CNN -- Six months after gay and lesbian couples won the right to marry in Massachusetts, opponents of same-sex marriage struck back Tuesday, with voters in 11 states approving constitutional amendments codifying marriage as an exclusively heterosexual institution. The closest race came in Oregon, where gay rights groups concentrated much of their effort and money and thought they had the best chance of winning. In the remaining states, the amendments passed with 60 percent of the vote or more, with the margin at a whopping 86 percent in Mississippi. The push to amend state constitutions to ban same-sex marriage gained steam in May, after gay men and lesbians were granted the right to marry in Massachusetts, thanks to the state's Supreme Judicial Court, which ruled that laws restricting marriage to heterosexuals violated the state constitution. In the wake of that ruling, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom ordered his city clerk to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, saying the California constitution also did not allow such distinctions to be made.
Prior to the Supreme Court's decision in Obergefell v. Hodges , U. The Obergefell decision in June invalidated these state constitutional amendments insofar as they prevented same-sex couples from marrying, even though the actual text of these amendments remain written into the state constitutions. Thirty-one U. Of these, ten make only same-sex marriage unconstitutional; sixteen make both same-sex marriage and civil unions unconstitutional; two make same-sex marriage, civil unions, and other contracts unconstitutional; and one is unique. Hawaii's amendment is unique in that it does not make same-sex marriage unconstitutional; rather, it allows the state to limit marriage to opposite-sex couples.
List of U.S. state constitutional amendments banning same-sex unions by type
In an announcement fraught with social, legal and political implications, Mr. Bush urged Congress to act on the amendment quickly and send it on to the state legislatures. Quick action is essential, he said, to bring clarity to the law and protect husband-and-wife marriages from a few "activist judges. Kerry of Massachusetts, the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, called an attempt to find "a wedge issue to divide the American people.
Dan Balz writes in the Washington Post, as many reporters have this week,. In , Republicans used ballot initiatives barring same-sex marriage to spur turnout among their conservative voters. That strategy helped then-President George W. Bush win reelection. But did it?