OLYMPIA, Wash. — Supporters of gay marriage in Washington state say they’re in a “very strong position,” with early returns showing voters narrowly approving same-sex marriage in the state, and voters passing similar measures in Maine and Maryland.

With about half of the expected ballots counted Tuesday night, Referendum 74 was passing with 52 percent of the vote.

The measure asked Washingtonians to approve or reject a state law legalizing same-sex marriage that lawmakers passed earlier this year. That law was signed by Gov. Chris Gregoire, but has been on hold pending the election’s outcome.

The referendum has its strongest lead in is the state’s largest county, King, where it’s winning 65 percent of the vote. King County is home to Seattle.

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