Changes in state laws were being weighed by voters on Tuesday including labor rights, gay marriage, drug policy as well as a host of other contentious issues. In four states, voters were deciding on same-sex marriage. Many activists in the gay-rights movement believe the election could be a turning point in their hope for popular support. In Washington State, Maryland and Maine, ballot measures would make same-sex marriage legal. In Minnesota, voters are being asked if they want to prevent legislators from trying to approve such a bill by amending the constitution in the state limiting marriage to only opposite sex couples.
Washington D.C. and six states currently allow for same sex marriages, but change has only come through court decisions or by state legislatures. Thirty-eight states currently have laws or amendments to their constitutions that bar recognition of same-sex marriage. A statewide vote has never been won by same-sex marriage supporters.
Polls over the last couple of weeks leading up to today’s election have indicated all four states could approve the measure. However, activists for both sides said that polling numbers might be inflated through respondents who answer polls saying they support same sex marriage but then vote differently.
Michigan voters will consider whether or not to amend the constitution of the state to include guarantees for public sector employees to retain rights for collective bargaining.
Michigan was also voting on a measure to determine if the state could maintain emergency managers running cities that were budget strapped, which leaders of local unions oppose because the emergency manager has a right to override any contracts including those with the union.
In Montana, Massachusetts and Arkansas voters were deciding on the legalization of medical marijuana and in Washington, Oregon and Colorado voters were voting to determine if marijuana should be legalized for more general uses.