It was a bittersweet election this time around. While Kittysneezes’ pet referendum, Ref. 71, is passing, and looks like it’s mathematically and statistically almost a sure thing at this point, and Kalamazoo voters approved an initiative to grant gays protection in housing and jobs; Maine voters approved Question 1, which ends gay marriage there, which is a complete let down and illustrates why we shouldn’t vote on human rights issues. Even the ultimately positive results on Ref. 71 are somewhat depressing — here’s the map of which counties approved and rejected it. If you notice, most did reject it, but King County is the biggest county, and the one that has Seattle in it, which was key in getting the results we needed.
Still — it honestly seems like one of those things that should be obvious. I don’t get how sharing the ability to get married with people who are gay harms anyone. I suppose that’s one of the more surprising things about the Maine decision — their medical marijuana initiative also on the ballot passed. Typically, one thinks of both issues as the sort of social libertarian idea of “If it hurts no one, there’s nothing wrong” — and yet, apparently, they’re not. At least not in Maine, anyway.
I don’t know what’s next for Maine; I’ve seen the results blamed on the fact that it was an off-year election and gay marriage was the big ticket item, which is likely to only turn out those with a strong feeling either way on the issue. I suppose I’m a little sad that a lot of people apparently don’t think rights for their fellow citizens is something to feel strongly about, but there is a point there. Perhaps other people thought it was a foregone conclusion that Question 1 would get rejected, particularly since No on 1 outspent Yes on 1 by a factor of two and Nate Silver called the Yes campaign “amateurish”.
It’s also thought that defeats like this will lead to the Supreme Court stepping in and legalizing gay marriage once and for all — I hope that’s the case. But in the meantime, we’ve got to hope for people to do the right thing. At least one case of that happening is going on in New Jersey — even though he was voted out in favor of a right-wing anti-gay candidate, Governor John Corzine has said that he’ll sign the upcoming equality bill that’s about to pass the legislature, enacting it into law. There’s more information here if you’re interested. And according to a SLOG commenter in NJ, there’s no referendum/”People’s Veto” process in that state, meaning that if the bill passes and Corzine signs it, it’ll be very hard to overturn. Let’s hope for the best. History will prove us right — but the sooner we can help it along, the better.
Anyway — that’s it for our Ref. 71 coverage. Next week, Kittysneezes is back to our normal pop culture based material and whatnot. Thanks for sticking with us, and thank you for voting.