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BREAKING NEWS: Maryland voters approve marriage equality

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Voters in Maryland narrowly voted in favor of marriage equality, supporting the decision earlier this year by state legislature and the governor to approve marriage for gay and lesbian couples, according to the Human Rights Campaign.

The vote for Question 6 was just over 50%, according to preliminary results.

Gov. O'Malley, who signed the legislation, tweeted:

A Victory for marriage in Maryland!

Tonight, we made history. We voted for dignity. We voted for marriage equality.

Equality Maryland tweeted:

We did it! Tonight Maryland affirmed its long standing values of fairness and equality. Tonight, we all won.

Maryland joins Maine in approving same-sex marriage tonight, the first two states to do so by the ballot box. Voters in Washington state are also expected to approve a similar measure, and voters in Minnesota are deciding whether to ban marriage equality in the state constitution.

Chad Griffin, HRC president, issued this statement:

“Today the marriage equality map expands to Maryland, giving thousands more loving couples the opportunity to make lifelong commitments through marriage. This is a milestone night for the simple truth that when Americans are presented with the real lives of their friends and neighbors, they have no choice but to vote for their equality. It is the momentum reflected in poll after poll that shows a growing majority for marriage equality across the country.

“This victory in Maryland has been hard fought from the legislative fight to a massive campaign operation and we are so proud to have been leaders alongside our state partners in this effort.

“Governor O’Malley has been a champion of this issue and deserves the appreciation of all fair-minded Americans. His leadership, along with groups like the NAACP, have shown that at the end of the day human dignity wins out and that in this country we can have no second-class citizens or second-class marriages.

“Marylanders for Marriage Equality should be proud of their historic win and it’s been an honor for HRC to have been a part of this fight since the beginning.”

Shawn Werner, director of political operations at Freedom to Marry and an adviser to the Maryland campaign, had this to say:

“Maryland’s voters agreed with their lawmakers, governor, and a majority of Americans nationwide: same-sex couples should not be denied the chance to make the ultimate commitment because of whom they love. We look forward to all the marriages we’ll celebrate in 2013, even as we turn our momentum into more victories across the country.”

Read SDGLN's story on Maine vote HERE.