Legalize LIBERTY. Vote CHOICE. Be SECULAR. Stop OPPRESSION.
ON TUESDAY, Americans in Maryland, Maine and Washington state voted by almost identical four-point margins to extend marriage rights to gay and lesbian couples; in a fourth state, Minnesota, voters rejected a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, again by about the same margin. With those ballot victories for marriage equality, the first after a 14-year string of defeats in 32 states, it is now reasonable to imagine a day in the not-very-distant future when marriage for gay and lesbian couples across this country will be unexceptional, unencumbered and mostly unremarked upon.
Maryland, Maine and Washington will become the seventh, eighth and ninth states, in addition to the District of Columbia, to permit same-sex marriage. (California did also, but only briefly, in 2008.) In Maine’s case, Tuesday’s vote neatly reversed the outcome of a similar referendum just three years ago that annulled a marriage law passed by the state legislature. Other states, including ones that have voted against marriage equality, are likely to follow suit. The tide has turned. (read more)
While six states and the District of Columbia have legalized same-sex marriage through judicial or legislative decisions, voters elsewhere had rejected it more than 30 times in a row until Tuesday.
Gay rights groups also applauded the election of Rep. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin as the first openly gay senator and the victories of several openly gay members of the House of Representatives.
Minnesota residents Tuesday rejected a proposal to amend the state Constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman; similar measures have been enshrined in the constitutions of 30 states. A state law barring same-sex marriage remains on the books in Minnesota, but with the defeat of the amendment, the door remains open to a change in the law by the Legislature or the courts.
In another sign of shifting attitudes, a drive by social conservatives in Iowa to unseat David S. Wiggins, one of seven state Supreme Court justices who voted unanimously in 2007 to legalize same-sex marriage, fell short. Only two years ago, three other justices who faced similar electoral challenges were voted out as conservatives, supported by out-of-state donations, argued that the court had overstepped its role.
Maine voters, who three years ago rejected a law to authorize same-sex marriage, also reversed themselves. By Wednesday afternoon, with 85 percent of the ballots counted, the tally stood at 53.2 percent voting yes to 46.8 percent saying no. (read more)
Same-sex marriage is recognized in several jurisdictions of the United States. The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), enacted in 1996, prevents the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages and allows each state to refuse recognition of same-sex marriages performed in other states. As of November 2012, six states—Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont—as well as the District of Columbia and two Native American tribes, had already legalized same-sex marriage. In the November 2012 general election, voters approved ballot measures in Maine, Maryland and Washington to permit same-sex marriage in those states.
Maryland and Rhode Island recognize same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions. California, which briefly granted same-sex marriage in 2008, now only recognizes them on a conditional basis. Laws that would legalize same-sex marriage in Washington and Maryland were passed in 2012, but both were subject to referendums in the November 2012 elections. Maryland voters upheld the law, and results in Washington are pending. Furthermore, Maine voters passed a citizens’ initiative to establish same-sex marriage. Same-sex marriage has been legalized through court rulings and legislative action, as well as through popular vote. Nine states prohibit same-sex marriage in statute and thirty prohibit it in their constitution. The movement to obtain marriage rights and benefits for same-sex couples in the United States began in the 1970s, but became more prominent in U.S. politics in 1993 when the Hawaii Supreme Court declared the state’s prohibition to be unconstitutional in Baehr v. Lewin.
During the 21st century, public support for legalizing same-sex marriage has grown considerably, and various national polls conducted since 2011 show that a majority of Americans support same-sex marriage. On May 9, 2012, Barack Obama became the first sitting U.S. president to publicly declare support for the legalization of same-sex marriage.
– Gameness til the End