Dems win 2 governor's offices
Texans voted to approve a ban against same-sex marriages.
Democrats swept both governors' races Tuesday, with Sen. Jon Corzine easily winning New Jersey and Lt. Gov. Tim Kaine taking Virginia despite a last-minute campaign push for his opponent from President Bush.
Republican Mayor Mike Bloomberg won a second term in a blowout Tuesday, easily defeating former Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer by drawing a wide majority of Democrats away from his opponent in this strongly left-leaning city.
Texas voters Tuesday overwhelmingly 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 by a wide margin.
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 about 76 percent support with about a third of precincts reporting.
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.
"Texans know that marriage is between a man and a woman, and children deserve both a mom and a dad. They don't need a PhD or a degree in anything else to teach them that," said Kelly Shackelford, a leader of Texans For Marriage, which favored the gay-marriage ban.
Gay-rights leaders were dismayed by the lopsided returns but vowed to continue a state-by-state battle for recognition of same-sex unions.
"The fight for fairness isn't over, and we won't give up," said Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign. "These amendments are part of a long-standing effort by the extreme right to eliminate any legal recognition for gay people and our families."
In a local Texas election, voters in White Settlement, named 160 years ago after white settlers moved into a mostly Indian area, emphatically rejected a proposal to change the town's name to West Settlement.
Some civic leaders felt the traditional name should be changed to lure business investment; more than 90 percent of voters disagreed.
Voting in New England
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 24 percent of the precincts reporting, 57 percent of voters were voting to keep the new law, which is broadly worded to protect transsexuals and transvestites as well as gays and lesbians.
The special election in California, called by Schwarzenegger, evolved into an unofficial referendum on his performance. Recent polls showed his popularity plummeting and suggested all four measures he pushed were headed for defeat.
The ballot items would cap state spending and give the governor greater authority to make budget cuts; make teachers work five years instead of two to pass probation; strip lawmakers of their power to carry out redistricting; and require public employee unions to get members' permission before their dues could be used for political purposes.
California voters also decided whether to require doctors to give a parent or guardian written notice before performing an abortion on a minor. More than 30 states have laws requiring parental notice or consent; recent polls indicated the California proposal would be defeated, but the contest was considered close.
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