DENVER — Democratic lawmakers in Colorado sustained a wrenching defeat in the final days of the legislative session last spring. A bill that would have allowed civil unions for same-sex couples was blocked from getting a full vote in the State House of Representatives by Republican leaders, who knew Democrats had the votes to pass it.
But this week, Democrats here regained control of the House, buttressed by a favorably redrawn legislative map and simmering anger over the civil unions debate.
And on Thursday, punctuating the moment, Democratic lawmakers elected the state’s first openly gay speaker of the House.
The new speaker, State Representative Mark Ferrandino, a Democrat from Denver, was a co-sponsor of the civil unions bill and has vowed to bring it back when the session resumes in January.
via Mark Ferrandino Is Elected Colorado’s First Gay Speaker – NYTimes.com.
Hailed as a watershed moment for the LGBT movement, Election Day yielded several milestones that political observers say will have a profound impact on the advancement of LGBT rights and marriage equality going forward.
Here are five takeaways from an evening that saw wins for marriage equality at the ballot and the election for the first time of an openly gay U.S. Senate candidate — not to mention the re-election of a U.S. president who endorsed marriage equality.
1. The sky’s the limit for gay candidates seeking political office
Lesbian U.S. Senate candidate Tammy Baldwin made history when she became the first openly gay person elected to the U.S. Senate in a highly contested race against former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson. She’ll be part of a record number of as many as seven openly gay, lesbian and bisexual candidates elected to Congress and 121 candidates endorsed by the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund elected to various offices throughout the country.
via 5 takeaways from Election Day on LGBT issues | Washington Blade – Americas Leading Gay News Source.
Ten things we may have learned from the 2012 elections:
1. The culture war is over.
For real. GOP strategist Karl Rove needs to tear that chapter from his playbook and burn it in the nearest fireplace. The tired old tactics of the Far Right to demonize LGBT Americans and minorities no longer work. Just look at the ballot box on Nov. 6 for proof.
2. America reaffirms that it is a progressive nation.
The Democrats understand the rapidly changing demographics of the populace, and embrace multiculturalism, inclusiveness and tolerance. The Republicans continue to shrink into the party of grumpy old men … mostly white Southern “good ol’ boys” who don’t like change.
via Autopsy on an election: Ten things we learned in 2012 – LGBTQ Nation.
Americans for the first time approved gay marriage at the ballot box on Tuesday, pointing to changing attitudes on the divisive issue.
In Maine and Maryland, voters approved ballot initiatives to begin allowing same-sex unions. Those wins mark a first for a cause that previously had been rejected by voters in more than 30 states, including as recently as 2009 in Maine.
And in Minnesota, where gay marriage already isn’t allowed, voters declined to back an initiative that would have enshrined in the state’s constitution a definition of marriage as only a union between a man and a woman.
In Washington state, where voters also weighed an initiative to legalize gay marriage, the vote count was expected to stretch for days. With about half of the precincts counted nearly 52% of voters supported the idea.
In Maine, campaigners for same-sex marriage said the win marked a turning point for their cause.
via Gay Marriage Makes Gains in States – WSJ.com.
The results on Election Day were hailed as a milestone as a record number of openly LGBT people were elected to Congress, although prospects for the passage of pro-LGBT legislation next year don’t look promising.
In addition to re-electing President Obama and approving the marriage equality side on ballot initiatives in four states, voters elected at least six openly LGB lawmakers to Congress in addition to electing pro-LGBT lawmakers like Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts and Sherrod Brown in Ohio.
Tammy Baldwin made history by becoming the first openly gay person elected to the U.S. Senate (see related story) as incumbent Reps. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) and David Cicilline (D-R.I.) were re-elected. Joining them will be Sean Patrick Maloney, who’ll be the first openly gay congressman from New York; Mark Pocan, who’ll occupy the seat Baldwin held in the House; and Mark Takano, a California Democrat who’ll be the first openly gay person of color elected to Congresss.
via Election Day results shake up Congress | Washington Blade – Americas Leading Gay News Source.
“It’s unbelievable to me that people’s lives and relationships are literally being voted on in a matter of days,” Pitt wrote in an email sent to HRC members and posted on the HRC website. “In Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington, voters will go to the polls to decide if gay and lesbian couples—our friends and neighbors—are worthy of the same protections as everyone else. But that’s the system we have and I’m not going to back down from the fight of loving and committed couples to have the ability to marry.”
via Brad Pitt Donates 100000 To Marriage Equality Campaign | E! Online.
Social conservatives talk about real problems but offer irrelevant solutions. They act like the man who searched for his keys under the streetlight because the light was better there.
Social conservatives tend to talk about issues like abortion and gay rights, stem-cell research and the role of religion “in the public square”: “Those who would have us ignore the battle being fought over life, marriage and religious liberty have forgotten the lessons of history,” said Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) at the Values Voter Summit.
But what is the case for social conservatism that they’ve been making at the summit and in recent interviews?
- Mike Huckabee: “We need to understand there is a direct correlation between the stability of families and the stability of our economy…. The real reason we have poverty is we have a breakdown of the basic family structure.”
- Jim DeMint: ”It’s impossible to be a fiscal conservative unless you’re a social conservative because of the high cost of a dysfunctional society.”
- Rick Santorum: “We can have no economic freedom unless we have good, virtuous moral people inspired by their faith.”
Those are reasonable concerns, but they have little or no relationship to abortion or gay marriage. Abortion may be a moral crime, but it isn’t the cause of high government spending or intergenerational poverty. And gay people making the emotional and financial commitments of marriage is not the cause of family breakdown or welfare spending
via What Do Social Conservatives Want? | Cato @ Liberty.
Fortunately, Republicans are mostly ignoring Santorum and his allies these days. They see the long-term damage that the anti-gay crusade is doing them. Back in 2004 they thought that social issues, especially gay marriage bans, would help them win the presidential election. It wasn’t really true even then: it turns out that George W. Bush’s share of the vote rose just slightly less in the marriage-ban states than in the other states: up 2.6 percent in the states with marriage bans on the ballot, up 2.9 percent in the other states.
This year, even though President Obama and the Democratic platform have endorsed marriage equality, Mitt Romney and the Republicans are staying away from the issue. With good reason. The Washington Post reported earlier this month
via David Boaz: Republicans, Gay Marriage and the Sound of Social Change.
opponents of marriage equality still miss the point: Marriage equality is not about “holy matrimony” or the religious sanction of a “lifestyle” (Question 6 would force no faith to recognize any marriage inconsistent with its religious traditions). It’s about civil marriage licenses and civil status under the law, which confers to people basic respect and dignity.
Moreover, marriage equality doesn’t undermine Judeo-Christian values. In fact, it advances one of the two most important teachings of the Bible: treating others the way you would want to be treated yourself. How I wish that commandment had opened people’s eyes to injustice long ago.
via Marriage equality and the golden rule – The Washington Post.
In a little more than a week, Maine voters will decide whether to reverse their 2009 ban on marriage equality. Will the New England state right a grievous wrong? Or will they once again leave their LGBT residents in the lurch? We gathered information on the latest polls, money raised, and advertisements for and against Question 1 to get a sense of the chances that marriage equality has in Maine.
First off, here’s how Question 1 appears on the ballot:
Do you want to allow the State of Maine to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples?
via Marriage Equality War in Maine By the Numbers | Advocate.com.