US states back pot, gay marriage

2012-11-07 09:20

Los Angeles - US states backed legalising marijuana for recreational use, allowed gay marriage and rejected a call to ban public funding for abortions, in a swathe of state-wide ballots on Tuesday.

The generally liberal moves were decided among more than 170 ballot initiatives and referendums held across the country, as it re-elected Democratic President Barack Obama for four more years.

Obama came out in favour of gay marriage months before the election which pitted him against Republican rival Mitt Romney, who insists that marriage should be reserved for a relationship between a man and a woman.

During his first four-year term Obama had also fulfilled a pledge to repeal the controversial Don't Ask Don't Tell (DADT) law banning openly gay servicemen and women from serving in the US military.

Three states voted on Tuesday to legalise same-sex marriage, including Maine - which voted in a referendum against it in 2009, but reversed that decision with 54% in favour to 46% against.

Washington state and Maryland also appeared set to approve the move, which had already been passed by state lawmakers. Both states voted 52-48% in favour, according to CNN projections based on partial results.

Light it up

Same-sex marriage is not federally recognised, but it was already legal in Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont and the District of Columbia. It is constitutionally banned in 31 states.

Meanwhile three states - Colorado, Washington and Oregon - voted on proposals to legalise marijuana including for recreational use, going further than a number of states which already allow it for medicinal purposes.

Colorado backed the move by 54% in favour to 46% against, and Washington by 55% to 45%, according to CNN citing partial results. Oregon rejected it by 56% to 44%, it said.

Florida voters meanwhile rejected a proposal to ban the use of public funds for abortion or for insurance coverage for the service, according to partial results.

Fifty-five percent of voters rejected Florida's so-called Amendment 6, with 45% in favour, according to NBC and CNN.

Abortion has long been a hugely divisive issue in America, with many Republicans fiercely opposed. During the campaign two Republican politicians made controversial comments which fuelled the debate.

Death penalty

In Missouri Republican candidate Todd Akin triggered a firestorm by suggesting that a women's body could shut down conception in cases of "legitimate rape".

Then more recently in a hotly contested Senate race in Indiana, Republican Richard Mourdock was criticised for suggesting that if a woman becomes pregnant from rape, it is "something that God intended to happen".

Both Akin and Mourdock were beaten in their respective poll races on Tuesday, according to US networks.

Other closely watched ballot races included two in California: One to force food companies to provide labels for genetically modified (GM) ingredients in their products, which appeared set for rejection.

A vote on banning the death penalty - replacing it with life in prison without parole - appeared set to be rejected with 56% against and 44% in favour, according to CNN with 25% of votes counted.

  • arne.verhoef - 2012-11-07 09:29

    I am so happy. Liberte toujours

      thando.gqabaza - 2012-11-07 09:41

      Liberals destroying the world as usual

      JevonMarshallJohnson - 2012-11-07 10:04

      Thando take your blinkers off and shed the indoctrination.

      andres.dewet - 2012-11-07 10:32

      Liberals are destroying the world indeed: Just look how desperate liberal countries like Germany are, in comparison to ultra-conservative nations like Iran. ;-)

      kyle.berry.90857 - 2012-11-07 14:17

      thats right thando, your type is out...liberals in!!!

      charlie.elford.5 - 2012-11-07 15:51

      Ja, thando. And Christians have made it such an Utopia...

      jonathancfarrell - 2012-11-08 13:24

      Could Obama also come be president of SA please!!!!!

  • AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-11-07 09:38

    . This is what makes the USA, such a great nation; The respect and protection of minorities !!!!!!

  • james.hurley.1401 - 2012-11-07 09:41

    Go Obama! Finally LGBTI people are obtaining the rights they should have obtained long ago.

      james.hurley.1401 - 2012-11-08 16:21

      To the thumbs down people - too bad that marriage equality passed in four states :) :) :) :) :)

  • jason.heineberg - 2012-11-07 09:48

    That awkward moment when more people accept weed than gay people.

      james.hurley.1401 - 2012-11-07 10:08

      It's changing though :) Obama's re-election is a massive step forwards for equal rights. One day I will be able to marry in almost any country on the earth.

  • wesley.bischoff - 2012-11-07 09:55

    And THAT is what democracy is. They PEOPLE decide, not government or law makers.

      wesley.bischoff - 2012-11-07 10:16


      irene.laskowskadebeer - 2012-11-07 10:45

      AGreed wesley. But lets not forget this is the same country where people must still petition to have gm foods labeled.... Would love to see how this pans out, big pharma vs ordinary man. Legalising weed will take a reasonable chunk out of big pharmas 600billion dollar revenue a year... A couple of the 'hippy' states might not matter, but they aint gonne be happy.

      irene.laskowskadebeer - 2012-11-07 10:46

      *Agreed- unintentional pun

      wesley.bischoff - 2012-11-07 11:04

      Tough sh*t, their profits are not the concern of the public. They make enough money as it is through cancer treatment.

  • adrian.tyler - 2012-11-07 10:03

    Great step in legalizing Mary Jane. The rest of the world should follow in their footsteps. It's embarrassing how they discriminate against gays though.

      Werewabbit - 2012-11-07 14:00

      My fear with the legalization of "Mary Jane" is this could imply that it is safe to consume and easy to manage. there are enough medical studies out there on the dangers of over use to convince anyone not to tolerate it- except for those that love it enough to ignore them

      mar.anson.9 - 2012-11-07 16:16

      @Warren same could be said of alcohol and tobacco, in fact they are both worse than marijuana.

  • JevonMarshallJohnson - 2012-11-07 10:03

    VICTORY #1 in the fight for legalization!! Way to go Colorado!! Opens the door for hemp production too! Great for the environment too.

      sachasea - 2012-11-07 13:55

      It's absurd that SA doesn't even seem close to jumping on the legalisation bandwagon yet. We South Africans should demand that the government give us a public referendum on dagga legalisation. I have no doubts that at least 60% of South Africans would support dagga being legalised and regulated if we were given the chance to vote on it like our American brothers and sisters.

  • Tawizee - 2012-11-07 10:07

    Pot legal? I'm relocating :-)

  • DuToitCoetzee - 2012-11-07 10:15

    No man!!!! You all got it wrong. It is their hope that by smoking "pot" they can lower their obesity. lol.

      letsallbefriendsdammit - 2012-11-07 10:46

      not with the munchies. McDonalds proposed this move!

      cleve.fletcher - 2012-11-07 12:17

      @william.botha.9: Ja... naughty man ha ha ha

      sachasea - 2012-11-07 13:58

      The latest research out of America actually suggests that people who use dagga are less likely to be obese than their non-dagga smoking counterparts.

  • brett.biljon - 2012-11-07 11:03

    ^ classic!!!

  • wdvilliers - 2012-11-07 11:33

    And the death penalty stays...

  • alanwilliamrobinson - 2012-11-07 14:07

    Good to see more people using their common sense , the costly and life destroying prohibition of this plant is outweighed by its legalization and regulation. Proven again and again in scientific studies to have positive health benefits , it should become an actual controlled substance in that it should be regulated. Prohibition is a lazy way of avoiding the much needed investment of time and energy , required to properly educate people about this versatile plant. The cultivation of cannabis for personal consumption should not carry a criminal penalty , that said it should be treated with the respect it deserves and enjoyed and or utilized responsibly.

  • malcolm.williams.144 - 2012-11-07 14:18


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