As you are following the returns for the Presidential election tomorrow night, don’t forget to keep your eye out for the results of gay marriage initiatives that are on the ballot in four states: Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington state. These votes are important because gay marriage has never survived a statewide vote anywhere in the country. In those states where gay marriage is legal, it happened through a state court ruling or through legislative action (as in New York). If even one of these measures succeeds on Tuesday, it will give an enormous victory to the gay marriage movement. Some speculate that the results of these state ballot initiatives will influence two Supreme Court decisions on gay marriage that the Court will be deciding this term (including the final word on California’s Proposition 8).
Gay marriage adovocates are feeling fairly confident about their chances in Maine and Maryland. Activists have outspent traditional marriage supporters 11-1, and one or both of these states may very well be the first to legalize same-sex marriage as a result of a majority vote. If it happens, that will be very significant for the fortunes of marriage in our country.