It’s close, still too close to call for sure definite, but it’s going the right way so…I’m optimistic. Referendum 74 legalizing same-sex marriage in Washington state is currently at 52-48 in favor.
Election parties in Seattle spilled out into the streets in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, where police closed off several blocks for an outdoor election celebration of President Barack Obama’s re-election, and where more than 1,000 people were dancing and chanting “74, 74, 74.”
The measure was losing in 31 of the state’s 39 counties. But it had its strongest lead – 65 percent of the vote – in King County, the state’s largest county and home to Seattle.
State Sen. Ed Murray, a Democratic gay lawmaker from Seattle who sponsored the marriage law that passed the Legislature, said he felt confident that Washington state’s numbers would hold.
“We’re almost there, and we should celebrate,” he said.
Meanwhile, Maine’s measure passed Tuesday night with 54 percent of the vote. The measure that passed in Maryland matched Washington state’s lead of 52-48 percent. In Minnesota, voters rejected a proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage in their state. Gay marriage remains illegal under Minnesota state law.
Legalization could help bring in hundreds of millions of dollars a year in pot taxes, reduce small-time pot-related arrests and give supporters a chance to show whether decriminalization is a viable strategy in the war on drugs.
The sales won’t start until state officials make rules to govern the legal weed industry.