Thanks America …

you go girls

Keep your fingers crossed, but it looks like yesterday was a great day here in the United States for the gay community. There were ballot measures in four different states dealing with same-sex marriage and supporters of gay marriage are leading in all four at the moment.

With 97% of the votes counted, voters in Maryland appear to have upheld the same-sex marriage legislation their state legislature approved earlier this year, 52% to 48%. In Maine, with 75% of the votes in, voters appear to have repealed a previous law banning same-sex marriage and passed a proposal to permit same-sex marriage in their state, 53% to 47%.

In the state of Minnesota, with 99% of the votes counted, voters appear to have narrowly defeated a measure that would have amended the state constitution to define marriage as a union of one man and one woman, 51% to 49%. While the state already has a law barring same-sex marriage, conservatives hoped to prevent a future Legislature or court decision from reversing it by enacting this constitutional amendment.

Finally, with over half the votes counted in the state of Washington , voters seem to be upholding the same-sex marriage legislation their state legislature approved earlier this year by a vote of 52% to 48%. However, final results are not expected until later this week because ballots were still being mailed in as late as Tuesday.

The vote margins in all four of these states are much too close. However, a win in all four will be historic. While six states and the District of Columbia have legalized same-sex marriage through court or legislative decisions, voters across the United States had rejected it more than 30 times in a row.

So, no matter how small they may be, these victories are a measure of progress and I would like to personally thank the voters in these four states for standing up for gay people.

It wasn’t easy. In the final week of the campaign, opponents of marriage rights, mainly financed by the National Organization for Marriage and the Roman Catholic Church, mounted a barrage of advertising and telephone appeals in all four. In some, Catholic bishops had ordered letters to be read from the pulpit denouncing same-sex marriage.

In other election news, voters in the state of Wisconsin elected Tammy Baldwin to the U.S. Senate. Baldwin will be the first openly gay Senator in America. You go girl! And while I continue to have issues with President Obama, his reelection last evening was good news for gay people as well.

We still have a long way to go, but things are looking up. Those who preach bigotry and hatred are on the losing side of history, and yesterday was definitely an important day for the LGBT community.

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4 thoughts on “Thanks America …

  1. Kit:

    I am a Canadian, but I suspect some of my misgivings about Obama are ones that you alluded to. Here are my reactions to last night’s outcomes.

    Amazing how the Electoral College votes make it look almost like a landslide for Obama when in fact it was very tight.

    Four years ago I went around singing “God Bless America”. Today when I saw Obama had won, I sighed with regret that he had been all talk and little substance for the past 4 years.

    Then I thought, “At least he isn’t Romney” who is plastic and has fewer real principles than Obama.

    But, ever the optimist, I think that perhaps Obama will finally show some balls and a consistent sense of direction and unleash a strategy that breaks through the gridlock and builds bridges to somewhere beneficial to the great majority who have not done well these past decades, while gaining the support of those who have done well. (Fat chance of that.)

    Obama and Romney have much in common. In particular they are both men who want to Be Something rather than men who want to Do Something. (Cf. Jean Monnet.)

    Best wishes,

    Dan

    1. I”m a little tired from staying up very late last night, then getting up early this morning and writing this post. So I’ll just add a couple of comments.

      First, we’re a pretty divided country. We’ve been that before, but the level of animosity in recent years has been quite high and I have my doubts that will change from what I’m hearing today.

      Second, Obama did accomplish a fair amount in my view, but whether some of the things he accomplished like health care and regulatory reform will end up having much effect remains to be seen. There are other things like the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and the reform of the student loan program that I could point to as well.

      But there are other issues, especially relating to civil liberties, where Obama has been a disaster and still others, like climate change and guns, where he has done virtually nothing (although it’s obvious that most American politicians are equally guilty in this regard).

      Finally, whether Obama will accomplish very much in a second term depends in part on how the Guardians of Plutocracy (GOP) react. Their initial reaction to Obama’s reelection is not encouraging, but only time will tell.

      One thing’s for sure. I’m glad the whole thing is over.

  2. Kit:

    Hi! I signed off on my message before addressing the key issue you raised: same-sex marriage.

    In Canada, same-sex marriage is virtually a non-issue since our Supreme Court legalized it in 2005. Even our Conservative federal government is not trying to undo this decision. One need only look to the government’s front benches and see that two of its strongest ministers are gay (unofficially, but generally known to be gay – it is not the practice in Canada to out people; they have to do it themselves). These ministers are unlikely to support retrograde action on this front. Moreover, social conservatives in Canada generally acknowledge that same-sex marriage has not led to the end of civilization as they know it. Even in Alberta where there are strong U.S. evangelical influences, the attitudes are no where near as hard as south of the border.

    For the United States, the solution may lie in the U.S. Supreme Court decision in “Citizens United” which recognized corporations as “persons”. American gays and lesbians and other GLBTQ are “persons”, aren’t they? If so, then they enjoy the same rights as corporations under the First Amendment. Therefore the freedom of expression applies to the freedom to call a civil gay union a marriage. But be ready: Given its composition, your Supreme Court might find that such marriages fall under “mergers and acquisitions”.

    Sorry, I have trouble taking your Supreme Court seriously any more.

    Best wishes,

    Dan

    1. That’s a novel interpretation of Citizens United, but I’m definitely open to “mergers and acquisitions” so feel free to merge and acquire whenever you’re in the mood 🙂

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