Maine, Maryland, Washington

Yesterday my home state passed legislation granting same sex couples the right to marry.

I got the news as I was dropping my roommate off at the airport to catch a redeye home for the holidays, and it suddenly occurred to me that he’ll be going back to a very different state than the one I left eight years ago. Because for the first time in history, marriage equality was passed by popular vote, not a court ruling. Which is huge. It means that in order for the legislation to pass, a majority of my family, friends, neighbors, the people I grew up with all had to believe that marriage is a fundamental right that should be granted to all citizens.

All I can say is, eff yes.

And the most amazing part is that it wasn’t just Maine that made history last night. Maryland did too. And the outlook for Washington was pretty positive before I went to bed.

Shit is changing guys. Not fast enough, but faster than I ever thought I’d see. And closer to home than I ever expected. And I just hope this means we’re coming closer to being able to throw some national confetti one day soon.


Photo by me, from a wedding I photographed back home this summer


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  • Don’t forget Minnesota. I know ours was not a vote to approve same-sex marriage, but it was important that folks soundly rejected the attempt to add a “definition” of marriage to our constitution. That keeps us in the running to eventually approve same-sex marriage without needing to undo a constitutional amendment.

    • PAW

      I came here to say this. Ours may not have been a legalization, but we rejected the amendment, and I’m proud of us!

    • Emily

      Minnesota is the first state to defeat a constitutional amendment like this. Not the same, but a very big accomplishment.

    • EXACTLY. After never having supported gay marriage in a public vote before, it appears the cause went 4/4 last night.

      (Maddie, thanks for posting this. I just want to scream it from the roof tops. Instead, I’ve resorted to flitting around red North Idaho telling everyone…)

      • I am so, so proud of Minnesota. And of Wisconsin, who elected the nation’s first openly gay senator!

    • So proud of Minnesota! My bestie (who is gay) moved home to MN a few years ago and we were texting like crazy last night. I figure, at this rate, y’all can approve gay marriage in the next general election which is enough time for her to find a non-crazy person to love! It will be perfect timing!

  • Claire

    Yes, a tip of the hat to MN voters for defeating the anti-marriage equality constitutional amendment!

  • It seems like today was a huge shift in the political climate toward EVERYONE’s right to marry who they love. So happy!

  • Carly Rose

    I just wanted to point out that those states didn’t “grant” the right to marry– governments cannot grant rights. Our rights are “endowed by our Creator”. . . in other words, they are inherent in our existence. Governments can make it more challenging to be married by not allowing partners access to certain things like tax penalties or to be medical proxy.

    I would hate for anyone to think that their marriage is invalid because the government didn’t give them a piece of paper. APW knows better. Marriage isn’t about a piece of paper, it’s about much more.

    • Maddie

      No, of course that’s not my intended meaning. I wrote this post very late last night hopped up on adrenaline and hope. Of course we believe that all marriages are valid, whether they come with a piece of paper or not. But the government has been specifically holding that piece of paper back from a select group of people in our country (and in doing so, denying them the very important legal rights that go with that piece of paper), and I’m just so relieved and happy that a few states are starting to turn the tide.

    • I’m a bit confused, but I am not familiar with US legislation…it did seem to me that those States granted the legal right to marry, meaning that same sex marriages will, from now on, be legally valid in those states. Are you arguing that those legal rights were pre existent and that the new legislation was merely declarative and not constitutive of those rights and that, therefore, the states did not grant it but only recognized it?

      • Rachel

        Marcela, You are correct in your thinking. Same sex marriages will now be legally valid and recognized in those states – and they were not before. It is a big deal.
        Carly Rose wanted to make the (somewhat separate) point that even if same sex marriages weren’t recognized by the state as legal in the past – they were still valid in that couples made promises to each other, etc.
        I think we can all agree APW has cheered for all the awesome parts of same sex marriages in the past, and is simply excited that they are now legally recognized as well – with all the rights that come along with that.

        • Absolutely! I am a lawyer (from Argentina), so I got legally curious ;) It is BIG step and definitely one worth celebrating! May the national confetti arrive soon!

    • I think you’re confusing legal rights with human rights. Last night, the LEGAL right to marry was granted to people, backing up their human right to marry whomever they choose. The people of Maryland, Maine, and Washington DID grant rights last night. Now, the legal rights of same-sex couples will finally match the human rights so many of us have recognized for so long.

  • As a Maryland resident, may I just say… HELLS YES!

    • Yes, you may. And you should. Many, many times.

  • kyley

    Yayyayayayaya!!! I’m so very, very pleased and impressed and excited!

  • Parsley

    I’m just so grateful to the voters in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington. What an amazing day!

  • I have NEVER been more proud to be from Maine than I am this morning.

    Marking the “yes” arrow on my ballot last night in reply to the question, “Do you want to allow the State of Maine to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples?” was the most meaningful part of this entire election cycle for me, and I’m so thrilled that 53% of my fellow Maine residents agree that love is love and marriage is for all. Obviously, I wish it was 100% – but 53% will do for today. The rest of the understanding and acceptance and love and education, we can keep working on.

    • MDBethann

      I felt the EXACT same way when I checked that box in Maryland yesterday. I married my DH earlier this year and firmly believe that everyone should be able to have the same legal rights that my husband and I now enjoy. Maryland is not the state of my birth, but I moved here 15 years ago for college and have called it home for nearly the entire time. I am so incredibly proud to be a Marylander today!

  • Word!!! Congratulations Maryland and Maine and Minnesota!

  • Cassandra

    I am still so appalled that people would ever be in the position to vote on the rights of other human beings, but I am so very pleased that Maine, Maryland, Minnesota (and hopefully Washington!) got it right.

    • MDBethann

      Sadly, our country, as well as many others around the world, have throughout history denied rights to other human beings, whether through votes (i.e. slavery and later segregation in the US, apartheid in South Africa) or through declaration and fiat. For some strange reason that I cannot understand, there are people out there who fear that ensuring everyone has the same rights somehow diminishes their own exercise of those rights, which couldn’t be farther from the truth.

  • One More Sara

    I have spent a lot of summers in MD and have kind of adopted it as my second home state. I was SO INSANELY PROUD of Americans (and Marylanders in particular) when I woke up this morning!!! Totally wearing a cheesy USA shirt today too :)

  • For the first time in a while, I am encouraged by some election results. I hope this is the start of something good for other states. Way to go, Maine, Maryland, Washington and Minnesota!

  • Another Maryland native here beaming and oh-so-happy for MD, ME, WA & MN right now. Onward and forward!

  • YAY! So proud to be living in MN and to have voted no on the Marriage Amendment. Proud to have been born in Massachusetts and lived in New York. So proud of this country for moving clearly toward equality!

  • Faith in America: somewhat RESTORED

  • Amber

    I am so proud to be a Mainer today! Even though my partner and I have been ‘domestically partnered’ for 8 years now, the fact that we can now get legally married and have it recognized here is HUGE. It might not change our relationship intrinsically, but legally, one cannot downplay the importance of that piece of paper. While we don’t need others to approve of our relationships to make them more meaningful, the feeling of being ‘validated’ is pretty amazing and my heart is full of joy today. State by state, things are coming around, and it’s only a matter of time before marriage equality is federally recognized!

  • Elena

    As a Washington State resident – finally! :) I’m so proud our our hippy state!

  • Emily

    This takes a lot of the sting out of Amendment 1 passing in North Carolina. It’s nice to feel like there’s a light at the end of the tunnel!

  • Megs

    Yay for MD, ME, WA & MN!!

    But, a quick quibble–technically this was not “the first time in history, marriage equality was passed by popular vote, not a court ruling.” Gay marriage was legalized in New York by the popular vote of the legislature, not a court ruling. But it was the first time that marriage equality (at least in the US, as far as I’m aware) was passed by popular vote of the general population, so yay!

  • Diane

    As a proud Wisconsin native, I want to join in the shout-out to Tammy Baldwin in Wisconsin and to our Minnesota neighbors for voting down an attempt at an amendment restricting marriage.

    The weight of history is moving, my friends.

    • No, if only we could get rid of our own terrible marriage amendment. (Not looking likely with the neanderthals we’ve got running the place, but someday… Come on SCOTUS.)

  • I moved out of Maryland in July and was so sad that I would’t get to vote in support of marriage equality, but am so incredibly happy that it passed, along with the others (or was defeated in the case of MN). And I am very proud of my home state of Wisconsin for electing Tammy Baldwin. I loved seeing all of the other women elected to the Senate last night as well. Looks like the arc of the moral universe still does bend toward justice.

  • Meg

    YAY MAINE!!!!! I have never been so proud and happy to be a Maine-iac!

  • Exciting news indeed! Hope someday same sex partners can sponsor their partners for immigration too. I find it interesting that in New Zealand (where I am now) that same sex relationships are recognized with civil unions and have many of the same rights (even in regards to immigration matters). And they are trying to change the law to allow same sex couples to marry instead of just as civil union. I’m excited that some human rights seem to finally be moving forward =)

    • Lauren

      I am Australian and it’s the same here – whilst same sex couples unfortunately can’t marry yet, they do have legal rights similar to married couples, including being able to immigrate, and being protected by divorce laws in the case of a separation.

      That also applies to unmarried heterosexual couples. The legal difference between being married and co-habiting is negligible.

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