Yesterday’s elections

Timothy Kincaid

November 6th, 2013

It’s been a good year for equality. In the past twelve months, marriage equality has come to Maine, Maryland, and Washington (by popular vote), Rhode Island, Delaware, and Minnesota (by legislative act), New Jersey (by state court ruling), and California (by federal court ruling).

Which was all before yesterday. Tuesday, with the vote for marriage in the Illinois House and the vote for marriage in the Hawaii House Judiciary and Finance Committees, was a most delicious day.

But when there’s a whirlwind day, you can miss some of the less high profile moment. Also yesterday were elections around the country, and here are a few more happy moments.

Ken Cuccinelli, the GOP Virginia gubernatorial candidate, is a man seemingly obsessed with the sex lives of his neighbors. Virulently anti-gay (he tried to reinstate sodomy laws through the argument that he would also enforce them against straights who strayed from the missionary position) he was the hope and darling of wingnuts who see their world vanishing.

Yesterday Cuccinelli did much better than expected, but ultimately Democrat Terry McAuliff, a friend and supporter of the community, prevailed. The takeaway lesson from the election was that Cuccinelli’s social agenda was a drag on his campaign and that victorian morality is a detriment to election. Also losing (badly) was his crazy as a loon running mate, Pastor EW Jackson, who was known mostly for sharing such diamonds of wisdom as

“Their minds are perverted; they’re frankly very sick people psychologically, mentally and emotionally; and they see everything through the lens of homosexuality. When they talk about love, they’re not talking about love, they’re talking about homosexual sex. And so, they can’t see clearly.”

Meanwhile, Chris Christie sailed to victory in his reelection bid for New Jersey Governor. And while Christie has consistently opposed marriage equality (even vetoing a marriage bill in February) he has done so in terms that separated him from Cuccinelli.

Christie has long been an advocate of civil unions (a position that, while outdated, would have placed him in the ‘strong ally’ category a decade ago) and has a good and close relationship with gay organizations in the state. And when confronted with the fact that civil unions no longer brought equality, he presented a legal argument in opposition to marriage that must have made his legal team fall on the floor laughing before signaling retreat on the position at the first moment that it became clear that his absurd legal argument was not being taken seriously.

This example of conservative loss coupled with moderate win is about the last thing that social conservatives in the Republican Party wanted to see.

A small bit of bad news comes from Holland, Michigan, where anti-gay discrimination seems to have won the day. In 2011 the city counsel, in a 5-4 vote, refused to enact a local non-discrimination ordinance, a decision that sharply divided the city. Two of the majority five were opposed in yesterday’s election based on their anti-gay vote, but they – along with the rest of the counsel – were reelected.

But in Washington, Ed Murray, the openly gay state legislator who successfully led the battle to bring marriage equality to the state, appears to have won election as Seattle’s mayor.

One election I did not watch – didn’t even know about – was also in New Jersey, where openly gay Republican Don Guardian beat the incumbent mayor of Atlantic City. The political situation of gay GOP candidates winning or performing well in major cities is now starting to seem less like an anomaly.

Alex Wan, a fiscally conservative gay Democrat in Atlanta easily won reelection, though not with enthusiastic support from Atlanta’s gay community who largely disapproved of Wan’s proposal to ban strip clubs and sex shops along Cheshire Bridge Road.

In Houston, Lesbian mayor Annise Parker easily won her third term.

In Alabama’s 1st District, mainstream Republican Bradley Byrne swept aside TeaParty opponent Dean Young, for his party’s nomination. Young, former exective director of Christian Family Association, defended wackadoodle Judge Roy Moore in 2002 with this statement:

“[Homosexuality is] a deviant lifestyle. It’s a destructive lifestyle,” Young said, according to reports in the Associated Press and the Montgomery Advertiser. “If they don’t like the laws of Alabama … then maybe they need to go back to California or Vermont or wherever they came from.”

I’m certain that there were a good many more I’ve not mentioned so please feel free to add to the list in the comments.

Scott Hutcheson

November 6th, 2013

Another one, Royal Oak, MI passed a non-discrimination ordinance.

I remember back when this was a rallying point for Gary Glenn about 12 years ago.

http://www.mlive.com/news/detroit/index.ssf/2013/11/gay_rights_ordinance_passes_in.html

Here’s the history:

http://www.toledoblade.com/JackLessenberry/2001/02/25/Royal-Oak-braces-for-an-emotional-civil-war.html

Mary in Austin

November 6th, 2013

In a special election for Texas State Representative, District 50, progressive Democrat and former Ann Richards staffer Celia Israel advanced to a December runoff against a Tea Party Republican, chiropractor Mike van de Walle. If Israel wins the race to represent the northern Austin suburbs, she will be the second openly gay person to serve in the Texas Legislature. (The legendary Glen Maxey, also of Austin, was the first.)

Richard Rush

November 6th, 2013

“A small bit of bad news comes from Holland, Michigan, where anti-gay discrimination seems to have won the day. . . .”

I’m waiting for Brian Brown to announce a VICTORY! celebration.

Mark

November 6th, 2013

I don’t understand your argument about how “Christie has long been an advocate of civil unions.” He advocated civil unions in the context of opposing marriage equality, arguing that separate but equal was good enough. Civil unions were already the law when he became governor–after a deciison from the state Supreme Court. He certainly didn’t propose the idea, and there’s no evidence that he supported civil unions before the Supreme Court decision.

Is there any evidence that if Christie had been governor of a state that had no relationship recognition at all, rather than NJ, he would have supported civil unions?

Timothy Kincaid

November 6th, 2013

Mark,

I can’t predict what would happen if Christie were in another state.

But he has advocated for civil unions not only in the context of opposing New Jersey marriage. He has proposed that the Federal Government set up civil unions for nationwide state recognition (a non-starter for a host of reasons). He has also argued that other Republicans in other states should support and adopt civil union laws.

I would have to research, but I recall a television special some years back in which the interviewer tried to question him on whether his support for civil unions would fly with other Republicans and I was – at that time – surprised that he didn’t go for “but this stops marriage”, instead responding that gay citizens deserve to have their relationships recognized.

Of course, he’s a politician in a blue state and says what he needs to say there. And, as Romney has illustrated, sometimes one’s support for gay citizens evaporates once one leaves those confines.

But there’s no reason – yet – to believe that he’s disingenuous. And, for what it’s worth, Garden State Equality has a better relationship with him and his office than they have had with previous governors.

And irrespective of Christie’s ‘real secret beliefs’, the point is that he won and Cuccinelli lost with the public positions that they hold.

Timothy Kincaid

November 6th, 2013

Richard,

I also expect them to declare that Cuccinelli’s fairly close election is evidence that the public really supports his wacky uber-conservative Catholic social positions.

Mark

November 6th, 2013

Timothy,

I suppose, in the end, we’ll see whether his support for civil unions flows from deep-seated personal belief or from political tactics: will support for civil unions form a plank in his 2016 presidential primary campaign? (I’m not holding my breath.)

It’s not surprising, I would say, that he didn’t publicly argue that civil unions provide a way to block marriage–doing so would have been politically foolish. But (as you know) his administration consistently argued in its legal filings that a state that conferred civil unions didn’t have to extend the right to marry.

The fact remains that he–and he alone–prevented equal marriage from coming to New Jersey for more than a year. Obviously he’s better than Cuccinelli–but he’s running in a state in which Cuccinelli-style anti-gay activism would never fly. I don’t really see why he should be given much credit for avoiding outright animus that would have doomed his campaign in 2009 while doing everything he could to block equal rights throughout his first term.

Timothy Kincaid

November 6th, 2013

Mark,

Yes, as you said, we will see what he does when he reaches outside a blue state.

But please note that this is not about giving or denying credit. It’s about comparing two Republican gubernatorial candidates and pondering the impact this will have on other states and elections and the Party in general.

Neon Genesis

November 7th, 2013

My city of Chattanooga TN is going to vote next week on whether or not to pass a domestic partners benefit bills for gay couples who are city employees and this is the bible belt.

Nathaniel

November 7th, 2013

Unfortunately, none of these are single-issue votes. Most of the politicians in these cases differ on more than just their stances on LGBT rights and equality. I have ally friends who were disappointed that their home state ultimately voted against Cuccinelli, and exit polls suggested that healthcare and jobs were the primary focus for voters; With Obamacare polling poorly this week and the government shutdown forgotten by many, Cuccinelli couldn’t help but gain some votes. Christie, on the other hand, might have had a larger margin of victory if the election had been before his veto. We can’t know these things for certain, which will give the Republican party the plausible deniability it needs to stay blind to the political trends it should no longer ignore. Difficult victories are not going to make the Democrats any more reflective on non-social issues either. We need to fight harder to make primaries the focus of the average voter. Only then will the trends be obvious.

Leave A Comment

All comments reflect the opinions of commenters only. They are not necessarily those of anyone associated with Box Turtle Bulletin. Comments are subject to our Comments Policy.

(Required)
(Required, never shared)

PLEASE NOTE: All comments are subject to our Comments Policy.

 

Latest Posts

Jubal

Another Temporary Hiatus

Today's Agenda Is Brought To You By...

Today In History, 1971: Minnesota Couple Stake Claim To First American Same-Sex Marriage

Today's Agenda Is Brought To You By...

Today In History, 1954: "Perverts Vanish" From Miami

Born On This Day, 1907: Evelyn Hooker

Born On This Day, 1925: Fr. John J. McNeill

Featured Reports

What Are Little Boys Made Of?

In this original BTB Investigation, we unveil the tragic story of Kirk Murphy, a four-year-old boy who was treated for “cross-gender disturbance” in 1970 by a young grad student by the name of George Rekers. This story is a stark reminder that there are severe and damaging consequences when therapists try to ensure that boys will be boys.

Slouching Towards Kampala: Uganda’s Deadly Embrace of Hate

When we first reported on three American anti-gay activists traveling to Kampala for a three-day conference, we had no idea that it would be the first report of a long string of events leading to a proposal to institute the death penalty for LGBT people. But that is exactly what happened. In this report, we review our collection of more than 500 posts to tell the story of one nation’s embrace of hatred toward gay people. This report will be updated continuously as events continue to unfold. Check here for the latest updates.

Paul Cameron’s World

In 2005, the Southern Poverty Law Center wrote that “[Paul] Cameron’s ‘science’ echoes Nazi Germany.” What the SPLC didn”t know was Cameron doesn’t just “echo” Nazi Germany. He quoted extensively from one of the Final Solution’s architects. This puts his fascination with quarantines, mandatory tattoos, and extermination being a “plausible idea” in a whole new and deeply disturbing light.

From the Inside: Focus on the Family’s “Love Won Out”

On February 10, I attended an all-day “Love Won Out” ex-gay conference in Phoenix, put on by Focus on the Family and Exodus International. In this series of reports, I talk about what I learned there: the people who go to these conferences, the things that they hear, and what this all means for them, their families and for the rest of us.

Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word "Change" Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For "Change"

The Heterosexual Agenda: Exposing The Myths

At last, the truth can now be told.

Using the same research methods employed by most anti-gay political pressure groups, we examine the statistics and the case studies that dispel many of the myths about heterosexuality. Download your copy today!

And don‘t miss our companion report, How To Write An Anti-Gay Tract In Fifteen Easy Steps.

Testing The Premise: Are Gays A Threat To Our Children?

Anti-gay activists often charge that gay men and women pose a threat to children. In this report, we explore the supposed connection between homosexuality and child sexual abuse, the conclusions reached by the most knowledgeable professionals in the field, and how anti-gay activists continue to ignore their findings. This has tremendous consequences, not just for gay men and women, but more importantly for the safety of all our children.

Straight From The Source: What the “Dutch Study” Really Says About Gay Couples

Anti-gay activists often cite the “Dutch Study” to claim that gay unions last only about 1½ years and that the these men have an average of eight additional partners per year outside of their steady relationship. In this report, we will take you step by step into the study to see whether the claims are true.

The FRC’s Briefs Are Showing

Tony Perkins’ Family Research Council submitted an Amicus Brief to the Maryland Court of Appeals as that court prepared to consider the issue of gay marriage. We examine just one small section of that brief to reveal the junk science and fraudulent claims of the Family “Research” Council.

Daniel Fetty Doesn’t Count

Daniel FettyThe FBI’s annual Hate Crime Statistics aren’t as complete as they ought to be, and their report for 2004 was no exception. In fact, their most recent report has quite a few glaring holes. Holes big enough for Daniel Fetty to fall through.