From the ACLU:Rainbow Maine and Maryland Vote For Gay Marriage    History Is Made and Key Barrier Is Broken

Voters in Maryland approved a ballot measure today that would grant same-sex couples the freedom to marry and access to all of the state rights and obligations afforded to married couples.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland was a member of the coalition that supported the initiative. Voters in Maine also approved a similar measure, making this election the first in which voters approved marriage for same-sex couples through a ballot initiative.

“Today we joyously celebrate with the Maryland couples and families who will no longer be treated as legal strangers,” said Susan Goering, executive director of the ACLU of Maryland. “We also applaud Marylanders for affirming fairness and standing up for the right of same-sex couples to be treated equally under the law. The ACLU of Maryland is proud of our work on this issue over many years, and for the opportunity to partner with so many others around the state, and around the country, in rectifying an historic injustice.”

“With this historic election, there can be no denying that tonight is a watershed moment for gay and lesbian families in America,” said James Esseks, director of the ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Project. “Not long ago, marriage for same-sex couples was unimaginable. In a remarkably short time, we have seen courts start to rule in favor of the freedom to marry, then legislatures affirm it, and now the people vote for it as well. Today’s election illustrates both the astonishing pace of change on this issue as well as America’s commitment to fairness for everyone.”

From Freedom to Marry:

Maine today became the first state to approve the freedom to marry for same-sex couples through a majority vote on a ballot measure. Maine is expected to begin issuing marriage licenses in mid-December.

“Today, a majority in Maine voted in favor of loving and committed same-sex couples seeking the freedom to marry,” said Freedom to Marry National Campaign Director Marc Solomon. “Now the commitment gay and lesbian couples have made in life will be respected equally under the law, celebrated before their loved ones, and called what it is: marriage.”

“It’s hard to overstate the national significance of this vote,” Solomon continued. “For years, our opponents have argued that we could not win a majority vote at the ballot. Today, Maine voters proved them wrong, standing up for the Golden Rule and for freedom for all Mainers.”

The centerpiece of the three-year campaign was a robust field effort. Volunteers and organizers made more than a million telephone calls, knocked on nearly 300,000 doors, and had 275,000 one-on-one conversations with voters.

“We congratulate Mainers United for Marriage Campaign Director Matt McTighe for the extraordinary effort he has run, as well as all the coalition partners, and particularly Equality Maine and Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, for their steadfast commitment to this fight,” said Solomon.