Controversial Issues Decided on Election Day

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Source: Brian Heddon, “‘LINK: For Vote,”, Oct. 9, 2012
On Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, residents in many states will vote on controversial issues including medical marijuana, gay marriage, physician-assisted suicide, and the death penalty.

Medical marijuana is on the ballot in Arkansas where voters will decide whether to make “the medical use of marijuana legal…[and] establish… a system for the cultivation, acquisition and distribution of marijuana for qualifying patients.” Massachusetts voters will consider similar legislation while Montana residents will vote on a veto of prior legalization. (Recreational use of marijuana is on the ballots in Washington, Oregon, and Colorado.) Marijuana would remain illegal under federal law.

Gay marriage will be put to a vote in four states: Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington. Maryland and Washington will vote to approve or strike down legislation allowing same-sex marriage. Maine voters will decide to keep or overturn a ban on gay marriage. And in Minnesota voters will decide on adding an amendment to their state constitution that would ban same-sex marriage but allow for civil unions.

Physician-assisted suicide (PAS) is on the ballot in Massachusetts. Voters will approve or reject the “Death with Dignity” initiative. If the measure is passed, Massachusetts would join Oregon, Washington, and Montana as the fourth state with legal PAS.

California voters will decide to end or keep the death penalty. The state currently allows the death penalty for first degree murder (with 20 special circumstances) and treason. has presented the presidential candidates’ views on medical marijuana, gay marriage, physician-assisted suicide, and the death penalty, along with a “Find Your Match” quiz to let readers compare their views with the candidates’ positions.