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Marriage Equality Wins In All Four States!

Jim Burroway

November 7th, 2012

In the very early morning hours, vote tallies in Minnesota and Washington meant that those two states have joined Maryland and Maine in rejecting attempts by anti-gay activists to deny marriage equality to LGBT couples.

Voters in Minnesota rejected a proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, making Minnesota the first state to do so since 2006, when Arizona voters rejected a similar ban. (Arizona voters later approved a narrower ban on marriage only in 2008.) With 99% of the ballots counted, 1,504,189 (51.3%) voted against the Amendment 1 while 1,396,879 (47.6%) who voted for it. In addition, there were 31,886 (1.1%) blank ballots cast for Amendment 1. Those were ballots in which voters marked their choices for other races but left the ballot blank for Amendment 1. Because the Minnesota constitution requires that a proposed amendment pass with a majority of all ballots cast, the blank ballots are effectively count as “no” ballots.

In Washington state,the vote counting continues in the all mail-in state, but the news was also good. Referendum 74 was ahead by 985,308 (51.8%) to 917,197 (48.2%). Because a ballot must be postmarked by November 7, the vote count is likely to continue for several more days, but observers are optimistic that Washington will join Maine and Maryland in choosing marriage equality at the ballot box:

The holdup was King County, which still had tons of ballots to count. Still, with 65 percent of King County voters approving R-74 in the initial count, and that trend likely to continue through the full count, seasoned political watchers were predicting victory. “Fifty-two percent, with King County what it is—it’s still time to call Washington State for marriage equality,” said Governor Chris Gregoire.

Similarly, Matt Barreto, who runs the Washington Poll, projected that R-74 would be approved and added that he expected Jay Inslee to be the next governor. “King County delivered both,” Barreto said.

Gregoire, who had a late-career conversion on marriage equality, called her daughters up to the podium at the Westin and thanked them for changing her mind. “They told me, ‘This is the civil rights issue of this generation,'” Gregoire said. “They’re right.”

In related news, voters in Iowa rejected an attempted recall of Iowa Supreme Court Justice David Wiggins, who joined in the unanimous 2009 decision which found denying marriage to same-sex couples unconstitutional. Social conservatives had mounted a fierce retention vote campaign to remove Wiggins from the bench. With 83% of the vote counted, Wiggins was retained with 54% of the vote.

These results represent a colossal, historic loss for National Organization for Marriage, anti-marriage strategist Frank Schubert, and anti-gay activists generally. Even if the decision in Washington should be reversed, this day represents a historic turning point in the fight for equality. Not only did voters defeat an attempt to permanently and constitutionally bar same-sex couples from marrying, but for the first time in history voters gave their approval for the right of their LGBT neighbors to protect their families with the rights and duties of legal marriage. There will be wins and loses to come, but future generations will today as the day in which the politics of division and demonization broke down and failed to do what they had reliably been counted on to accomplish before.  We have just seen history being made before our very eyes.

By the way, NOM has been silent so far. No press releases, no blog post. Just this plaintive tweet from about 11:00 p.m. EST last night:

Here is the latest rundown for all four states:

Maine, Question 1: Allow same-sex marriage.
Yes: 300,336 (53.3%) √
No: 262,820 (46.7%)
75.5% reporting.

Maine’s Secretary of State has up to 20 days to verify election results, and the governor has 10 days to do the same. After that, there is a 30 day delay before the law to goes into effect. Marriage equality will go into effect sometime between December 7, 2012 (30 days after the election) and January 6, 2013 (60 days after the election).

Maryland, Question 6: Allow same-sex marriage.
Yes: 1,208,068 (52.0%) 
No: 1,112,998 (48.0%)
97.5% reporting.

Marriage equality will go into effect on January 1, 2013.

Minnesota, Amendment 1: Same-sex marriage ban.
No: 1,504,189 (51.3)%  √
Blanks: 31,892 (1.1%)
Yes: 1,396,879 (47.6%)
99.0% reporting.

There will be no change to Minnesota’s marriage law, which currently prohibits marriage between same-sex couples.

Washington, Referendum 74: Allow same-sex marriage.
Yes: 985,308 (51.8)%  √
No: 917,197 (48.2%)
51.3% reporting.

Ballot counting will continue during regular working hours, with updated totals being posted throughout the afternoon for the next several days. If the current lead holds for Ref 74, marriage equality will go into effect on December 6, 2012.

Comments

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JohnAGJ
November 7th, 2012 | LINK

While I believe America will be sorry with reelecting Obama when it comes to fiscal matters (only slightly less so with Romney), I’m VERY happy with the results on these 4 referendums! Great consolation prize which I didn’t expect since I voted Libertarian this year. Thought I’d end up with nothing but am pleasantly surprised. :)

Steve
November 7th, 2012 | LINK

Only the super rich will be sorry. If you think that the Republican so-called “fiscal policies” would have benefited anyone in the middle class you are severely deluded and live in Fox News’s alternate reality.

Stephen
November 7th, 2012 | LINK

So we re-elect the most brilliant, courageous, and accomplished president I’ve seen in my lifetime along with other great additions to the senate and also win in all four states. What a great night for the forward-looking America I care about.

Jarred
November 7th, 2012 | LINK

Given that NOM lost in all four states via popular vote, I’m curious to see what their new mantra will be. Obviously they can no longer honestly claim that the people have “defended traditional marriage” when it came to the popular vote.

Oh wait, when has NOM cared about being honest? Silly me.

Ryan
November 7th, 2012 | LINK

Fantastic news! First Obama, now this. Hard to believe it was only 8 years ago the conservatives were using us to secure a Bush victory. I think ultimately, Prop 8 was a blessing in disguise. A gift from God, you might even say.

Markanthony
November 7th, 2012 | LINK

It will be interesting to see how these votes affect NOM’s ability to raise money. I would imagine they are competing with heavily with anti-abortion groups, churches and religious schools/charities for these funds. If it looks like these votes really can’t win at the polls, those funders might start to cut their losses.

Peter
November 7th, 2012 | LINK

Glad that marriage equality has gained public voter support.

(by the way, NOM tweeted a *plaintive* message, unless they were talking about a court case and were referring to the plaintiff)

JohnAGJ
November 7th, 2012 | LINK

Steve: About all I’ll say on that is Obama is driving us over the fiscal cliff by pushing the gas pedal to the floor while Romney might have applied the brakes now and then. I have no illusions that the current GOP would have produced an economic miracle. It doesn’t matter now, the American people have spoken and the Dems now have 4 more years to prove their policies are better for the economy. I’m just glad that the social cons have taken a well-deserved drubbing and look forward to the GOP civil war.

Kate
November 7th, 2012 | LINK

Anyone know the status of their court case in Maine about disclosing their contributors?

Ben in Oakland
November 7th, 2012 | LINK

YAHOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Also…

NEENER NEENER NEENER!!!!!!!

JohnAGJ
November 7th, 2012 | LINK

Forgot to add that what I’m looking for in the upcoming GOP civil war is that party actually living up to its claim of supporting smaller government and less government intrusion into our personal lives – something the social con nonsense has revealed is a complete lie. Either they truly stand for this or they can enjoy irrelevancy in national politics for years to come. In the meantime I’ll enjoy watching the ground change for the social cons as they lose on issue after issue while liberty on those matters at least will move forward. Of course I’ll be much poorer while doing so but such is life.

JohnAGJ
November 7th, 2012 | LINK

Still waiting for NOM’s response to last night, feeling somewhat giddy I must admit. :)

Patrick
November 7th, 2012 | LINK

The tide appears to have finally turned. We knew it was coming, thanks to the younger generation, it was just a matter of when.

The Lauderdale
November 7th, 2012 | LINK

“Voters in Minnesota rejected a proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, making Minnesota the first state to do so since 2006, when Arizona voters rejected a similar ban.”

Okay, thanks for that. I saw a couple of news articles saying that Minnesota was the first state EVER to do this, and I was like, “What about Arizona?” I hadn’t gone it to verify it yet, though, so thanks for mentioning it here.

Mark Cross
November 7th, 2012 | LINK

John, I also voted Libertarian, but I’ve done that for the last 20 years. I’m so proud of Obama’s “evolution” — and America’s evolution — on marriage equality. Libertarians have been pro-legalization of adult consensual relations since their inception. AND now ya can light up in WA, CO, and Detroit! Woo hoo!

JohnAGJ
November 7th, 2012 | LINK

Good for you, Mark. I can’t say that I fully embrace libertarianism, but I’ve seen the light so to speak when it comes to social issues at least. I’m tired of nanny-statism from the Left AND the Right. As for the wins on pot, I was pleased to hear about those too. I always get funny looks when I say this, especially since I honestly have never tried it and beyond a mild curiosity about pot really don’t want to, but I do believe it’s a personal choice matter that government should butt out of. I see little difference between alcohol and pot. It makes no sense to me the arguments about criminalizing one while the other is perfectly legal. Seems to me that folks should be free to decide for themselves if they want to imbibe or toke a few on their own. Legalize it, regulate it and tax it is what I say.

Ryan
November 7th, 2012 | LINK

The Supreme Court justice in IA also survived his recall attempt. The only had news is that Steven Saland lost in NY. NOM is crowing about it, which is kinda hilarious, since he lost to a pro-gay marriage Democrat. I guess that’s what passes for a victory for NOM these days…

Mark Cross
November 7th, 2012 | LINK

John I’ve smoked it a few times with friends and family, but it’s certainly not a daily, or even a yearly habit. I rarely drink either, but it’s a moral issue. People should be free to live their lives as they see fit, enjoy their freedom, take responsibility for their choices, and love who they want to love.

Mark Cross
November 7th, 2012 | LINK

I wanted to add how pleasantly surprised I am that we won in ALL 4 states. I expected more of a mixed bag. Next, CA, DE IL and ultimately DOMA right? What am I missing?

Mark Cross
November 7th, 2012 | LINK

…and RI!

Ryan
November 7th, 2012 | LINK

Ooh, Iowa Democrats kept control of their senate! This means no vote on getting rid of marriage equality there! Damn, this is a good day!

F Young
November 7th, 2012 | LINK

@Marc Cross
“What am I missing?”

How about New Jersey, Minnessota and Hawaii?

Secret Advocate
November 7th, 2012 | LINK

F Young is correct about Minnesota.

Another great victory last night was that the Democrats (called the Democrat-Farmer-Labor Party, or DFL, in Minnesota) re-took control of both houses of the Minnesota state legislature. (The reason why the anti-gay marriage amendment was on the ballot this year in Minnesota was that the state legislature unexpectedly flipped Republican in the 2010 “red tide” election, and Minnesota is one of 10 states in which only a simple majority of both houses of the state legislature is needed to send a proposed constitutional amendment to the voters.)

Now, with the DFL in control of the legislature and with Mark Dayton as the governor, Minnesota may actually get marriage equality soon. The vote on the amendment yesterday was a “mandate” in the literal sense of the term.

After all, the proponents of the amendment kept saying that “the people” should decide the issue. Well, now the people have spoken. It will be interesting to see how the NOM and its ilk try to argue that the people now should not be heard.

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