Tomyamaguchi’s Weblog

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Everything But Marriage, A Tale of Two States

Yes, I am disappointed that marriage equality lost at the polls again, this time in Maine, but I continue to be reluctant to equate the passage of Measure 1 with homophobia. The vote was close, but we should have won. It should have been apparent to everyone that this is a civil rights issue. Obviously, it was not. But we shouldn’t assume that everyone who voted for Measure 1 hates gay people, nor should we label Maine residents as a bunch of ignorant bigots. Yes, in the same election, voters approved a medical marijuana initiative. This is good news for people with HIV/AIDS who use the drug to stimulate their appetites and counter the side effects of chemotherapy. As an environmentalist, I am also happy to see that a measure to reduce taxes on cars was soundly defeated, but that is another issue. The fact that these votes are close is amazing, considering the size of opposition to marriage equality just a decade ago.

Meanwhile, in Washington, voters passed a liberal domestic partners initiative Referendum 71, also know as Everything But Marriage. If anything, we should be concerned about the closeness of that vote, about 52% to 48%. A look at the map of election results shows that the counties who approved the measure are clustered in the northwest area of the state, around the large population centers of Seattle and Tacoma. The more rural areas tended to reject the measure. (In Maine, Portland voters rejected Measure 1 by 73%.) It is in these rural areas where we need to do our work.

The best thing we can continue to do is be out and visible. The more people who know a friend or family member who is gay, the more likely they will become our allies. We need to build on the issues where we have majority support. We now have an anti-hate crimes law, and should soon have repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, as well as passage of a law against employment discrimination. Finally, we should treat those who disagree with us on marriage with respect. We should have answers for their concerns about the definition of marriage. I have some thoughts in a previous blog entry and welcome comments. If we can get Everything But Marriage now, we can build upon that to achieve our rights in all aspects of public life.

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November 5, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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