Voters in 10 states approved constitutional amendments Tuesday to ban same-sex marriage, in most cases by overwhelming margins. Opponents of the bans held out hope that Oregon, where results were not yet in, would buck the trend.
The amendments â€” on the ballots in 11 states â€” won easy approval in Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Ohio and Utah. The bans won by 3-to-1 margins in Kentucky and Georgia, 3-to-2 in Ohio, and 6-to-1 in Mississippi.
The Ohio measure, considered the broadest of the 11 because it barred any legal status that “intends to approximate marriage,” gathered equal support from men and women, blacks and whites.
In Georgia, Ohio and Mississippi, gay-rights activists were considering court challenges of the newly approved amendments. But supporters of the bans were jubilant.
“I’ve said all along that this crossed party lines, color lines and socio-economic lines,” said Sadie Fields of the Georgia Christian Coalition. “The people in this state realized that we’re talking about the future of our country here.”
Conservatives hoped the amendments would prevail in all 11 states, sending a signal that the American public disapproved of gay marriage. National and local gay-rights groups campaigned vigorously in Oregon, where polls showed a close race, to try to prevent a sweep, but the results â€” though expected â€” were dismaying.
“That certainly is disappointing news that many Kentucky voters would think it’s appropriate to write discrimination into our constitution,” said Beth Wilson of the American Civil Liberties Union (news – web sites) of Kentucky. “People get harmed when their relationships are not respected, and this means that relationships won’t be respected.”
None of the 11 states allow gay marriage now, though officials in Portland, Ore., married more than 3,000 same-sex couples last year before a judge halted the practice. Supporters of the amendments contend the measures are needed as an extra guard against state court rulings like the one in Massachusetts a year ago that legalized same-sex marriage there.
From the Associated Press.