Proponents of same-sex marriage and legalized marijuana use gained ground in ballot initiatives across the United States Tuesday. The northeastern state of Maine and the mid-Atlantic state of Maryland became the first two states to approve gay marriage through a popular vote.
Six U.S. states and Washington, D.C. allow gay marriage, but in their cases, legalization came through lawmakers or the courts. This is also the first popular vote on gay marriage since U.S. President Barack Obama announced his support for it earlier this year. Washington State is also voting on a gay marriage initiative, while Minnesota is voting on a constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage.
The states of Washington and Colorado approved legalizing the production, sale, and possession of marijuana for recreational use. But those approvals put the states at odds with the federal government which still outlaws the drug. And Maryland approved a landmark immigration initiative known as the DREAM Act, which will allow undocumented immigrants to receive in-state college tuition rates. In total, U.S. voters were weighing more than 170 ballot initiatives across the 50 U.S. states. Ballot initiatives generally get on the ballot when enough voters sign petitions to put them there.