November 7, 2012

Marriage Equality: It's A Sweep!

Maine marriage equality supporters celebrate Yes on 1.

Marriage Equality Endorsed By Voters in Four States And Reverses Trend of Countless Losses At The Ballot Box
With News From France


By Roy Steele

Tuesday November 6th, 2012 was a historic night for the President, though I would argue that it was far more historic for LGBT Americans, because marriage equality was victorious at the ballot box for the first time in the history of our struggle for LGBT civil rights.

Marriage equality was front and center in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington state, as voters considered same-sex marriage. In Maine, Maryland and Washington voters approved marriage equality. In Minnesota, voters rejected an amendment to the state Constitution that would have prohibited same-sex marriage, and defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman.


Washington State Referendum 74


According to Washington United for Marriage (WUM), all of the ballots have not been counted, but they are optimistic that they will prevail.

Washington United for Marriage, which in the last two nights logged 190,000 calls to voters and in the last week, knocked on 100,000 doors statewide, tonight announced that it was cautiously optimistic about R74 in the early ballot returns.

“We feel very good and we are cautiously optimistic,” said WUM campaign manager Zach Silk.  “We’re at 65% in early King County returns and we’re out performing in Eastern Washington.  We’ll need patience, but the numbers are coming in the right way.  And with Maine and Maryland winning the freedom to marry, we believe we are poised to make history in Washington state. But there are still well over 400,000 ballots to be processed and we have to be patient.”

Overall, WUM estimates that 60% of the ballots have been counted, with 40% remaining to be counted.  The percentage split is 52-48.

Washington Referendum 74 Results

Approved        985,308     51.79%

Rejected          917,197       48.21%



Same-sex marriage was approved by voters in Maine.

Maine - Question One


Mainers United for Marriage were celebrating their marriage equality victory, as Maine was the first state to approve a citizen’s initiative that authorizes same-sex marriage.

“Three years ago, Maine made history as the first state to pass marriage through a state legislature and have it signed into law by the governor. Maine made history again this year when we became the first state to bring a citizen’s initiative to voters in support of the freedom to marry. And we have made history tonight,” said Matt McTighe, campaign manager for Mainers United for Marriage. “For the first time, we have won marriage at the ballot box.”


Maine - Question 1 Results

Approved     286,484    53.3%

Rejected        250,809     46.7%

Maryland State Delegate Maggie McIntosh (D-MD)

Maryland - Question 06


In Maryland, equality advocates Marylanders for marriage equality  were celebrating their hard fought victory. The Baltimore Sun reports:
Marylanders made history Tuesday as they voted to make same-sex marriage legal — a question that had been defeated each of the 32 times it had been on the ballot in other states.

"To Maryland's children – please know that you and your families matter to the people of our state," Gov. Martin O'Malley, who pushed for the law, said early Wednesday in a statement declaring victory. "Whether your parents happen to be gay or straight, Democratic, Republican or Independent, your families are equal before the eyes of the law."

The Free State joins six others and the District of Columbia, which have allowed same-sex marriage. Local courts can begin issuing marriage licenses to gay couples in January.


Maryland Question 6

For the Referred Law      1,252,568    51.9%

Against the Referred Law  1,158,719    48.1%

Maryland marriage equality supporter Steve Marker

Minnesota - Constitutional Amendment 1


The question put before Minnesota voters was different than the others, because marriage equality opponents were fearful that a state court judge might rule that current state law discriminates against LGBT citizens, by denying them the right to wed.  

The
Minnesota Star Tribune offered this explanation about the ballot measure.
Q: Is there any way that gay marriage could become legal in Minnesota on Election Day?

A: No. If the amendment passes, Minnesota's Constitution would deny legal marriage rights to same-sex couples. If it's defeated, the state's 1997 "Defense of Marriage" law prohibiting gay marriage would remain on the books.

Q: If gay marriage is still illegal either way, what's the point of the amendment?

A: Amendment supporters say the law could be overturned, either by a vote of the state Legislature or by a judicial ruling. If the amendment passes, it would take another statewide vote of the people to overturn it before gay marriage could become legal here.
Minnesotans United for All Families Campaign manager Richard Carlbom issued this statement regarding their election victory.
“Today, the people of Minnesota spoke loudly and clearly and became the first state in the country to defeat this kind of hurtful, freedom-limiting amendment. They said no to limiting the freedom of committed and loving couples in Minnesota, they said no to singling out and excluding one group of people from a basic freedom just because of who they are, and they said no to telling some people it’s illegal to marry the person they love.

“The strength of this campaign was our thousands of volunteers, and our broad and diverse coalition of partners. This campaign did something that has never been done before: it brought together people of all faiths, in all communities, and of all political affiliations on the principle that freedom means freedom for everybody. The strength of those who have come together and worked to defeat this amendment was rewarded today, and without their work, this would not have been possible.

“This campaign has changed the course of politics in our state forever. Over the course of the last year and a half, we’ve sparked an honest, statewide conversation about why marriage matters and who should have the freedom to participate in it. Today, Minnesotans voted in favor of love, freedom, and fairness – because that’s what this state is about.”


Minnesota - Constitutional Amendment 1

Yes       1,398,500   48.15%

No        1,506,302    51.85%

Marriage Equality in France

A day after voters voiced their approval for marriage equality here in the US, French President Francois Hollande  and his Cabinet approved legislation that would allow same-sex marriage in France.

USA Today and The Associated Press reports:

The French Cabinet has approved a bill legalizing gay marriage, sending the measure to the legislature for debate the day after Maine and Maryland became the first American states to approve same-sex marriage in a popular vote.

Gay marriage has become a contentious issue in France, where President Francois Hollande made it a cornerstone of his campaign. At the time, it appeared to have the backing of a majority of the population, but support has fallen off amid vocal opposition from religious and rural leaders.
The marriage equality election results have been incredibly surprising, and extremely gratifying. Congratulations to the thousands of people who worked so hard to advance LGBT civil rights!

Our demand for equality, and our fight in all fifty states, will continue.



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