Maine made history on Election Day, becoming the first state in the country to approve same-sex marriage by popular vote.

The Associated Press called the race around midnight, yet same-sex marriage opponents conceded closer to 1:30 a.m., according to the Portland Press Herald. The votes broke down 54 percent in favor of same-sex marriage, 46 percent opposed.

The victory was a promising one for supporters who watched the vote slip from their hands in 2009, when a law legalizing same-sex marriage in Maine was overturned 53 percent to 47 percent.

The Secretary of State’s Office now has 20 days to certify results, leaving Maine Governor Paul LePage with 10 days to approve them. The law needs to then go through a 30-day waiting period before it takes effect, but the Portland Press Herald speculates gay and lesbian couples could start marrying as early as January.

Voters in Maryland chose to legalize same-sex marriage, as well, and Washington is expected to follow suit. Due to the state’s mail-in voting system, a final tally might not come in for another two days, according to the Huffington Post, yet the projected numbers are looking to be in proponents’ favor. Minnesota was the only state to reject an amendment that would have defined marriage as a union only between a man and a woman.

Massachusetts became the first state to allow gay marriage in 2004, leading six other states and the District of Columbia to legalize it in years to follow. Despite the acceptance, however, 31 states still have constitutional amendments banning gay marriage.

Yet, as Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, told the Portland Press Herald after yesterday’s results poured in, “This is a landmark election for marriage equality and we will forever look back at this year as a critical turning point in the movement for full citizenship for LGBT people.”


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