Oregon May Be Next State For Gay Marriage Ballot Battle

PORTLAND, Ore. (RNS) Three states made history Tuesday (Nov. 6) voting to approve same-sex marriage, and a fourth repudiated an attempt to ban it.

Oregon, once known as a trailblazer for progressive causes, wasn’t among them. But that could change in 2014.

Local gay rights activists stand by a decision they made a year ago not to pursue a marriage ballot measure this year because the timing wasn’t right.

“This has unfolded exactly as it should,” Jeana Frazzini, executive director of Basic Rights Oregon, said Wednesday. Rather than seeing Tuesday’s cross-country support for gays and lesbians as a missed opportunity, Frazzini said the votes in Washington, Maine, Maryland and Minnesota help set the stage for 2014.

“I am more confident than ever that we will be the first state to overturn a constitutional ban on marriage” for same-sex couples, she said. Although no firm decision has been made, she said it is “likely” that her organization would spearhead a same-sex marriage ballot campaign in two years.

Oregon, like many states, has a mixed record on how it treats same-gender couples. In 2004, voters approved Measure 36, a constitutional amendment that prohibits marriage except between a man and a woman. In 2007, the state Legislature approved domestic partnerships that allow same-sex couples to register and get many of the same rights and benefits as married couples.

“It’s not full equality,” said state House Democratic Leader Tina Kotek, who is openly gay. “Full equality is the ability to marry.”

Now that Democrats have regained control of the Legislature, Kotek is in line to be the next Oregon House speaker, which would make her the first openly lesbian speaker in the country. She said any effort to overturn the ban on marriage should come from the citizenry.
via Oregon May Be Next State For Gay Marriage Ballot Battle.

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10 Florida Republicans Who Helped Make Voting More Difficult (PHOTOS)

Who is responsible for Florida’s second infamous elections debacle since 2000?

There will be plenty of blame to go around, especially when Miami-Dade County finally finishes counting provisional ballots and gets to the bottom of who declined to shore up voting operations, and when. But blame will also likely fall on conservative state legislators, who fought for two years to reduce the number of early voting days and limit registration after heavy 2008 turnout in the state for Democrats.

Obama won the most where the lines were the longest,” former state Sen. Dan Gelber (D-Miami Beach) told the Tampa Bay Times, speaking of the 2012 turnout.

Gelber called the law reducing early voting “hubris and overreaching by the Republicans, who may learn a lesson that ‘Maybe we shouldn’t abuse our prisoners that much because sometimes they’ll get back at you.'”

Citing admittedly non-existent fraud, the GOP gang reduced the number of early voting days from 14 to 8, eliminating the Sunday before Election Day disproportionately preferred, in large numbers, by blacks, Hispanics, young people and first-time voters.

As a result, many voters were squished onto a final Saturday of early voting, with lines so long the last voters in Miami cast their ballots at 1 a.m. Some voters were forced to leave lines to care for children or keep appointments, sending even more South Floridians back to the lines on Tuesday.

via 10 Florida Republicans Who Helped Make Voting More Difficult (PHOTOS).

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What did Supreme Court hear about same-sex marriage on Election Day? – The Washington Post

Just before Tuesday’s elections, a national gay-rights group sent its supporters in Maryland an e-mail listing an additional reason to go to the polls to approve same-sex marriage.

“Justice Anthony Kennedy is watching you,” the subject line said.

Marylanders used their 2012 ballots to legalize gay marriage, narrowly passing a referendum with only 52% of the vote. But the results meant more to some than others, and one person whose intimate life hinged on the consequences of the vote was a state senator named Rich Madaleno.

What Kennedy and the rest of the Supreme Court saw was by all accounts a momentous day for gay rights and same-sex marriage.

The country reelected a president who has “evolved” enough on the issue to support gay marriage. Wisconsin elected Democrat Tammy Baldwin, who will be the first openly gay member of the U.S. Senate.

Iowa, which two years ago voted out three state supreme court justices who ruled that homosexuals must be allowed to marry in the state, reversed course. It retained a fourth justice who had joined in the decision after a spirited campaign to oust him.

Maryland, Maine and Washington became the first states to approve same-sex marriage through popular vote, rather than a decision of the legislature or the courts. Minnesota defeated an attempt to amend the state constitution to prohibit same-sex marriage, the first time such an attempt has failed at the ballot box.

“The justices obviously pay attention,” said Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, a gay-rights organization.

But, with the court on the cusp of its most serious examination of the constitutional issues surrounding same-sex marriage, it is unclear what the justices heard.

They will soon sort through a half-dozen cases that raise the issue of same-sex relationships; the date for their private conference on whether to accept any has been rescheduled for Nov. 30.

via What did Supreme Court hear about same-sex marriage on Election Day? – The Washington Post.

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The Badger Herald: Wis. gay marriage needs legalization

Last week Tuesday, the state of Wisconsin once again stepped into the spotlight by electing Rep. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, to be the first openly gay Senator in United States history. With this historic election, it is time for Wisconsin to legalize gay marriage. Baldwin will soon hold one of the few state wide elected offices in Wisconsin.

By electing Baldwin, Wisconsin has proven, as a whole, that they are ready to legalize same-sex marriage. Throughout the campaign to be Wisconsin’s next Senator, neither Governor Tommy Thompson nor Baldwin made the issues of gay marriage or Rep. Baldwin’s homosexuality the center of their campaign. Thompson never attacked either of these issues since he knew that it would result in a vehement push back from voters at the ballot box.

Baldwin did not make either issue the center of her campaign as well. Baldwin knew that if she made homosexuality the center of her campaign, she would merely be viewed as a token, simply to add diversity to the American political stage. However, it is key to point out that Baldwin did not shy away from her homosexuality as she made that information readily available to anyone who wanted to know it. This is another clear sign that Wisconsin is ready for gay marriage.

Wisconsin did not elect Baldwin because they desired to be the first state to have a gay senator. We elected Baldwin because she was a strong Senate candidate, who represented the progressive Wisconsin values that have made us the state we are. Being gay was merely an attribute that played no role in decisions made by voters, just like it wasn’t an issue that Former Senator Russ Feingold is Jewish or that Gov. Scott Walker never finished college.

Marriage is an institution that is regulated by each individual state government, and, as such, it is up to government to provide its citizens with equal rights and protections under the law. If particular individuals feel that same-sex marriage is wrong because of particular religious beliefs or simply because it makes them uncomfortable, then that is fine. Religious institutions have every right to deny marriage to individuals of the same sex since they are separate bodies that have protections under the First Amendment due to the separation of church and state.

via The Badger Herald: Wis. gay marriage needs legalization.

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Voters boost marriage equality movement – Courant.com

Four years ago this week, Connecticut became the second state to allow same-sex couples to legally marry. Since then, four states — plus the District of Columbia — have joined Connecticut and Massachusetts in ending marriage discrimination.

 

In the last four years, the momentum was palpable. But nothing provided quite the same jolt to the national consciousness and sense of momentum as last week’s Election Day. Marriage equality was on the ballot in four additional states and won.

 

With that four-state sweep in Maine, Maryland, Washington and Minnesota, the opponents of marriage equality lost their final talking point, putting to rest the last desperate argument that victories in courts and legislatures somehow are not legitimate and that only a vote of the people counts.

via Voters boost marriage equality movement – Courant.com.

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States legalizing same-sex marriage and marijuana now face battle with Feds

Chicago, IL — Tuesday, voters in Maine, Maryland, and Washington approved same-sex marriage; in Colorado and Washington they legalized recreational marijuana. The problem? In both instances it violates federal law and rules.

The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), passed in 1996 by Congress and signed into law by then President Bill Clinton, came about after fear that Hawaii would legalize same-sex marriage, long before the nation would embrace such an adjustment. DOMA defines marriage as between and man and a woman. Attitudes about same-sex marriage have changed dramatically in the last sixteen years and current polling suggests the more than 50% of Americans approve of the unions. Recent Federal Court rulings have declared DOMA to be unconstitutional, but there are further appeals available which will ultimately put the controversy in the Supreme Court before a final resolution is determined. It could be a long path before it is all ironed out.

Although DOMA seems to be on the way out the door via the courts, currently married same-sex couples, while endorsed by the state they live in, will be denied marriage benefits from social security, estate taxes and federal pensions.

via States legalizing same-sex marriage and marijuana now face battle with Feds.

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Same-sex marriage wins big on Tuesday, as the march toward equality continues (Joey Kennedy) | al.com

Three states — Maine, Maryland and Washington — became the first to pass same-sex marriage by popular vote, and the national trend toward full implementation of same-sex marriage continues and, in fact, is likely to pick up momentum.

That is good for the country. We do not progress by relegating any segment of society to second-class status. We should celebrate with our gay and lesbian friends when they enter into committed relationships, just as we celebrate with our heterosexual friends when they get married.

More people are understanding that marriage is a civil contract with the government giving a couple a series of specific rights under the law. There is no legal reason two consenting adults should be prohibited from entering into such a contract, regardless of gender.

And the marriage of my gay friends certainly does not threaten my 33-year marriage to my wife Veronica.

This can be a religious issue, and that’s understandable.

But churches forever have decided which marriages they would bless or deny. My wife and I were married in a Baptist church, but we would not have been able to have, say, a Catholic wedding or a Mormon wedding. Just as those denominations have a right to refuse to bless marriages of same-sex partners, they also have a right to refuse to bless marriages of those who aren’t members of their congregations (many other denominations follow the same practice; these are only examples).

via Same-sex marriage wins big on Tuesday, as the march toward equality continues (Joey Kennedy) | al.com.

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Gay rights advocates welcome election-day results for a change – The Washington Post

On Tuesday, American politics became much more gay-friendly. Wisconsin voters elected a lesbian senator. Three gay men, and potentially one bisexual woman, will join the House of Representatives. And the approval of ballot initiatives means homosexuals can marry in three more states.

The gay rights movement had come to dread election days, when voters often reversed measures that legislatures and governors had backed. And opponents of same-sex marriage consistently won decisive statewide votes with far less money and manpower than its advocates.

As recently as May, North Carolina voters delivered another drubbing in a string of 30-plus statewide losses for gay-marriage activists, adding the state’s ban on same-sex marriage to its constitution. In Tuesday’s vote, those advocates welcomed a different result. “Winning for the first time at the ballot box in Maryland, Maine, Minnesota and Washington is truly historic,” said Chad Griffin, who recently took over the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest gay rights organization. “You’re seeing how fair-minded Americans are, coming down on the side of full equality and inclusion in this country.”

via Gay rights advocates welcome election-day results for a change – The Washington Post.

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‘Historic day’ for Washington state as voters OK gay marriage | The Detroit News | detroitnews.com

Olympia, Wash. — Washington state has approved gay marriage, joining Maine and Maryland as the first states to pass same-sex marriage by popular vote.

With about three-quarters of the expected ballots counted Thursday, Referendum 74 was maintaining its lead of 52 percent. Opponents conceded the race Thursday, while supporters declared victory a day earlier.

Zach Silk, a spokesman for Washington United for Marriage, called it a “historic day.”

“We have always understood that there are good people on the other side of this issue,” he said in a statement issued Thursday. “Yet, we remain confident that once people see how much marriage matters to families, they will realize that the love and commitment that marriage embodies only strengthens families, neighborhoods and communities.”

R-74 asked people to approve or reject a state law legalizing same-sex marriage that legislators passed earlier this year. That law was signed by Gov. Chris Gregoire but has never taken effect. It was on hold pending the election’s outcome.

Washington is one of four states where voters were asked about the issue this election cycle. Maryland and Maine approved gay marriage Tuesday night, while Minnesota voters rejected a proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage

From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20121108/POLITICS01/211080486#ixzz2BpbRHmdz

via ‘Historic day’ for Washington state as voters OK gay marriage | The Detroit News | detroitnews.com.

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