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Gay Marriage and the 2012 ElectionGay marriage, a hotly debated and deeply emotionally-charged subject, has once again come to the forefront on election night. Depending on your definition of marriage, marriage equality, regardless of sexual preference, took a huge step forward last night. For the first time in American history, a ballot measure to legalize gay marriage passed by the popular vote in certain states. Previously, all 32 measures to legalize a form of gay marriage on state ballots were voted down. But last night Maryland, Maine, Minnesota, and Washington all passed measures supporting gay marriage, or repealed measures prohibiting it. Let’s see exactly what went into the voting.


Many times, although it is not talked about frequently, but the phrasing of the question on the ballot can swing some votes for or against. Language, as it so often is when it comes to politics and law, can make all the difference. Here’s how the measure was posed on the Maine ballot:

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

Maine’s measure was phrased pretty straight forward. Here’s how the vote reportedly came in. Maine voters reversed a 2009 referendum by a margin of 53 to 47 percent (with 75 percent of precincts reporting results). As of December 7, 2012, couples of the same sex can begin entering into legal marital unions in the state of Maine.


Maryland’s phrasing of the law was more intricate and complex than Maine’s:

“[The same-sex civil marriage referendum] 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.”

Maryland passed the measure by a reported margin of 52 to 48 percent, with 93% of the precincts votes having been counted by the morning after the election. As of January 1st, 2013, couples of the same sex can begin getting married. This law also retains the right of religious clergy to refuse marrying same-sex couples. Retaining or prohibiting the right to reject marrying a same-sex couple was a key clause to to get passed the measured passed in varying states.


Minnesota is a slightly more complicated scenario. A law was on the books, and still technically is, that bans gay marriage. The measure asked if Minnesota should define marriage as a union between one man and one woman.

“Shall the Minnesota Constitution be amended to provide that only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Minnesota?”

Passing by a very slim margin, Minnesota voted against this measure. However, as stated before, gay and lesbian marriage is not outlawed. There is still a law in Minnesota preventing gay couples from attaining marriage licenses, which requires action from legislators and the courts to change.


Washington’s question was similar to Maryland’s because it proposed a referendum to a previous bill while providing the option to clergy members not to perform same sex unions.

“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.”

As of Wednesday morning, voters were leaning towards legalizing gay marriage. With a margin of 52-48, and 61% of the precincts in, it looks like as of December 6, 2012, same-sex couples will have the right to enter into marriage in the state of Washington.

Same-sex marriage and the rights received by couples will continue to be a debated topic in years to come for sure. But of the trends from the last 5 years, it seems that legalizing gay marriage has and will continue to gain steam across our nation. One thing is for sure, where there is a marriage, there will be divorce, and t\with modern technology, today there is the online divorce option . This was more a vote on the principle of the freedom to choose, and the inherent rights of an individual to pursue their own version of happiness, regardless of personal disposition.

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