In a ballot initiative Tuesday, Maryland residents voted to legalize same-sex marriage starting next year.
The vote on Maryland's Question Six marked the first time voters decided by referendum to approve gay marriage. Other states that have legalized gay marriage have done so through state legislatures and the courts.
In March, Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) signed a gay marriage law, but it was put on hold after opponents gathered enough signatures to force a public vote.
Speaking to a crowd Tuesday night, O'Malley said the campaign is a "noble battle to move Maryland forward."
"We always move forward," he added.
Quoting Frederick Douglass, O'Malley said, "We are one, our cause is one
and we must help each other to succeed."
The text of Question Six read:
Establishes that Maryland’s civil marriage laws allow gay and lesbian couples to obtain a civil marriage license, provided they are not otherwise prohibited from marrying; protects clergy from having to perform any particular marriage ceremony in violation of their religious beliefs; affirms that each religious faith has exclusive control over its own theological doctrine regarding who may marry within that faith; and provides that religious organizations and certain related entities are not required to provide goods, services, or benefits to an individual related to the celebration or promotion of marriage in violation of their religious beliefs.