Texas voters Tuesday overwhelming approved a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, making their state the 19th to take that step. In Maine, however, a proposal to repeal a new gay-rights law was trailing in early returns.
In California, voters had a chance to embolden or embarrass Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger as they considered four measures he promoted as part of a power struggle with legislators and public-employee unions.
The contest in Texas was decided quickly — the ban was receiving more than 74 percent of the votes in early returns. Like every other state except Massachusetts, Texas didn't permit same-sex marriages previously, but the constitutional amendment was touted as an extra guard against future court rulings.
The campaign had been enlivened over the past week because of a controversial tactic by the amendment's opponents, who argued in recorded phone calls to voters that the measure is so poorly worded that it could jeopardize traditional man-woman marriages. Amendment supporters denounced the effort as misleading.
In Maine, early returns indicated voters were spurning a measure placed on the ballot by a church-backed conservative coalition that would repeal a gay-rights law approved by lawmakers earlier this year. The lawmakers expanded the state's human rights act to outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation, a step already taken by the five other New England states.
With about 12 percent of the precincts reporting, 57 percent of the voters were voting against the repeal effort.