8 Nov 2012

Puerto Rico wants to become a state

3:22 pm on 8 November 2012

Voters in Puerto Rico have supported a non-binding referendum to become a full state of the United States.

The island is a US territory, whose citizens travel on US passports but do not have US voting rights.

President Barack Obama, who visited the island last year, has said he will respect the will of Puerto Ricans if there is a clear majority.

Any change would require approval by the US Congress, but the BBC reports no territory has ever been denied a petition for admission to the United States.

The referendum was the fourth such vote in 45 years. The others failed.

Among other issues put to voters on Tuesday were the legalising of marijuana and same-sex marriage.

Colorado and Washington State became the first states to approve the use and sale of marijuana for recreational purposes.

And voters in Maryland, Maine and Washington state approved same-sex marriage, marking the first time that marriage rights have been extended to same-sex couples by popular vote.