Obamacare, same-sex marriage and marijuana legalization dominated the hot-button ballot initiatives before voters in a number of states on Tuesday.

A key component of President Barack Obama's signature health care reform law is on the line in a numbers of states, where voters will decide whether to allow residents and businesses to avoid a requirement that they purchase health insurance for themselves or their employees.

The ballot initiatives in Alabama, Florida and Wyoming would amend state constitutions. Montana's initiative prohibits federal and state government from requiring people to purchase health insurance through imposing a penalty, tax, fee or fine on those who do not do so.

"These laws may promise more than they can deliver," said Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University Law School.

"What the laws certainly do is to give state officials more of a basis to go to court and challenge the national health care law."

Voters nationwide are deciding the outcome of nearly 180 ballot measures in 38 states. That's up from 159 in 2010, but down from 204 in 2008.

Same-sex marriage measures were before voters in Maryland, Minnesota and Washington, and in Maine voters were being asked to consider legalizing same-sex marriage.

Maryland voters were voting on a ballot initiative in support of same-sex marriage led by a slim margin, while in Maine there was an effort to repeal a law banning same-sex marriage.

In Colorado, Oregon and Washington, voters were deciding on statewide measures to legalize marijuana for recreational use, while voters in Arkansas, Massachusetts and Montana were voting on medical marijuana referendums.

Voters in Florida, meanwhile, were deciding whether to approve a constitutional amendment that bans the use of public funds for abortions. The measure requires 60% of the vote to pass under state law.

Groups have formed using names like "Nix Six" or "Vote no on 6" or websites carrying names like www.sayyesto6.com, referring to the initiative's ballot name: Amendment 6.

The "Say Yes to 6" website and effort are funded by the group Protect Florida Taxpayers and Parental Rights, which is primarily funded by a large collection of Catholic archdioceses across Florida, including Miami, St. Petersburg, Palm Beach and St. Augustine. The archdioceses have given more than $175,000.

Planned Parenthood spent $3.2 million on ads to defeat the measure in Florida during the week heading into the election.

Requirements and the process by which initiatives make it to the ballot differ from state to state. In many instances, ballot initiatives were introduced in states like California in the form of propositions to circumvent the legislative process, giving citizens direct access to lawmaking.

Some key ballot initiatives, compiled by Adam Levy and Robert Yoon, CNN Political Research:


Amendment 6: Obamacare

Voters were deciding whether to approve a measure that would amend the state constitution to prohibit individuals and businesses from being compelled to participate in any health care system.