Washington: US gay rights advocates claimed a major victory Tuesday as voters in Maine and Maryland became the first to approve legalizing same-sex marriage, media reported.
"More people understand that this is a fundamental question of equality," the boston.com website quoted Alison Smith, a resident of Portland, Maine as saying after the results of the ballot issue were announced there.
Same-sex marriage is already legal in six US states and the capital, Washington, DC. But it was legalized there only through legislative or court actions and the decisions in Maine and Maryland marked the first time in the US that the issue was approved through a direct, popular vote.
It had been voted on in state measures 32 times before and was defeated every time.