national conversation so far ahead as far as gay rights go while still maintaining the idea that he’s a ‘centrist’.” She says “he’s making gay rights a centrist Democratic ideal.” It’s always been something that my family has stood for, and I’m proud that the President and my country is finally stepping up.

Also, I have to admit that I’m getting teary-eyed looking for photos of gay rights protests to add to this story. It’s hard to express what a great day this is.

Thank you to all the great photographers who made their work available by Creative Commons license. Credits are, in order: JP Puerta/Flickr, Fibonacci Blue/Flickr (two photos) basykes/Flickr (two photos), Daniel Gonzales / Soulforce, David Shankbone/Flickr, Ryan Georgi/Flickr

 

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114 Responses to “Same sex marriage passed by popular vote for the first time in both Maryland and Maine”

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  1. Bowers says:

    I can’t understand why all states don’t pass this. What’s it to some conservative whether a gay couple can marry or not? It’s not their business.

    • Lucy says:

      This is so strange to me, I’m a member of the conservative government here in Canada but I support abortion and sames sex marriage. Our conservative government here in Canada has religious and family morals but they (our prime minister)believe that government should stay out of people’s personal lives and business, which is why abortion and same-sex marriage are legal here! (and abortions are free here in Ontario they are covered by the Provincial health plan).

      • kay says:

        I am also Canadian, though NDP.

        I agree with you Lucy, our country and our government has it’s faults, but I do firmly believe that our PM protects us, all of us.

      • Jennipurrr says:

        I love that our entire country is for gay marriage, go Canada!

        I have to disagree with you somewhat, however. A conservative MP recently tried to reopen the “when is a fetus a person” debate and there was also the measure that they had to back up on re: the legality of Canadian gay marriages in other countries. You must know that Harper rules his party with an iron fist and none of that would have gone on without his approval.

    • Gm says:

      Agree. The americans claim to be so “forward” and “free” yet they’re at the bottom of the bunch when it comes to this. Madness.

  2. Nola says:

    I’m so proud of my home state. Good job MD.

  3. Amelia says:

    That last picture seriously made my day!
    Lolcats are taking over the campaign.

  4. Evelyn says:

    I voted for gay marriage in Maryland yesterday. It was my first election, and I was really glad it was an issue I got to vote on. And I was even happier when it passed!

  5. Britt says:

    Fantastic news. I hope to see this happen in Australia, we must get rid of our Prime Minister first…

    • shoebox says:

      Eh, Gillard’s better than Abbott.

      I think gay marriage is more likely with Labour than the Liberals. Although they’re both pretty damn far right these days.

      • Jay says:

        It’d pass under Malcolm Turnbull. I still hold out a little hope that he’ll take back the Liberal leadership and usher us into a Golden Age. :D

      • Britt says:

        Anyone is better than Abbott and I agree that it’d pass under Turnbull, he would be my choice out of the lot of them.

      • chaser says:

        As someone who has only voted labor in my years, I’d be happy to support Turnbull.

        As much as I dislike our PM for being so soft on her stance, there is no way in hell I’d vote for any party Abbott is involved with.

      • Kath says:

        I never thought I’d see the day when (some) US states are more progressive than Australia.

        Nothing lowers my opinion of Gillard more than her stance on gay marriage. As a left-leaning, unmarried, childless professional woman, she clearly IS in favour of it personally (behind the scenes), but pretends not to be in order to pander to older/conservtive voters. Makes me sick.

        It must kill Penny Wong to grit her teeth and repeat the party line.

        Malcolm T. might be more normal/human than Abbott, but it will be a cold day in hell when his party lets him pass gay marriage.

  6. nate says:

    I’m so happy! I don’t even live there.

  7. judyjudy says:

    Toot toot! Such great news!

  8. Blue says:

    That last pic has me giggling.

  9. emme says:

    Awww! Congrats to all the lgbts in those states who can get married now!

  10. lucy2 says:

    A big step forward for equal rights.
    It amazes me that it’s even an issue, and one that can be voted down, but I’m glad to see progress being made.

  11. Lamb says:

    I’m so happy right now, I was so terrified Romney would win. Obama is about moving into the future, not reverting to the past. It’s awesome to have a president that supports gay marriage, treats women like equals and like people that can make up their own minds about their lives and bodies, and someone that genuinely wants the best for this country, not just himself. Good job in making the right decision America! Lets keep moving forward.

  12. L says:

    These referendums passing and Akin/Murdock losing was honestly the best part of the night for me.

    congrats!

  13. Riana says:

    This plus Obama’s re-election really made me feel good about our growth as a people. At the end of the day without it being for me I and so many others will vote to give rights to individuals who deserve them without letting our personal opinions effect their deserved rights.

    Also…Judy Gold!

    Who knows, another 10-20 years conservatives may eventually give up on wanting to control gay rights and destroy women’s basic rights and we can go back to wanting to have a respectable 2 party system.

  14. Heathlar says:

    I don’t think it’s all conservatives who oppose gay marriage, or even all Christians either. For example, I’m overall a conservative Christian Republican but I support gay marriage 100% and am Pro-Choice. I think the people who oppose the rights of others are troubled and insecure with themselves. Just because I may have some beliefs for my own personal life does not mean I want to enforce it on others or judge them. I applaud these states for passing these measures, legalizing what should never have been illegl in the first place, and hope the rest of the country follows suit. This country will be a better place when individuals stop trying to force their personal moral compass onto others!

  15. Nanz says:

    So happy today. So much progress!

  16. Meg says:

    Why do you use word “marriage” to describe relationship between gay people? I think you should use word “partnership” because it is more accurate. Marriage can be only between man and woman. Don’t get me wrong I have nothing against gays but there is someting off with semantics.

    • Lee says:

      we use the word marriage because that is exactly what was voted on in these states. a relationship that is governmentally recognized wherein two people have committed themselves to each other for life IS a marriage, regardless of whether it is civil or religious. Arguing over semantics treats us as separate but equal. If Kim Kardashian and Britney Spears get to call their ‘blink-and-you’ll-miss-it’ unions ‘marriages’, then I sure as hell should too.

    • Riana says:

      I’m genuinely asking, why do you consider the term ‘marriage’ to be the propert of male and female relationships?

      Partnership as a term discredits these relationships by reducing them to nothing more than some hollow union permitted by the govt.

    • k says:

      Meg,

      I’m afraid that there’s something off with _your_ semantics.

      • Isa says:

        I got in this exact same discussion with a woman a few months ago. She didnt believe it should be called a marriage because that’s not how the Bible defines marriage. That the Bible is where the term originated from. Is that the case here?

      • Lexi says:

        I think Meg is quite brave to pose that question here, among so many staunch supporters, and I think we owe it to her to give an honest, caring answer to her honest question.

        Meg, I voted Yes on 1 in Maine yesterday to allow the state to give marriage licenses to same sex couples (or really, to extend marriage licenses to *all* couples). Marriage at a state and government level is what is up for debate, not at a religious level. Any religious institution in Maine can still refuse to perform *religious* marriages. The fact that the government and religious institutions call it the same thing creates a lot of confusion, I think.

        Civil unions, while ground breaking at the time, never granted the same rights as civil marriage licenses, which are what heterosexual couples have to get in order to be married by law.

        So now, legally, *all* of my friends can get married in the eyes of the law. What a church decides is up to that institution.

        It was a big day for LGBT rights across the country. :-)

    • keats says:

      Maybe its cultural? I don’t think that marriage means a relationship between a man and a woman exclusively, but that could be because, culturally, that’s never been my understanding (I am American and a Christian). Do you come from a different background from me maybe?

    • Kate (newer one) says:

      The fact gay marriage exists in law proves that it doesn’t have to be between a man and a woman. You might as well say women can’t have the vote, because they’ve only been able a century. Things change.

    • Aotearovian says:

      Looking at the etymology of the word ‘marriage’, it dates back to about 1300, and means what we understand it to be – the act of marrying, entry into wedlock. One definition is ‘the state or condition of being husband and wife’. So there’s some merit to your point.

      However, I would say that it sometimes takes the law and societal ethics a while to catch up with the facts of the human condition. For a very long time, it was held that women simply didn’t have the intelligence or wits to vote or hold public office. Their purpose was in the private sphere. That changed, and does anyone, at least in the developed world, feel that way now?

      For a very long time, homosexuality was criminalized, and punishable by imprisonment. In some countries it remains punishable by death, and even in the ‘developed’ world there are many people who still consider it an aberration and unnatural.

      Those people are every bit as wrong as the anti-suffragists were, and as more and more people come to realize that, laws have changed, and on occasion the use of language changes with them. If we now accept that there can also be the legal state of ‘husband and husband’ or ‘wife and wife’, the word ‘marriage’ encompasses those unions too.

      Suffice it to say the news from Maine and Maryland is very heartening. Here in New Zealand we have had civil unions open to gay and straight couples since 2005/6, with some political heel-dragging on the gay-marriage front, not because of any vociferous opposition but just a duffer of a PM. Now, finally, there is a private member’s bill before Parliament, and every indication that it will pass.

  17. tabby says:

    Sorry but I just don’t agree with same sex marriage.

  18. Aubra says:

    I live in DC now, but I was raised in Maryland and I have freinds there who are gay…I am so happy for them!

  19. jamminatorr says:

    I am happy that the US is making strides in this area. I’ve always been confused about the fact that the US bills itself as an individual freedoms type republic but also morally polices things like gay rights. A great politician in Canada once said: “The state has no place in the bedrooms of a nation.” I strongly connect with this. Canada legalized gay marriage in the early 2000′s its about time you guys start catching up!

  20. lizzi says:

    I voted for this! YAY!!! So proud to be a Marylander!

  21. HoustonGrl says:

    Those photos made me want to cry. I am so proud of my country, and just generally happy that a) Obama got re-elected, and b) the tide is moving farther and farther away from an angry, hateful ideology. Just a few more dozen states to go!

  22. Cathy says:

    I don’t understand what peoples problem with this is. The marriage affects nobody but them. It doesn’t affect you or me, just them. If two people are in love and want to get married, that’s their business, not mine.

  23. valleymiss says:

    Pathetic that we can’t get gay marriage legalized in California. The sanctity of straight marriage has been stomped on by Kim Kardashian’s 79 day marriage. Can we please get this legalized?

  24. Tiffany says:

    I am happy to read this. It always boiled my blood when basic human rights are taken from people. It seems that we are to be law abiding citizens but with stipulations. As a heterosexual I can marry and divorce as many times as I want and see my spouse in the hospital as often as I want and make quality of life decision. So gay people, cannot. I just do not see the logic.

  25. Vivian says:

    Terminology is important because it conveys a specific meaning. If the word marriage and partnership had the same meaning, especially in legal definition, then this wouldn’t be an issue. Way to go to States upholding basic human rights and equality to all.

  26. Tina says:

    Congrats on this (and on the President, yey)! I think it’s so strange that same sex marriage still is banned in several states. I support this fight with all my heart.

  27. apsutter says:

    This makes me so incredibly happy!! I support this and will advocate for LGBT’s until the day I die. Sadly, we still have a looooong way to go in this country. Gays still aren’t covered by anti-discrimination which means they could lose their jobs over their sexual orientation depending upon where they live. And that is just not right!!

  28. BeesKnees says:

    I’m soooo proud to be a Marylander today!! I walked past all the “Protect Equal Marriage, Vote No on Question 6″ signs in front of where I voted (there were only two vote yes signs!) and happily voted yes to question 6. Now many of my friends and family can have their loving, valid relationships recognized. Most people haven’t said anything negative about it passing yet though; they are mostly bitching about the Dream Act passing which is a totally different subject altogether!

  29. Natasha says:

    Never been prouder to be a Mainer! The campaign to achieve this was amazing and the ads they put on tv for equal rights were wonderful, no bashing or mudslinging, just every day people discussing why they believed that all people should be allowed to get married.

  30. G. says:

    I’m from Minnesota, and I can be proud of my state again. Thank god my fellow Minnesotans respect my right to be able to express love for whomever I choose to marry.

  31. MissyA says:

    So amazing! Sincere thanks to everyone who supported this measure. So proud to see the tide turning.

  32. Jayna says:

    First openly gay woman elected to Senate. Open-mindedness is happening. Maybe one day those closeted family man Republicans can come out in their party or religion.

  33. Nancy says:

    they should have the right to be miserable like the rest of us.

    • Victoria says:

      Hahahaha I feel the same way. Everyone’s got the right to be miserable or happy.
      What kills me is the republican ideology “I don’t want big government telling me what to do” but yet they deny people certain rights? They certainly have no problem knocking on bedroom doors, so to speak. Um, please explain yourself.

  34. SarahStiletto says:

    While I’m deeply disgusted by the idea that the happiness and equal treatment of fellow human beings could even be up for a vote, I’m happy that the people of Washington ended up making the right choice and proving that my home state is a great state!

  35. Leen says:

    I’m happy this passed! I still can’t get my head around opposing gay marriage. I mean even if you didn’t agree with it, why do people care if two people of the same sex got married? Does it in any way affect your life? Even religiously, isn’t judgement up to God and not us?
    Sorry, I can’t wrap my head around why people would willingly vote against gay marriage.

  36. eileen says:

    I hate to sound ignorant, but WHY isn’t gay rights a national level law? Why does every state have to vote on it? It infuriates me that people’s LIVES are being voted on along with state level issues. This isn’t a state issue its a national issue and its embarrassing that its even up for debate.

    • fabgrrl says:

      Probably because marriage is, generally, a state issue. There are different laws state to state: marriageable age, consanguinity, etc. Remember, interracial marriage was legal in some states, illegal in others.

    • Suze says:

      Yep, like education, marriage is governed on a state level.

      And I for one am thankful for it because if we had to wait for this to be voted in on a federal level we’d be lightyears behind the issue. At least on the state level we can make some damn progress.

      • Suze says:

        Honestly, I can tell you how happy this makes me. I’m old compared to most of you and I can remember when homosexual sex was illegal in some places. I am so happy I have lived long enough to see this enormous change, and I hope to live long enough to see it legal in every state.

  37. I Choose Me says:

    Yay! I hope one day it will be legal everywhere in America.

  38. babythastarsshinebrite says:

    Onward and Upward!

  39. phlyfiremama says:

    A great day indeed!!! Definitely the ideal beginning point of the paradigm shift that has so desperately needed to take place. I am so encouraged by the radically forward thinking steps our country took last night~Such a bright, sustainable future to look forward to.

  40. LeeLoo says:

    Washington called it 15 minutes ago! R-74 passed!!! I’m damn proud of my state. We got weed and marriage equality.

  41. Jennifer says:

    Weed, same sex marriage — wow what’s next fornicate in public? Why not, let them be free!!!

    Just not sure how to explain that to the kids!

    • LeeLoo says:

      Explain it to the kids honestly according to your values system? I don’t really care if one is morally opposed to these issues for personal or religious reasons but what I do believe in is that everyone should be allowed to make their own choices in regards to these issues without any interference from those who disagree.

      Jennifer, I don’t think this will have as big of a negative impact on America’s youth. Personally, I think legalizing marijuana will HELP America’s kids as it will eventually become more and more difficult for kids to get access to pot.

      As for same-sex marriage, I’ve always said it, it’s not my business to get involved in the love lives of others. If two consenting adults decide to be in love with one another, why should they get less legal rights if they are of the same sex than two people who are of opposite sex.

    • INeedANap says:

      I’m going to paraphrase Louis CK here: “Two men are IN LOVE and they can’t get married because you don’t want to talk to your stupid kids for five minutes?!”

    • videli says:

      Nobody’s going to fornicate in public, don’t worry. You might see a lot of same-sex couples holding hands probably. And I pity your child if she or he turns out to be gay. I’m a solidly employed, rather industrious progressive, BTW.

    • Kate (newer one) says:

      Kids tend not to be homophobic or racist unless raised that way. You explain that people who love one another want to take on lifelong commitments and that’s a very important choice, and very special, and that’s why we celebrate weddings. Kids understand love very well. I don’t tend to explain the mechanics of sex lives when explaining straight weddings to my child, either, though of course parenting differs so your mileage may vary.

      And you explain that drugs (including alcohol and tobacco) can be very bad for you, but people like using them and so baddies can sell them illegally for lots of money, so sometimes it’s better to sell them legally, controlled, and just to grownups. Mention of Prohibition is handy there.

      I’m at a loss as to why you are mentioning exhibitionism, so can’t really comment on that apparent non sequiteur, sorry.

      • sauvage says:

        Kate, I love how you wrote “Children understand love very well.”

        A little family anecdote: One day my brother asked our grandmother who cooked for his father, who lived alone. My grandma told my brother that his father was cooking for himself. My brother asked: “Uh, so men cook, too?”. My grandma told him, yes, men cook, too indeed.

        My brother turned out to be a great cook.

      • Jennifer says:

        No, kids are not homophobic but they do believe marriage is between one man and one woman. My 4 year old will tell me (and I have never ever discussed this with him) that only a man can marry a woman and two men cannot marry each other. He goes to an extremely liberal preschool so he, at 4, came up with this on his own. It’s interesting — somehow society is changing our moral beliefs as we mature.

        You should not worry though — soon enough weed will be legal, maybe hard core street drugs too – who knows. The US is getting more and more liberal. Conservative, church-going people will soon be out numbered – you guys win!!

      • Kate (newer one) says:

        I’m not American, Jennifer, so that is another mistaken belief on your part.

        Kids form their ideas on the world around them from those they meet. My 4 year old has been to 2 gay weddings and 6 straight ones, so he doesn’t share your own child’s preconceptions. (Though he does think a guy comes down the chimney every Christmas – as I say, kids tend to accept the world the adults around them create, at that age at least).

        My cousin is married to another woman. They have a lovely baby. They both work in fields where they are making the world a better place for others and they are great parents – as are many straight people I know. Frankly, I find it a bit odd that anyone would want to dictate the lives of others, when those others are doing nobody any harm. And my cousin and her wife, incidentally, are not atheists – they had a Church blessing of their union and their baby is baptised.

        My main belief is that a bit more kindness and a bit less anger at difference would make the world a happier place. And I don’t know what version of the New Testament you’re reading, but mine has rather more to say about the immorality of riches and of judging others than it does gay people.

        Finally, I used to work in a homelessness shelter and I currently volunteer for a charity that helps sex workers get off drugs, out of the clutches of the pimps and into worthwhile lives. I know precisely what harm drugs can do. I just don’t think prohibition works – in fact I think it does the reverse. I think tight licensing and strict enforcement of legalised trade, with taxes used to help people stop and massive campaigns explaining the harm, would work better. Apart from anything else, why should a child in Begota be butchered, just so a yuppy in Manhattan can get their hands on their Brazilian marching powder? I want the criminals out of the supply chain, top to bottom, and access to the stuff regulated tightly. That’s the debate – not a bunch of space cadets who want to smoke their lungs into crispy perfection.

      • Aotearovian says:

        @Jennifer: “The US is getting more and more liberal. Conservative, church-going people will soon be out numbered – you guys win!!”

        If what you predict means the end of rape philosophers like Akin and Mourdock, hallelujah!

      • videli says:

        Conservatives and church-going people are already outnumbered by: non-conservatives; non-church-going people; and a combination of the two.

    • Issa says:

      Maybe you shouldn’t explain it to them, they can explain it to you.

    • Djinn says:

      Wow. How often do you explain heterosexuality to your children? How hard is it to say “those two men are getting married because they love each other very much, just like Mummy and Daddy”. Do you really think any child will be traumatized by that? Do you tnk children even notice?

  42. Janet says:

    I have to laugh at all the doom-and-gloom pessimists who predicted black voters would abandon Obama en masse because he supported gay marriage rights. Lots of black people are religious conservatives who don’t support gay marriage personally, but they don’t make it an election issue.

    As for the tired canard that allowing gay marriage will threaten the sanctity of marriage in general, if two people of the same sex getting married is a threat to your marriage, then your marriage is doomed to fail anyway.

    • Seagulls says:

      I don’t agree with any of the anti-gay marriage arguments, but this is the one that really stumps me. How is my marriage jeopardized because Sandra and Kate get married to each other? My hub and I are very much in love and we have a good foundation. Two gay people marrying does not shake the roots of my marriage.

  43. Genevieve says:

    I just wish it was legal in California already. I wanna have a wedding!!!

  44. Djinn says:

    I hope my fellow Australians are taking note. We are officially MORE BACKWARD than the nation that brought us Fred Phelps, Glenn Beck & “legitimate rape”. We don’t even have that many religious people full stop let alone the fringe dwelling fundie nuts who oppose gay marriage. Why are we being held back by a tiny tiny tiny (but very tantrumy & loud) bigot lobby?

  45. Jennifer says:

    VATICAN CITY, March 9 (Reuters) – Pope Benedict on Friday denounced the “powerful political and cultural currents” seeking to legalise gay marriage in the United States, where Maryland has just become the eighth state to allow it.

    The pope’s latest comments in opposition to homosexual marriage came in an address to bishops from several Midwestern states on a regular visit to the Vatican.

    “Sexual differences cannot be dismissed as irrelevant to the definition of marriage,” he said.

    He added that the traditional family and marriage had to be “defended from every possible misrepresentation of their true nature” because, he said, whatever injured families injured society.

    “In this regard, particular mention must be made of the powerful political and cultural currents seeking to alter the legal definition of marriage (in the United States),” he added in a clear reference to gay marriage.

    Last week Maryland legalised same-sex marriage.

    Massachusetts, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, New York and the District of Columbia currently allow gay and lesbian weddings.

    Washington State will join the list in June unless opponents stop it ahead of a possible referendum, and Maryland will be added in January 2013 unless its law, too, is overturned by a threatened referendum in November.

    Benedict called on American bishops to continue their “defence of marriage as a natural institution consisting of a specific communion of persons, essentially rooted in the complementarity of the sexes and oriented to procreation”.

    The Vatican and Catholic officials around the world have protested against moves to legalise gay marriage in Europe and other developed parts of the world.

    • Jack says:

      Excuse me but who cares what pope says? He is just a glorified human.

      Probably people wouldve given him time of day in medieval times when people thought that doctors and scientists were witches and wizards.

      Wake Up! Hello 21st Century bye bye 10 AD.

  46. Fancy says:

    Please, whomever made that lolcats sign, have it made into framed posters and lawn signs, I’ll be your first customer. Best one I’ve ever seen.

  47. Jack says:

    I am so proud Of Washington! Some of my friends live there and Now they can get married and receive benefits they have been long denied!

    Next hope to see that evil DOMA repealed ASAP and get same sex couples marriage rights at federal level! :)