Washington voters approve same-sex marriage

Voters in Washington have approved same-sex marriage, making it the third state in the nation to legalize gay marriage in Tuesday's general elections. Voters in Maine and Maryland also approved it.

With nearly 2.5 million votes counted in Washington state as of 10:29 p.m. Thursday, the same-sex measure was winning approval by more than 123,000 votes, ensuring its passage. The vote was 1,269,917 yes votes and 1,146,439 no votes.

Hours earlier Thusday, the head of the opposition group Preserve Marriage Washington conceded defeat, saying that it was clear Referendum 74, the same-sex measure, would be approved.

Referendum 74 supporters declared victory Wednesday and planned to gather at the Washington United for Marriage headquarters on Capitol Hill to celebrate the news.

Washington state Sen. Ed Murray, D-Seattle, a champion of gay marriage legislation, said, "For me personally, and for my partner of 21 years, Michael, this is a deeply emotional moment.  Like thousands of couples across this state, we now have the freedom to marry."