Last night’s election win was a big one for President Barack Obama, reelected to serve as our nation’s leader for a second 4 year term, but it was also a monumental and historic night for equality. For the first time ever in this country, same-sex marriage proposals were passed by voters in 3 states and an amendment to ban same-sex marriage in another state was voted down by voters. People, this is very significant. Marriage Equality has been passed in this country by way of judicial ruling and by legislation … but it was always voted down by voters when the matter was put to popular vote (Proposition 8 here in California, you might remember, took away the right to same-sex marriage here 4 years ago). For the first time ever, voters in not just one state but 4 states stood up for equality for all. I’m just stunned and elated. History was made in other ways last night as well. Tammy Baldwin was elected as the first openly gay US Senator (she is also a veteran) and in New Hampshire, the State is now governed by all women! The governor and entire Congressional contingent are women! If all of this combined doesn’t prove that America is ready to move FORWARD with progress, then I don’t know what does. Read on to learn about all of this history and very good news.
In a historic turnaround, the ballot box is showing America’s shifting attitudes about same-sex marriage. After gay marriage rights died at the polls dozens of times in the past, on Tuesday they passed in at least two states. Rarely do popular votes reflect such dramatic social changes. The result: Maryland and Maine will now allow couples like Cyrino Patane and James Trinidad to tie the knot. The Maryland couple has been together for seven years, and now, after the historic vote, they plan to marry in the next six months to a year. “Both families will be at the wedding,” Patane said. But the win was hard fought and the margin of victory was small. “We’ve lost at the ballot box 32 times,” said Paul Guequierre of Human Rights Campaign. “History was made tonight.” In Maine, Erica Tobey and Ali Ouellette wed in September, but only now will the women’s marriage be recognized under Maine law. “It’s hard to overstate the national significance of this vote,” Marc Solomon, campaign director at Freedom to Marry, said of the Maine referendum. In Maryland, where just 51.9% of voters approved gay marriage rights, “It was a little bit pins and needles,” said Human Rights Campaign’s Kevin Nix. “It was going to be a close call all along.” A similar ballot measure in Washington state is pending. And in Minnesota, voters rejected a measure that would have banned same-sex marriage. Pollsters got a hint of the coming change. Recent national surveys have shown shifting attitudes toward same-sex marriage, with a majority of Americans now approving of marriages between two men or two women. A CNN/ORC poll in June found that a majority of Americans support marriage rights for gays and lesbians, reflecting the shift in public opinion.
I know it’s a cliché, one that I’ve used many times before, but the winds of change are truly blowing in this country. Bigotry, hatred … these things have no place in our nation’s governance. We are a country that values justice and equality for all. Yes, we still have a long way to go before marriage equality will be available to the entire country but we’re getting there. We are getting there … not as slowly but very surely.
Tammy Baldwin‘s win in Wisconsin is just … amazing. She is now the first openly gay person EVER to be elected to the US Senate:
Tammy Baldwin made history Tuesday night — twice. She became the first openly gay politician, and first Wisconsin woman, elected to the U.S. Senate. The seven-term Democratic congresswoman edged past former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson in a win that advocacy groups hailed as a significant stride toward bringing diversity to the Senate. “This is a big day for gay women in America, and really, for all communities who aren’t the typical straight, white, wealthy men elected to Congress,” political commentator Sally Kohn said. There has never been an openly gay or lesbian member of the U.S. Senate, according to several LGBT advocacy groups. Baldwin is one of four openly gay House members, along with fellow Democrats Barney Frank, of Massachusetts; David Cicilline, of Rhode Island; and Jared Polis, of Colorado. “For the LGBT person growing up in Wisconsin or anywhere across country, seeing an openly gay woman who is able to rise up to become a senator in the U.S. Congress is an incredible role model,” said Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Commission.
Though Baldwin’s sexual orientation makes her victory notable, it rarely came up during the campaign, unless it was called a non-issue … What started as a long shot for Baldwin eventually narrowed to a close finish, with the born-and-raised Wisconsinite capturing 51% of the vote, according to CNN projections.
The people of Wisconsin elected the right person to represent their state in the US Senate. They did not care who she loved, they voted her into office because of her ability to represent them in Congress. Tammy Baldwin may be the first openly gay US Senator to be elected into office but she will not be the last.
And can we give it up to the women of New Hampshire?! They are running that state now:
For the first time in political history, an all-female delegation will serve in the U.S. Congress. New Hampshire’s two House seats went to Democrats Ann McLane Kuster and former Rep. Carol Shea-Porter. Republican Kelly Ayotte and Democrat Jeanne Shaheen already serve in the Senate. Meanwhile, Democrat Maggie Hassan won the state’s governor’s race against Republican challenger Ovide Lamontagne. With the two female House victories, New Hampshire voters sent both of its Republican male congressmen packing.
The women of New Hampshire are Republican and Democrat and they have been elected to govern that state. I could WEEP at how monumental this achievement is. Truly, the 2012 election will go down in History as a point in time when our nation took a turn for the better. We will look back to November 6, 2012 as a pivotal point in our nation’s history … it’s really amazing that we are apart of that change. Savor this moment, your children and their children will be learning about this election in their History classes.
And I have to give it up at least one more time for President Obama … he, too, made History … again:
A black man is returning to the White House. Four years ago, it was a first, the breaking of a racial barrier. Tuesday night, it was history redux. And more. In the midst of national splintering and a time of deep ideological animosity, Americans elected President Barack Obama to a second term. And thousands rejoiced in his victory, one that seemed sweeter and, perhaps, more significant. “This is affirmation that his color doesn’t matter and that his message resonated with people,” said Yale University sociologist Jeffrey Alexander, author of “Obama’s Victory and the Democratic Struggle for Power.” “It is very important in that it will indicate that an African-American can be viewed for what he says and not what he is.” Had Obama lost the election, he would likely have been remembered in history as the first black president, and maybe little else, Alexander said. Now, he has a chance to create a legacy rooted not in his identity, but in his ideas. University of Houston sociologist Shayne Lee agreed. “If this country wants President Obama to have another term, I’m ready to say that it’s a significant moment,” he said. As an African-American, Lee understood the power of 2008. But his excitement was measured. He knew the nation was tired then of two costly wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, a sinking economy and an administration that he felt excluded ordinary people. He thought Arizona Sen. John McCain was a weak candidate and that the cards were stacked in Obama’s favor. Four years later, Obama traversed a much tougher road, Lee said.
Obama‘s win is very significant. He could’ve been dismissed as an aberration if he weren’t able to win reelection. But his leadership proved to the nation that he is not only a capable president but an accomplished one as well. I cried last night. Honestly, I wept tears of joy at all of the amazing wins for our country last night. As I said, savor the moment people … trust me. This election will go down in History — and we were there!