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The Day After Election Day

Jim Burroway

November 4th, 2009
Submitted by BTB reader Elliot Ryan

Submitted by BTB reader Elliot Ryan

Feelings will be running raw this morning. Having yet another state placing a portion of its own citizenry in the second-class column is never easy to take. There will be plenty of time for post-mortems; I guess you could say I’ve already gotten a jump on mine before the campaign was over.

But I think it’s very important to keep in mind what Protect Maine Equality has been able to do. They have put together one of the most outstanding grass-roots efforts I’ve ever seen in a political campaign, and for that they’ve provided a road map for future campaigns to follow. Nobody has done a better job at motivating thousands of individuals to give of their time, and nobody has put together a better get-out-the-vote effort. The fact that the vote was this close is a testament to those great accomplishments.

Meanwhile, we have an important victory in Kalamazoo, where the religious right pulled out all the scare tactics at their disposal to try to defeat a non-discrimination ordinance. It didn’t work. The ordinance was upheld by 7,671 to 4,731 — 62% voted for equality in Kalamazoo, which is now the sixteenth city in Michigan with a non-discrimination ordinance.

Meanwhile, Washington’s Referendum 71 is holding on by a razor-thin margin. The Seattle Times says that it looks promising, since most of the outstanding votes are in areas where the measure was passing. Washingtonians vote by mail, and since the law requires that ballot be postmarked by election day, they will continue to trickle in during the days to come.

In Houston, openly lesbian mayoral candidate Annise Parker will go up against Gene Lock for a December 12 runoff. Openly gay Mark Kleinschmidt was elected mayor of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and Charles Pugh garnered the highest number of Detroit city council votes among all the city-wide at-large candidates to become that city’s first gay city council president. And in New Jersey, New York, and the District of Columbia, legislative battles are heating up for marriage equality.

There are steps forward and steps back. The struggle isn’t over. We lost this one, but we pick ourselves up and go on to the next one. Our community has forged a unique strength that way, and we’ve learned to do this in ways we didn’t want to, whether it was to respond to Governmental censorship, employment bans, Anita Bryant, the AIDS crisis when nobody else could be bothered, or these state-by-state ballot initiatives. They do wear us down, but they don’t wear us out. We pick each other up, dust ourselves off, and we go on to the next battle. It’s what we do.

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tristram
November 4th, 2009 | LINK

Even if Ref. 71 holds on, Tuesday’s results have made DOMA untouchable, put marriage equality off for several years in NY and NJ, and shifted the battlefield not to California, but to Iowa and NH where we’ll be fighting against renewed repeal efforts.

Alex
November 4th, 2009 | LINK

Here’s a bit of irony: Yes on 1 advocates repealed gay marriage partly because they don’t want it taught in public schools, but who wants to guess which issue students are discussing in social studies class today?

Chris McCoy
November 4th, 2009 | LINK

If we are to win in future states/battles, we need to learn from both California and Maine and squash the “gay = pedophilia” tactic that the Christianists are using to spread fear and hate against our community.

Does anyone really think that Brown v Board of Education would have stood up to popular vote at the time?

As I said before. Stop playing Mr Nice Gay. Act Up.

J. Stellon
November 4th, 2009 | LINK

I disagree that ME necessarily has a dire impact on non-referenda states like NY and NJ. One thing has been shown consistently: while gay marriage loses on a direct vote, it is not an issue that impacts legislative contests. So there is no reason for the hacks in NY and NJ to care about a ME People’s Veto. It will all come down to the usual horse-trading and favor-swapping.

However, yesterday’s defeat clearly has to give pause to the repeal Prop 8 movement. Since it is unlikely that the repeal 8 people could do any better in messaging and GOTV than the No on 1 people, they may need to reconsider 2012 and start pondering 2018, by which time enough Prop 8 voters will have died for a rematch to make sense.

AJD
November 4th, 2009 | LINK

It’s really hard for me to be optimistic when I see things like this.

Tristram is right: The theocratic fascists have yet another victory, and just as Prop. 8 proved they could win in a supposedly liberal and pro-gay state, Question 1 proves they can defeat a measure passed by a state legislature while fighting a campaign that is both better-funded and far more competent than No On 8 was. We should be prepared for the possibility that our victories in Iowa, New Hampshire and even Vermont may be short-lived.

Let’s be realistic. A majority of Americans still hate and fear us. We can blame the lying and scare tactics of groups like NOM, but there’s one thing we can’t deny: They work. And they work for a reason, because the people whom they are able to persuade were biased against us from the beginning and already saw our relationships as a threat. All they needed was a little push.

I read an article the other day in which a woman in Maine who said she had gay relatives and nothing against gay people, but still planned to vote “Yes.” Likewise, my partner’s fundamentalist Christian brother and his family knows about us and sees us pretty frequently, but would likely vote to ban gay marriage if given the chance also.

I really think our best hope is that the Supreme Court will rule that civil rights aren’t a popularity contest, but that’s obviously not a sure thing. We should be open to the possibility that we’ll probably have to wait another 20-30 years before having full equality in this country, while Canadians already have it…

The more I look at it, the more I regard this country’s claims to being the world’s greatest nation as being sort of like Budweiser’s service mark “The King of Beers.” It’s an empty phrase that ignores how seriously behind the curve we really are.

Dan
November 4th, 2009 | LINK

There is a hidden story in last night’s ME results. Given the high turnout, which rivaled that of a midyear election and the extraordinary ground effort by No on 1, how is it possible that we wound up losing areas like Augusta, which we won in 2005 by substantial margins? In every single town except one, we did worse last night than we did in 2005. Where we won, we won by thinner margins than in 2005. And where we lost, we lost by greater margins than in 2005. The overall effect was to turn a 2005 victory of 55-45 into a 53-47 loss, in spite of greater turnout. That does not happen by accident.

I think the untold story is the Yes on 1 ground game. The whole S4MM operation was very secretive. I did not read a single internal campaign leak over the course of 4 months. Their ground campaign is one giant black box. Schubert claimed to have 100,000 people on the ground in CA on Election Day 2008 – 5 volunteers for each of CA’s 20,000 precincts. I saw no evidence of this in ME, but it is blindingly obvious that he had something on the ground in places like Augusta. Were these people quietly recruited from Catholic churches? Were they Mormons slipped into the state in the dead of night?

Emily K
November 4th, 2009 | LINK

we can run an outstanding campaign in a north-eastern state that is largely secular and still lose. What’s the fu**ing point anymore? Just put a bullet in my skull.

Really. I’m serious.

Burr
November 4th, 2009 | LINK

Iowa can’t do anything until 2014, so no need to worry about that state yet.

occono
November 4th, 2009 | LINK

Can’t there be a Constitutional Convention next year?

Elliot
November 4th, 2009 | LINK

Emily: Do you really think a bullet in your head is going to help anything?

Emily K
November 4th, 2009 | LINK

Elliot: One less homo on earth; one more in hell i guess.

Elliot
November 4th, 2009 | LINK

Emily: In other words, no.

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