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SAINT PAUL, Minn - Voters in Minnesota rejected a ballot measure late last night that would have created a state constitutional amendment denying same-sex couples the freedom to marry.
Additionally, voters in Maine and Maryland voted for measures granting same-sex couples the ability to marry, making this election the first in which voters approved marriage for same-sex couples through a ballot initiative.
Before this election, six states plus Washington, D.C. allowed same-sex couples to marry. Three other states recognize marriages of same-sex couples performed elsewhere, nine states have full domestic partnerships or civil unions and three more states have more limited domestic partnership registries.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota was a member of the Minnesotans United for All Families campaign that helped defeat the amendment.
"We are ecstatic that Minnesota has become the first state to defeat a freedom-limiting marriage amendment," said Charles Samuelson, executive director of the ACLU-MN. "We congratulate the people of Minnesota for standing up and doing what is right by voting down this discriminatory amendment."
"With this historic election, there can be no denying that this is a watershed moment for gay and lesbian families in America," said James Esseks, director of the ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Project. "Not long ago, marriage for same-sex couples was unimaginable. In a remarkably short time, we have seen courts start to rule in favor of the freedom to marry, then legislatures affirm it, and now the people vote for it as well. Today's election illustrates both the astonishing pace of change on this issue as well as America's commitment to fairness for everyone."