Three in four voters in the US state of Texas have voted for a constitutional ban on gay marriage, in a move activists said demonstrated the tyranny of the majority.

But on the same day residents of Maine voted against an attempt to repeal a recently passed law outlawing anti-gay discrimination.

Texas already had an anti-gay marriage law, but supporters of the amendment approved on Tuesday (US time) said it provided protection from future court rulings, The Associated Press reported.

Texas became the 19th US state to constitutionally block same-sex marriage. Attempts to pass a national constitutional ban on gay marriage have so far failed.

Conservatives welcomed the Texas decision, but gay activists said it was profoundly wrong to put LGBT rights to a public ballot.

All that today’s results show is that it is profoundly wrong and profoundly un-American to put the rights of a small minority of Americans up for a popular vote, US National Gay and Lesbian Task Force executive director Matt Foreman said in a statement.

This is not democracy; this is tyranny of the majority. No one would tolerate this being done to any other minority, but it’s still open season on gay people.

Bitter division marked the lead-up to the Texas vote. The amendment’s supporters claimed gay marriage would harm children, and a small Ku Klux Klan contingent rallied for pro-family values, The Associated Press reported.

After the vote, Foreman called conservatives’ tactics reprehensible and distinctly un-Christian.

The truth is that this amendment will hurt tens of thousands of Texas families and their children, he said.

In Maine, however, the gay community was celebrating after more than half of the state’s voters expressed support for the pro-gay legislation passed earlier this year.

A religious coalition had proposed a ballot to repeal the law.

Today’s win proves that dogged, grassroots organising can overcome the lies and smears of anti-gay zealots, Foreman said.

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