By Ed Brock & Mike Davis
Jenny Lester stood in Mt. Zion High School's line for more than two hours because she believes strongly in "the marriage between a man and a woman."
A majority of Georgians shared her feeling as the state was one of seven that passed amendments to their state constitution defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman.
The amendments won easy approval, as expected, in Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Ohio. Exit polls showed the ban winning by 3-to-1 in Georgia and 3-to-2 in Ohio, while the Kentucky amendment had 65 percent support with most votes counted.
In Clayton County with 51 of 54 precincts counted, 50,531 people had voted for the amendment and 15,078 had voted against it.
In Henry County, with 33 of 34 precincts counted, 51,710 voted for it and 11,188 against it.
In Georgia, Ohio and Mississippi, gay-rights activists suggested they might mount court challenges of the newly approved amendments.
"I have been in a 17-year long relationship and there is still prejudice in Georgia," said one Clayton County man as he waited to vote Tuesday.
Out-going state Sen. Mike Crotts, who authored the amendment this year, was certain it would be challenged, but hopeful the vote would be upheld.
"I'm just glad for the people of Georgia that they got their voice heard instead of a judge," he said.
But supporters of the bans were jubilant.
"I've said all along that this crossed party lines, color lines and socio-economic lines," said Sadie Fields of the Georgia Christian Coalition. "The people in this state realized that we're talking about the future of our country here."
Conservatives hoped the amendments would prevail in all 11 states, sending a signal that the American public disapproved of gay marriage. National and local gay-rights groups campaigned vigorously in Oregon, where polls showed a close race, to try to prevent a sweep, but the initial results were dismaying.
Regionold Scott allowed that he was not against gay people, but is voting for the amendment because "marriage between them is wrong."
From Associated Press and staff reports.