Gay marriage, marijuana highlight ballot measures

November 6th, 2012 by admin Leave a reply »

Lady Gaga and Brad Pitt have weighed in on one side, evangelist icon Billy Graham on the other as the four-state showdown over same-sex marriage reaches its Election Day conclusion with the potential for a historic breakthrough.

Until now, same-sex marriage has been rejected in all 32 states that have held popular votes on the issue. Gay-rights advocates believe they have a chance to break that streak as Maine, Maryland and Washington state vote on whether to legalize same-sex marriage, and Minnesota votes on whether to place a ban on gay marriage in the state constitution.

In all, there are 176 measures on the ballots in 38 states, according to the Initiative and Referendum Institute at the University of Southern California. Washington, Oregon and Colorado could become the first to legalize recreational use of marijuana; Massachusetts is considering whether to allow physician-assisted suicide; Californians have a chance to repeal the death penalty.

But no other issue has generated the star power or multistate intensity of the same-sex marriage measures.

In just the past week, Lady Gaga released a video backing same-sex marriage, while Pitt donated $100,000 to support the cause. On the other side, Graham, 93, took out newspaper ads asking voters to support “the biblical definition of marriage between a man and a woman.”

President Barack Obama also has entered the debate, endorsing the three gay-marriage measures and urging a “No” vote on the proposed ban in Minnesota.

Brian Brown of the National Organization for Marriage, which has spent more than $5.5 million in the

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