Same-sex marriage major issue for voters, lawmakers in US, around globe
Published: December 6, 2012
WASHINGTON (CNS) -- After a string of 32 straight referendum successes in states in defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman since 1998, supporters of the traditional definition of marriage saw defeat in three states at the polls this November. On Election Day Nov. 6, voters in Maryland, Maine and Washington -- albeit by slender margins -- approved of allowing same-sex marriage. In Minnesota, a referendum bid to define marriage as that between one man and one woman also failed. Voters' action does not make same-sex marriage legal, but they cleared the way for the Legislature or courts to move to permit such marriages. Maryland and Washington voters upheld a law passed earlier in the year, and Maine voters reversed the results of a statewide referendum in 2009. The votes bring the number of states permitting same-sex marriage to nine, plus the District of Columbia. Supporters of traditional marriage said they were heavily outspent by backers of same-sex marriage in each state. In response to the referendum outcome, Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of San Francisco, chairman of the U.S. bishops' Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, said it was a disappointing day for marriage and called for renewed efforts to strengthen and protect traditional marriage and family life. "The meaning of marriage ... cannot be redefined because it lies within our very nature," he said. Catholic teaching says that same-sex unions violate the authentic Christian understanding of marriage of being between one man and one woman. The legal definition of marriage in the nation's largest state, California, remained unsettled. A 2-1 majority of a three-member federal appeals court panel ruled in February that Proposition 8, a ban on same-sex marriages approved by voters in 2008, was unconstitutional because it violated the 14th Amendment guarantee of equal protection under law. In upholding a lower court ruling, the panel said a right once given -- as the state had prior to the vote -- could not be taken away.
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