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Christie has long been an advocate of civil unions (a position that, while outdated, would have placed him in the ‘strong ally’ category a decade ago) and has a good and close relationship with gay organizations in the state.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.