Same-sex marriage victories go beyond Maine and Maryland


(Keesha Patterson of Fort Washington, Md., proposes marriage to her girlfriend, Rowan Ha, during the victory rally at President Obama's Chicago headquarters. (REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

Supporters of gay marriage succeeded Tuesday night not just on ballot referenda but in state legislatures. Maine and Maryland voted to legalize same-sex marriage, Washington state gay marriage advocates are confident their referendum will pass, and voters in Minnesota rejected a constitutional amendment banning the practice (though it is still illegal in the state). But on top of those victories come some other significant gains that could lead to new legislation in 2013. 

An Iowa judge running for reelection was targeted over his ruling in favor of gay marriage, but he kept his seat. Democrats held onto the Iowa Senate, blocking Republicans who hoped to pass a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. 

Democrats also regained control of the state legislature in Minnesota. With both chambers and the governorship, they will likely repeal the state's gay marriage ban -- exactly what conservatives hoped to prevent with the failed constitutional amendment. 

Colorado will have gay leaders in charge of both the House and the Senate in 2013, after winning the lower chamber Tuesday. Republicans defeated a civil unions bill in the state Senate this year; Democrats will have the power to pass it next year. 

Democrats say they have taken the state Senate in New York, where the National Organization for Marriage had targeted lawmakers who voted in gay marriage last year. (We may not know for sure who won here until later this week.) For Republicans who backed gay marriage in the state and lost conservative support, it was a mixed bag.

And, of course, Wisconsin elected the country's first openly gay U.S. senator, Tammy Baldwin. 

Rachel Weiner covers cops and courts in Arlington and Alexandria.
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Rachel Weiner | November 7, 2012