UPDATE: Gay marriage on ballot in four states Tuesday

Updated
Photo: AP/Robert F. Bukaty
Photo: AP/Robert F. Bukaty
Robert F. Bukaty

Same-sex marriage initiatives will appear on ballots in four states on Nov. 6. Since 1998, no state has approved any of the ballot initiatives about same-sex marriage, but this year could be the first time voters change that.

Advocates for same-sex marriage in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington have received national support as voters prepare to decide the fate of the states’ same-sex marriage initiatives—from President Obama to California residents still fighting Proposition 8.

Here’s a look at what each state will be voting on, and where public opinion currently stands:

Maine: Question 1

The Maine legislature approved a bill to allow same-sex marriage in the state in 2009, but the law was overturned by voters before it went into effect that year. In January 2012, same-sex marriage supporters successfully submitted a petition to add same-sex marriage to the state’s ballot in November. So 2012 will mark the second time in four years that residents of Maine will vote on same-sex marriage.

The PAC supporting same-sex marriage in Maine raised nearly $1 million in the month of October.

A September PPP poll shows supporters of the initiative with a narrow edge over those who oppose legalizing same-sex marriage, 52% to 44%.

Maryland: Question 6

The Maryland House and Senate approved the Civil Marriage Protection Act in February, and it was signed on March 1 by Gov. Martin O’Malley. In July, the Maryland Marriage Alliance submitted over 100,000 signatures challenging the law and earning it a place on the ballot.

Maryland was the first state in the country to statutorily ban same-sex marriage under Section 2-201 of the Maryland Family Law Code in 1973. If voters approve the referendum in Maryland, whose polls close ahead of the other states voting on same-sex marriage initiatives, the Old Line State would become the first state where voters have approved same-sex marriage.

The most recent Washington Post poll found the majority of Maryland voters are in favor of upholding the state’s same-sex marriage law, 52% to 43%.

Minnesota: Amendment 1

Voters in Minnesota will be asked to vote on a constitutional amendment that would define marriage as being between one man and one woman. Minnesota currently does not recognize same-sex marriages, but passage of Amendment 1 would reinforce the ban by amending the state’s constitution. If passed, Minnesota would become the 32nd state in the country to have done so.

Supporters of Amendment 1 include former presidential hopeful Rep. Michele Bachmann, and groups such as the Minnesota Family Council and the National Organization for Marriage.

One of the most outspoken advocates in favor of same-sex marriage is Minnesota Vikings’ punter Chris Kluwe, who has been stumping at anti-Amendment 1 rallies ahead of the election.

An October PPP poll shows Amendment 1 losing support among Minnesota voters. In September, voters said they would pass the amendment, 48-47, but the new poll shows now 46% of voters plan to support it, while 49% are opposed.

Washington: Referendum 74

Washington became the seventh state in the country to pass a law to legalize same-sex marriage. Gov. Christine Gregoire signed the law in February, and was quickly challenged by the conservative group Preserve Marriage Washington. The group submitted a petition with more than 200,000 signatures to put the law to vote on Nov. 6.

If Referendum 74 passes, same-sex marriage in Washington will become legal in December.

The campaign to approve R-74 has received support and donations from high-profile figures, such as Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos. Former Washington Gov. Dan Evans (R) also endorsed the referendum.

A recent local poll showed that the majority of voters in Washington support marriage equality, 55% to 40%.

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UPDATE: Gay marriage on ballot in four states Tuesday

Updated