October 9, 2012

Election 2012: Is Marriage Equality A Pipe Dream Or Finally Within Reach?

Public Opinion Polls Marriage Equality October 2012
Election 2012 - Marriage Equality public opinion polling in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington, October 2012.

Same-Sex Ballot Initiatives in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington

By Roy Steele

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts made history in November 2003, when the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts released their opinion in the Goodridge v. Department of Public Health case. The court found that state marriage law discriminated against LGBT residents, by banning same-sex marriage.
 

Subsequently, on May 16th 2004, in the city of Cambridge, Massachusetts, a large line began to form. The reason for the queue at Cambridge City Hall, was that at precisely 12:01am, Cambridge residents could file their Notices of Intent to Marry.

The first legal same-sex marriage license in the United States, was issued to Marcia Hams and Susan Shepherd, in the early morning hours of May 17th, 2004. That Spring day is a milestone in LGBT history, because the promise of equality went from being a dream to reality in the state of Massachusetts.
 

Today - six states and the District of Columbia extend marriage equality to all of their residents, while forty four states continue to sanction discrimination, with their failure to recognize marriage equality. Election 2012 is just four weeks away, and voters in four states will be voting on ballot measures related to same-sex marriage.
 

Voters in Maine, Maryland, and Washington, will be considering whether to allow lesbians and gay men to marry. Minnesota voters will be voting on a Constitutional amendment to enshrine discrimination in the state Constitution, by narrowly defining marriage ONLY as a union between a man and a woman.

Current public opinion polls reflect broad support for marriage equality in each state. In Maine, the same-sex marriage ballot initiative is leading 53% - 43%, in Maryland 49% - 39%, and in Washington 51% - 39%. In Minnesota, current polling reflects the race as a toss-up. The latest polls show 4 % of voters undecided, with 49% in favor of the discriminatory initiative, and 47% against it.

Bloomberg Businessweek reports that our community is optimistic that the majority of voters will embrace equal rights. William Selway and Esmé E. Deprez write:

Sarah Dowling, who lives outside Portland, Maine, has been waiting for almost two decades to marry her girlfriend. A sign of hope that voters will give her that right hangs in her closet: a new wedding dress.
“It’s hard not to be optimistic,” said Dowling, 54, a social worker. “I know so many people who have moved from a not-supportive stance to a supportive one.”
In Maryland, the National Football League has been prominent in voicing support for equality. Baltimore Ravens center Brendon Ayanbadejo has taken center stage by publicly campaigning for same-sex marriage, while former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue and his wife Chan announced that they were donating $100,000 to Maryland’s same-sex marriage campaign.

The Washington Blade’s Michael K. Lavers  reports:

Former National Football League Commissioner Paul Tagliabue on Tuesday announced that he and his wife have donated $100,000 to the campaign to defend Maryland’s same-sex marriage law.
“We had the privilege of raising our family in Maryland. We have the privilege of now living in the District of Columbia. We’ve lived in New York where they passed marriage equality. We spend time in the summer in Maine, where they are fighting it again. I think this is the time to view this not as an expense, but as a capital investment in our nation’s infrastructure,” he said during a Marylanders for Marriage Equality fundraiser that he and his wife Chan attended at gay Democratic lobbyist Steve Elmendorf’s Logan Circle home.
The couple, whose son is gay, donated $8,500 to the campaign during a star-studded New York City fundraiser that former Republican National Committee Chair Ken Mehlman and others hosted last month.
“You pass it in the legislature, the will of the people has been expressed and you get litigation. In New York, they didn’t have to deal with it at the ballot, but now they’re attacking the Republican senators who supported it and one of them has now been defeated. At some point the tide has got to turn. You got to stop the litigation. You got to demonstrate that the litigation is not — the second guessing at the ballot box is not going to overcome the will of the legislature. At some point you’ve got to demonstrate that people who support this are going to be re-elected, and not get punished for supporting marriage equality. And I think right now is the time.”
Marriage equality has never been extended to a state through the ballot box, and Election 2012 is shaping up to be our best chance for that to change.

I agree with Commissioner Tagliabue that now is the time to extend marriage equality to everyone. In fact it's long over due.

Now is the time - so let’s join together to make it happen.



About The Four 2012

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Jay-Z supports TheFour.com's efforts to promote same-sex marriage and fight discrimination.
The Four 2012 is a new Internet-based social media campaign in support of marriage equality in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington State, with posts daily till Election Day. (On Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, YouTube, and Google Plus as: TheFour2012). They produce, curate, and help others make cutting edge and highly sharable social media content to help win the ballot measures in these four states. 


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