Texas voters this week overwhelmingly approved a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, making their state the 19th to take that step.

The same-sex marriage contest in Texas was a landslide victory; near-complete returns showed the gay-marriage ban supported by about 76 percent of voters. Like every other state except Massachusetts, Texas didn’t permit same-sex marriages previously, but the constitutional amendment was touted as an extra guard against future court rulings.

“Texans know that marriage is between a man and a woman, and children deserve both a mom and a dad. They don’t need a Ph.D. or a degree in anything else to teach them that,” said Kelly Shackelford, a leader Texans For Marriage, which backed the ban.

Gay-rights leaders said they were dismayed, but not surprised, by the outcome. They vowed to continue a state-by-state battle for recognition of same-sex unions.

“The fight for fairness isn’t over, and we won’t give up,” said Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign. “These amendments are part of a long-standing effort by the extreme right to eliminate any legal recognition for gay people and our families.”

In more uplifting news for the gay community, Maine voters rejected a conservative-backed proposal to repeal the state’s new gay-rights law.

The measure was placed on the ballot by a church-backed conservative coalition that would have repealed a gay-rights law approved by lawmakers earlier this year.

Lawmakers also expanded the state’s human rights act to outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation, a step already taken by the five other New England states.

In near-complete returns, more than 55-percent of voters were opposing repeal of the new law, which is broadly worded to protect transsexuals as well as gays and lesbians.

“This is such a much-needed victory for our national community, because we’ve experienced so many losses,” said Matt Foreman, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. “We’ve got to press forward on nondiscrimination protection, and not let marriage continue to swamp the movement.”

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