Wednesday, November 7, 2012
State by State: Gay Marriage/Equality Wins
While most people were more focused on the general presidential election last night, I was following what was happening with marriage equality because that's a social issue I think should be at the top of the list but is often placed at the bottom. I would feel the same way about any other equality issue, too.
When President Obama said in a recent MTV interview that he believes marriage should be left up to the states, I watched this election even closer because I'm at the point where I don't think marriage equality is ever going to happen on a federal level unless enough states legalize it. And the more states that legalize same sex marriage the closer we get to full equality. In other words, it's a process that's going to happen but it's going to take time.
And it's not going to be easy. In the past fifteen years thirty-two states, by popular vote, have voted down legalizing same sex marriage. I think the most recent to reject marriage equality was North Carolina. I have no idea where my own state/commonwealth stands right now, and I don't hear much mentioned about it anywhere. Pennsylvania went blue last night, which means the majority supported President Obama. But that doesn't always mean that same sex marriage will get the same support, not by any means. In an interesting turn of events, Minnesota supported Obama yesterday and they voted down an amendment that stated marriage is between one man and one woman. It means this:
Gay marriage remains illegal in the Minnesota, but without the constitutional amendment, making it legal in the future will be easier for pro-equality advocates.
In the same respect, we did hit a milestone. From what I've read, this was the first time ever that gay marriage was on the ballot and voters had a chance in some states to vote for or against it. I didn't know that. I thought it was on the ballot before in California, but I could be wrong. And this isn't official yet because of mail in ballots, but Washington has been predicted to legalize same sex marriage. And both Maryland and Maine have legalized it. So state by state, we're making progress.
Here's a statement by Marc Solomon, whom I've written about many times before on this blog, from "Freedom to Marry."
Marc Solomon, national campaign director for Freedom to Marry, another prominent advocacy organization, said in a press release: “Today, a majority in Maine voted in favor of loving and committed same-sex couples seeking the freedom to marry. Now the commitment gay and lesbian couples have made in life will be respected equally under the law, celebrated before their loved ones, and called what it is: marriage.”
I'm starting to believe the President is right about same sex marriage when he says it's going to *have* to happen state by state, and that it will be recognized one day in the future on a federal level. Not during his next term most likely, and I think I understand why. I didn't always get it, but I think I do now. It's obviously a hot topic that's fueled by religion and made even worse by bad Hollywood stereotypes that freak people out. But I'm thrilled about the small victories yesterday and I think we're all ready to move forward and continue to campaign for more equality in the future. Recent polls, and last night's election, seem to suggest that things are shifting in favor of marriage equality.
The photo above was pilfered from Fred Karger's facebook page. NOM is the National Organization for Marriage and they are opposed to same sex marriage, for those who might not know. The caption on Karger's FB update reads:
Went by the DC office of NOM this morning and look what I saw: