In a resounding, coast-to-coast rejection of gay marriage, voters in 11 states approved constitutional amendments Tuesday limiting marriage to one man and one woman.
The amendments won, often by huge margins, in Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Ohio, Utah and Oregon -- the one state where gay-rights advocates hoped to prevail. The bans won by a 3-to-1 margin in Kentucky, Georgia and Arkansas, 3-to-2 in Ohio and 6-to-1 in Mississippi.
"This issue does not deeply divide America," said conservative activist Gary Bauer. "The country overwhelmingly rejects same-sex marriage, and our hope is that both politicians and activist judges will read these results and take them to heart."
Gay rights leaders were dismayed by the results but declared that their struggle for marriage equality would continue unabated.
"Fundamental human rights should never be put up for a popular vote," said Matt Foreman of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. "We'll win some states and we'll lose some states, but eventually the Supreme Court is going to look at the Bill of Rights and isn't going to give a damn what's in any of these state constitutions."
Conservatives had expected for weeks that the amendments would prevail in at least 10 of the states, thus demonstrating widespread public disapproval of the Massachusetts court ruling a year ago that legalized gay marriage there. National and local gay-rights groups campaigned vigorously in Oregon, where polls had showed a close race, but they failed to prevent a sweep.
None of the 11 states allow gay marriage now, though officials in Portland, Ore., married more than 2,900 same-sex couples last year before a judge halted the practice.