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WASHINGTON - It was confirmed today that voters in Washington approved a ballot measure today that would grant same-sex couples the freedom to marry and access to all of the state rights and obligations afforded to married couples.
Voters in Maine and Maryland also approved similar measures, making this election the first in which voters approved marriage for same-sex couples through a ballot initiative. Additionally, Minnesota voters rejected an amendment that would have denied same-sex couples the freedom to marry.
"The freedom to marry the person you love is so important to everyone in our society. Washington's voters have recognized that it's a matter of basic fairness that all loving, committed couples be able to marry legally, regardless of sexual orientation," said Jennifer Shaw, deputy director of the ACLU of Washington.
"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."
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.