On Thursday, President Obama endorsed the marriage equality ballot measures in Maine, Maryland and Washington.
‘‘While the President does not weigh in on every single ballot measure in every state, the President believes in treating everyone fairly and equally, with dignity and respect,’’ said Paul Bell, the Obama campaign’s press secretary in Washington State. “Washington’s same-sex marriage law would treat all Washington couples equally, and that is why the president supports a vote to approve Referendum 74.’’
In Maine, marriage equality advocates are hoping to reverse a 2009 referendum in which voters rejected a same-sex marriage law passed by the legislature. In Maryland and Washington, gay marriage legislation was passed and signed into law by the governors earlier this year, but opponents collected enough signatures to hold referendums on whether the laws should be upheld or rejected. Minnesota, the fourth state where gay marriage is being put to a popular vote, has an amendment effectively banning gay marriage on the ballot.
‘‘When I first began fighting in the legislature for marriage equality,” said Ed Murray, an openly gay in Washington’s state senate, “I would never have dared to dream that a president of the United States would one day step forward at this crucial moment, in the middle of his own close re-election campaign, to offer his support for our efforts. But that is exactly what President Obama has done, and it is an example of his courage and leadership.’’