Bishop Richard Malone of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland said in a statement today he is “deeply disappointed” that Mainers approved same-sex marriage in Tuesday’s election.

“I am deeply disappointed that a majority of Maine voters have redefined marriage from what we have understood it to be for millennia by civilizations and religions around the world,” he said. “I especially want to thank the Catholic faithful who did not abandon Catholic teachings on the nature of marriage.”

Maine was one of three states to approve gay-marriage at the ballot box Tuesday, along with Maryland and Washington, according to unofficial results. And in Minnesota, voters rejected an attempt to ban same-sex marriage, giving gay-marriage advocates a 4-0 record on Election Day.

“When the history books are written, 2012 will be remembered as the year when LGBT Americans won decisively at the ballot box,” the Human Rights Campaign said in a statement. “The dreams of millions of fair-minded Americans were realized as discrimination crumbled and equality prevailed.”

In Maine, with 75 percent of precincts reporting, Question 1 passed 53 percent to 47 percent. If that holds, that will be the same margin by which Mainers rejected gay marriage in 2009.

The wins at the ballot box on Tuesday in Maine, Maryland and Washington represent the first time in U.S. history that voters – not judges or a state legislature – have approved gay marriage. Maine is unique because it’s the first state in which gay advocates brought forward a ballot question for approval, bypassing state lawmakers and the courts.

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