Gay Marriage on Election Day

It’s an election day and there are several important issues on the ballots in states across the country, particularly when it comes to gay marriage. Today the state of Maine will vote on gay marriage, and if it wins (e.g. if Question #1 on the state’s ballot is rejected), it would be the first time that voters in the Untied States would approve same-sexy marriage. Public opinion surveys in Maine show a virtual dead head on the Question 1, which would cancel the marriage statute that passed the legislature in may and was signed by Gov. John E. Baldacci (D).

In Washington state, Referendum 71 is asking voters to approve or reject a bill passed by the Legislature and signed by the governor this past spring that would extend to same-sex couples scores of rights currently reserved for married spouses, including ensuring extended work leave for people with critically ill partners and preserving pension benefits for the surviving partner in the event of the other’s death. This week, the Washington Poll, released through the University of Washington, found even stronger support for this law, essentially an “everything but marriage” law, with a 56-39 lead, with 5 percent still undecided.

There are also important races as several states elect governors today. A bit closer to home, in New Jersey, voters will elect a governor, and the Human Rights Campaign has officially endorsed Governor Jon Corzine for reelection based on his strong support for LGBT equality, including his repeated pledges to sign a marriage equality bill that could still be passed by legislators later this year. Likewise Virginia voters will choose a new governor and have a chance to send more fair-minded lawmakers to the state’s House of Delegates in Richmond. Building on Human Rights Campaign’s work in 2007 helping to elect a more fair-minded state senate majority, the organization has endorsed Creigh Deeds for governor.

We will be keeping an eye out on these races, particularly in Maine and in Washington. If you haven’t done so already, make sure to get out and vote in your state today.