(CNN) - In a hotly contested ballot measure, voters in Maine said yes to same-sex marriage, CNN projects, becoming the first state to approve the freedom to marry for same-sex couples through a majority vote on a ballot measure. A number of states already allow gay marriage, but those laws were accomplished through court rulings or with the help of legislation.
One leading advocacy group, Freedom to Marry, said Maine is expected to begin issuing marriage licenses in mid-December.
Maine was one of four states with a same-sex marriage initiative.
"Now the commitment gay and lesbian couples have made in life will be respected equally under the law, celebrated before their loved ones, and called what it is: marriage," said Marc Solomon, Freedom to Marry National Campaign Director in a news release. "It's hard to overstate the national significance of this vote," he added.
(CNN) - Democratic incumbent Earl Ray Tomblin defeated Republican businessman Bill Maloney in a re-match to win a four-year term as West Virginia's governor.
Tomblin took office in late 2010 after his Democratic predecessor Joe Manchin resigned to take over the late Robert Byrd's U.S. Senate seat.
(CNN) - Voters on Election Day in Alabama said yes to amending the state constitution and thereby sending a strong symbolic message against the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, according to a CNN projection.
In saying yes to Amendment 6, voters chose to prohibit individuals and businesses from being compelled to participate in any health care system. The initiative is considered largely symbolic since Obamacare would still be available to people anyway.
(CNN) - Democrat Jay Nixon has become the first Missouri governor re-elected to a second term since 1996, CNN projects.
Nixon defeated Republican nominee businessman Dave Spence. A veteran campaigner with at least seven statewide races under his belt, Nixon had a solid lead over Spence for much of the past year.