I was watching various websites Tuesday night as the Maine results came in. It was looking good for defeating Question 1 for quite a while, but then came a whole lot of Yes votes from the rural areas.
I don't have anything smart or useful to say. By most accounts, Mainers did a good job of running the No campaign; they included actual gay and lesbian people (with kids!) in their TV ads, just like some of us wanted the No on 8 campaign to do in California; they heavily out-fundraised the opposition, both in total dollars and in number of Mainers contributing; the turnout was much higher than expected (and the expectation had been that a high turnout would be good for the No on 1 side). And yet, the lies of the Yes camp won the day.
It makes me sad and angry and disheartened.
There were some bits of good news for the GLBT cause from other places. For example:
- Kalamazoo, Michigan, passed an anti-discrimination ordinance protecting LGBT people, by a huge margin.
- In Chapel Hill, North Carolina, openly gay man Mark Kleinschmidt was elected mayor. (Okay, Chapel Hill is a well-known liberal haven, so maybe this isn't a big surprise. But still pleasing.)
- In Washington State, Referendum 71 seems to be leaning toward approval. The counting won't likely be final for another couple days, and it's too close to be absolutely certain right now, but it's looking like a possibility. See the Seattle Times map for a view of which counties are voting which way. An article posted Thursday afternoon suggests that at this point the Approve side's lead may be insurmountable. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.
- Even though pro-marriage-equality NJ governor Jon Corzine was defeated in the election, he says that he'll sign a marriage equality bill before he leaves office if the legislature sends him one. (His newly elected successor is opposed to marriage equality.) I have no idea how likely that is to happen, but it sounds at least possible.
- In NY, Gov. Paterson is once again talking about getting the state Senate to vote on same-sex marriage. Might or might not happen, might or might not win. But again there's a chance.
- Last week, Obama finally lifted the ban on travel to the US by HIV-positive people. I was appalled when I first heard about this ban a couple years ago; I'm very glad that Obama has acted to end it. Quote from Obama: "If we want to be a global leader in combating H.I.V./AIDS, we need to act like it."
So it hasn't been all bad news lately. Still, the defeat in Maine hurts.
The difference between Yes and No votes was about 6%. At the rate public opinion seems to be changing, I'm guessing that four or five years from now, marriage equality supporters will be in the majority there. But that's small comfort here and now.
But I hate to end on a downer note. So I'll close with quote from a Boston Globe article:
"Here we are in a civil rights struggle," said Mary Bonauto, an attorney with Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders in Boston. "What do we do in a civil rights struggle? We pick ourselves up and we stay the course."
Or, to put it another way:
We're gonna keep on walking proudly
Keep on walking proudly
Keep on walking proudlyNever turning back
Never turning back.