The election of Barack Obama may signal a brighter future for gay and lesbian Americans, but it seems marriage will still not be an option in at least two major states.

Ballot measures to ban gay marriage passed in Florida and Arizona.

With more than 90% of results in from Califorina, it appears that the four month window in which same-sex marriages were legal is to be closed. The race is too tight to call at this stage.

Voters in Arkansas approved a measure banning unmarried couples from serving as adoptive or foster parents – gay and lesbian people were the target of the campaign.

Jerry Cox, president of the Arkansas Family Council Action Committee, said the “homosexual agenda agenda uses children to advance the goals of special interest groups. Homosexuals in California, Connecticut, Washington, DC, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Vermont have successfully used adoptive or foster care children to advance their agenda.

“Activists in these states have already secured passage of laws that support adoption or foster care by homosexuals.”

It is unclear how the California result will affect the more than 18,000 gay and lesbian couples who remain legally married.

It is the first time a ban on same-sex marriage has been approved by voters in a state where such marriages are already legal.

In Florida, the question on the 2008 ballot called for an amendment to the state’s constitution regarding civil marriage:

“Inasmuch as marriage is the legal union of only one man and one woman as husband and wife, no other legal union that is treated as marriage or the substantial equivalent thereof shall be valid or recognised.”

Opponents say similar amendments in other states are being used to take away benefits from public employees and dissolve domestic partnership registries used to provide health care benefits and pensions.

Supporters say that it provides protections against judges “imposing” gay marriage as they did in California.

With 99% of votes counted, Amendment 2 has 62%, just 2% over the threshold needed to change the Florida state constitution.

In Arizona, a similar measure designed to stop activist judges from granting equality to all citizens was adopted in a statewide ballot.

30 states now have a definition of marriage written into their constitution.