UPDATE: Washington United for Marriage confirms that Referendum 74 was approved.
With absolutely no illusions that the work toward LGBT equality is close to done, the votes on November 6, 2012 indicate that we have made tremendous progress. With votes for LGBT and supportive candidates, and with the support of marriage equality via state ballots, use of frequently over-used words actually fit: Historic. Landmark. Milestone.
Zack Ford, at Think Progress:
Landslide Victory for LGBT Equality Up and Down the Ballot
From marriage campaigns to reelecting President Obama and other priorities, LGBT Americans were the big winners on election night …
HRC President Chad Griffin released the following statement:
‘When the history books are written, 2012 will be remembered as the year when LGBT Americans won decisively at the ballot box. The dreams of millions of fair-minded Americans were realized as discrimination crumbled and equality prevailed.
It remains true, of course, that in the big majority of states, marriage equality isn’t a reality, as DOMA remains the law. The Supreme Court may decide to address the latter, along with Prop 8, so perhaps more progress will be made. Or not. Reality also remains that ENDA, the Employment Nondiscrimination Act, is still unlikely to move forward because Republicans maintain a House majority. I can be not hired, fired, demoted, and “dis-respected” in a work setting with no federal repercussions, and while some states and local governments provide some employment protections, without ENDA, At state and local levels, steps forward are consistently made, while efforts to prevent or even further limit LGBT equality are just as consistently made.
The victories of this election, however, provide substantive support for ongoing progress at every level. And at least for a while, they’re providing a great deal of energy and excitement. Those victories include the following:
Maryland became the first state in which voters, not legislators and judges, affirmed marriage equality, by a 52 – 48 margin.
Maine did the same thing, with a 53% to 47% margin.
As HRC put it:
For the first time, voters in Maine and Maryland voted to allow loving couples to make lifelong commitments through marriage – forever taking away the right-wing talking point that marriage equality couldn’t win on the ballot.
Another first in Minnesota, via Think Progress:
Though Minnesota does not have marriage equality to embrace yet, the 51-48 defeat of its marriage inequality amendment is a significant victory. Opponents have boasted that in every state where voters have the chance to limit marriage to opposite-sex couples, they have done so, and Minnesota breaks that record.
At Washington United for Marriage reports, regarding Referendum 74, “We feel very good and are cautiously optimistic … .” The Washington state website shows a 52% – 48% win, but as of now, that remains unconfirmed. Think Progress adds that it’s
… still too close to call, but … (g)iven Washington’s victory in approving everything-but-marriage domestic partnerships in 2009, there is reason to be optimistic that its voters once again sided with equality.
The most widely reported and probably celebrated winner among LGBT candidates was, of course, Democratic Tammy Baldwin’s Senate win in Wisconsin. Baldwin becomes the first lesbian or gay person to be elected to the U.S. Senate. For some details, check out The Advocate’s, “This Is How a ‘Radical Lesbian’ Won.”
Elected to the House: Mark Pocan (D-WI); Jared Polis (D-CO); Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY); David Cicilline (D-RI). According to Think Progress, though both are leading, winners are yet to be determined in House races with Mark Takano (D-CA) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ).
House: Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL); Rep. Mazie Hirono (D-HI); Elizabeth Warren (D-MA); Debbie Stabenow (D-MI); Claire McCaskill (D-MO); Martin Heinrich (D-NM); Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH): Tim Kaine (D-VA).
Senate: Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD); Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT); Sen. Sheldon White (D-RI); Angus King (I-ME); Mazie Hirono (D-HI); Martin Heinrich (D-NM); Tim Kaine (D-VA); Sherrod Brown (D-OH); Chris Murphy (D-CT).
Governors: Gov. Jack Markell (D-DE); Maggie Hassan (D-NH).
Judicial: Iowa Justice David Wiggins, who retained his position, was targeted by anti-marriage equality groups for his decisions related to marriage equality.
Finally, there’s Barack Obama. From Think Progress:
For the first-time ever, Americans have elected a president who openly campaigned on his support for marriage equality. …
While some pundits predicted the President’s support for marriage equality would hinder his campaign, we know the opposite is true.
HRC also notes that Obama gained support among LGBT voters, “jumping seven points to garner 77% of our vote.”
Every candidate and campaign supportive of LGBT equality deserve recognition, and thanks. So do the people who made those candidacy and wins possible, including Mr. Obama’s laudable public support of marriage equality – the grassroots LGBTs and allies who’ve spent decades working for the progress gained yesterday, and coming in the future.
(Victory In All Four via The Four)