Yesterday was a banner day for marriage equality, especially in the US, as well as for lesbian visibility.
Most of y'all have probably heard most of this, in which case skip down to the Washington section, where the news is less certain.
Maine and Maryland
The really big news is that Maine and Maryland passed their respective marriage-equality ballot measures.
(I'm especially pleased about Maine because in 2009, after the governor and legislature approved marriage equality, the voters voted against it, by about 53% to 47%. The equality organizations in Maine have done an amazing job over the past three years of engaging with the public and changing minds.)
In Maryland, Question 6 passed with about 52% of the vote. Marriages will begin on January 1, 2013.
So that's at least two states that have achieved equality through voting. I personally feel that rights shouldn't be put to a vote, and that the courts are a perfectly legitimate way to acquire equality in the eyes of the law; but there's a widespread idea that votes are more legitimate than courts, so it's heartening to see votes go our way.
NOM in particular keeps saying (paraphrased), “Sure, all three branches of government in various states are in favor of same-sex marriage. But what does government know? The only important opinion is a majority vote.” Now, presumably, they'll start downplaying the importance of a majority vote, in favor of some other previously undiscovered branch of government that they'll invent and declare to be the only legitimate opinion.
Minnesota has rejected the anti-equality constitutional amendment that was on their ballot. I'm relieved and pleased. I really didn't think this would happen; even last night, there was a while when (if I read the returns right) the Yes vote had a significant lead. So I'm delighted that No won the day. Minnesota doesn't, of course, have marriage equality yet; but at least they won't have to overturn a constitutional amendment to get there in the future.
I'm seeing a bunch of people putting Washington on the winners list, and that's understandable; the current count there as of this morning shows it ahead, roughly 52% to 48%. But the vote-counting status page shows that there are still 618,000 votes left to be counted (about a quarter of the total votes cast), and about a fifth of those votes are from Pierce County, where No is ahead. (Though a lot are also from King County, where Yes is winning 2-to-1.) I have yet to see a major news organization call this vote, so I'm thinking that the results are still uncertain, unfortunately.
The status page indicates that the next updates will be out around 4 or 5 p.m. tonight (Pacific time) in some counties, with other counties not updating until Friday. Fingers crossed that this all turns out well.
“Spain's highest court upheld the country's gay marriage law on Tuesday, rejecting an appeal lodged by the ruling People's Party seven years ago and confirming the legality of same-sex unions.” Yay, Spain!
“France has adopted a draft law to legalize same-sex marriage and open adoption to gay couples.” Not definite yet, though; “Parliament is expected to vote on the proposal by mid-2013.” Still, pleasing to see, especially because the news I'd glanced at in the previous couple of days seemed to indicate that support in France had been waning.