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Charlie Butchart-Cullen, 3, and her sister Sophia Butchart-Cullen, 1, sit in a wagon at the LA Pride parade in West Hollywood, California, June 10, 2012. The parade is part of the annual Los Angeles lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender pride celebration
Fight for Marriage bug
The anti-marriage equality National Organization for Marriage brags that it has won something like 30 anti-gay ballot initiatives in a row. In reality, Arizona defeated one such measure in 2006, but then passed a similar one in 2008. So yeah, in every state targeted, NOM has won.

This is the year that stops. Ballot initiatives in Maine, Maryland and Washington seek to ratify marriage equality. And while same-sex couples in Minnesota don't have the freedom to marry, an amendment is on the ballot to enshrine that discrimination into the state's constitution.

Unlike the past, when proponents were swimming against public opinion, our society is becoming increasingly tolerant. Three of these four battles are looking particularly well, and Minnesota is too close to call. It's time to end NOM's win streak, and do it with an exclamation mark—by sweeping this year's initiatives.

As such, we're getting involved in these races. You can help the fight for freedom and equality by donating $3 to the four campaigns coordinating the good guys in their respective states.

Here's the state of play in each state and the organizations doing the heavy lifting:

Goal ThermometerMAINE
Mainers United for Marriage
Back in June, several polls had the pro-equality initiative ahead by almost 20 points. This would be a remarkable turnaround from 2009, when a ballot initiative narrowly reversed the state's marriage equality law. Well, a PPP poll due out soon will show a much tighter lead—52-44. This fight is far from over, and we have to make sure the good guys have the resources to pull this one out.

Equality Maryland
Maryland's legislature passed, and the governor signed, a marriage equality law earlier this year, so just like in Maine in 2009, reactionary forces in the state got the signatures needed to attempt a citizen's veto. Of course, this isn't 2009, and Maryland is more liberal than Maine. The last poll on the topic in the state, back in May, had the good guys ahead 57-37 two weeks after Pres. Barack Obama "evolved" on the issue.

The movement over the last two months can be explained almost entirely by a major shift in opinion about same-sex marriage among black voters. Previously 56% said they would vote against the new law with only 39% planning to uphold it. Those numbers have now almost completely flipped, with 55% of African Americans planning to vote for the law and only 36% now opposed.
We can't assume the lead remains that big, particularly considering what's happened in Maine, so we have to keep pushing hard. And a reminder—marriage equality initiatives usually poll better than actual final results. So we need a cushion going into Election Day.

Minnesotans United For All Families
The polling shows this one will be a nail-biter:

-PPP's newest poll [September 10-11) on the constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage in Minnesota finds it virtually tied, with 48% of voters supporting the ban to 47% who oppose it. In January we found 48/44 support for the ban, while in June we found 49/43 opposition. It looks like a toss up.
Given how the anti-equality forces tend to overperform the polls at the ballot box, this looks like we're trailing by a bit. But opinion is clearly fluid on the issue, and the lack of a top-of-the-ticket draw for conservative voters could mean the difference.

Washington United For Marriage
The legislature passed, and the governor signed, a law legalizing same-sex marriages early this year. By June, the reactionaries had the signatures needed to try and reverse the new law at the ballot box. The polling has looked good for us—the Elway Poll, probably the best pollster in the state, had 51 percent for equality, 37 percent opposed last week. A SUSA poll earlier this month had it 56-38, an improvement from 50-43 in their July survey.

While some of these look better than others, these are all winnable. 2012 is the year when we stop playing defense and go on the offensive against the NOM neanderthals and their reactionary allies. I've been waiting for this moment for a long time, and the time is finally here.

We have incredible activists doing amazing work in those states. Let's get their backs: Give $3 to each of those four campaigns.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Wed Sep 19, 2012 at 03:15 PM PDT.

Also republished by Kossacks for Marriage Equality and Maryland Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Here in Wash. State has per the poll results (14+ / 0-)

    you stated, we are cautiously optimistic, we will obtain marriage equality. I will be watching good old reliably GOP Spokane County to see what the vote is locally. I am sure the nays will have it here, but on the blue and hugely populated west side, it should sail it and the rest of the state to victory!

  •  Let's shut them up for a while. (19+ / 0-)

    It's not just that I'm presenting an update on the state of marriage equality at a conference I go to every year in March.  Maggie and Brian keep telling anyone who'll listen that when the "people" vote on these issues marriage equality always loses.  It's time to flip that switch.

    -7.75, -8.10; All it takes is security in your own civil rights to make you complacent, and we are all Wisconsin.

    by Dave in Northridge on Wed Sep 19, 2012 at 03:18:35 PM PDT

    •  Conference... (6+ / 0-)

      Went to a conference on refugees today in DC.  One of the best attended sessions was on LGBT refugees.  It's not just the US that's changing; it's the world.  It makes one hopeful to see so many first generation immigrants from cultures that often don't accept LGBT people nodding their heads in agreement with the idea that couples should have the right to love one another and not be separated in this dangerous world, be they straight or same-sex.  It will be a while before the US resettles same-sex partners.  Canada does it.  Most European countries do too.  It is coming, even here.  

      The pressure is building behind the dam, and the cracks are widening.  Things are changing in places one would not expect, and they are changing fast.

      “If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.” Charles Darwin

      by ivorybill on Wed Sep 19, 2012 at 03:27:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  First we need to change immigration law (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dave in Northridge, ivorybill, Smoh

        so that people can petition to sponsor their same-sex partners who are here on temporary visas, so they can get green cards and begin the process of becoming full citizens. Overturning DOMA, whether in the Congress or in the courts, would be a major step in that direction.

        "If we ever needed to vote we sure do need to vote now" -- Rev. William Barber, NAACP

        by Cali Scribe on Wed Sep 19, 2012 at 03:47:44 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Didn't Christie promise to put NJ's to a vote? (7+ / 0-)

    After he vetoed the legislative passage?  Where is that one?

    We have a greed with which we have agreed. -Eddie Vedder "Society"

    by Jacoby Jonze on Wed Sep 19, 2012 at 03:19:33 PM PDT

  •  Very strange (8+ / 0-)

    Isn't polling about 50-45 in favor of marriage equality nationally? Assuming the undecideds are all no and the country is 50-50, shouldn't it still be passing in Minnesota fairly comfortably?

  •  I predict... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave in Northridge

    Within 2-3 weeks, mitt's money will be dried up and the super pacs will shift to congressional and senate candidates, they will write off this privileged fool.

  •  Does this mean that centrist Dems were right? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    When they told us in the '90s and '00s that we needed to wait quietly instead of trying to force the issue through legislation?  [The 'issue' being civil rights for millions of Americans?]

    I ask this in all sincerity and without any agenda.  I am legitimately curious as to what we can learn from the tactics that brought us to this point on an issue that 30 years ago seemed like an impossible dream of utopian fiction writers.  What did we do right that got us here?  What did we not do that was also right?  Can it be called a victory if we simply waited for bigots to die out and a new generation come to the fore?

    Seriously, I'm wondering.

    Please do not be alarmed. We are about to engage... the nozzle.

    by Terrapin on Wed Sep 19, 2012 at 03:25:37 PM PDT

    •  You know (6+ / 0-)

      I agree with you.  Andrew Sullivan is a quirky sort of guy - claims to be a conservative, but is usually worth reading.  His take on this is that movements build slowly, and that expanding marriage fits an older Burkean style conservatism.  He would agree with you.  

      But equally, people don't exercise human rights unless they take them - the first stages are the radicals (in this case spurred to action by the AIDS epidemic). Then comes the long process of changing opinion often in geographically isolated spaces.  Then the ideas become mainstream, and eventually they are accepted.  

      I suspect DOMA is doomed if Obama is re-elected and the issue comes before the Supreme Court.  Kennedy might vote with us on this, especially if the country is fundamentally changing the way it appears to be changing.  In this case, it might be good that the people lead and the courts follow, but at some point the courts are going to have to step up.

      “If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.” Charles Darwin

      by ivorybill on Wed Sep 19, 2012 at 03:34:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I appreciate the response(s) but... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        ... I was not advancing an opinion on this one way or the other.  I do not know what to think except to be happy that things are heading in our direction and wondering what lessons could be learned from what seems like an all too rare Liberal victory.

        Please do not be alarmed. We are about to engage... the nozzle.

        by Terrapin on Wed Sep 19, 2012 at 05:23:08 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  this issue wasn't even on the radar in the 90's... (10+ / 0-)

      ...and we are where we are because we stopped listening to folks telling us to wait.

      aggressive action + persistent education = win.

    •  Had we waited quietly (6+ / 0-)

      things wouldn't be where they are today.

      People support marriage equality now precisely because we've been fighting for it.

      Remember that DOMA and the ballot measures and state constitutional amendments that got passed were brought up by those opposed to equality.

    •  Without lawsuits and pressure from LGBT activists (6+ / 0-)

      we would never gotten to this point.

      Waiting quietly never accomplished anything, and this is a perfect case in point. What moved the Overton window were 40 years of lawsuits against state and federal governments and the military, high-profile murders of gay people, gay teen suicides, and millions of gay people coming out to their family and friends.

      Next time you want something to happen, I wouldn't suggest accomplishing it from the sofa.

      "I was a big supporter of waterboarding" - Dick Cheney 2/14/10

      by Bob Love on Wed Sep 19, 2012 at 03:53:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  When we "waited" (6+ / 0-)

      We got DOMA and DADT.  It was activitism that gave the middle room to be active without appearing to be reactionary.  Without the extremes, the center never moves.

      Minority rights should never be subject to majority vote.

      by lostboyjim on Wed Sep 19, 2012 at 04:02:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Use the anti-miscegenation laws as a yardstick (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LuvSet, Terrapin

      In the case of anti-miscegenation laws, it was the judiciary that struck the first blow when the California Supreme Court legalized interracial marriages in 1948.  The U.S. Supreme Court in the Loving vs Virginia decision struck down anti-miscegenation laws in all 50 states in 1967.  

      In between, several states legalized interracial marriage through a combination of legislative and judicial actions.  And the populace gradually came to accept interracial marriage.  The U.S. Supreme Court finished the job when the Loving vs Virginia decision struck down the remaining anti-miscegenation laws.

      The clock on same sex marriage started when the Massachusetts Supreme Court struck down that state's anti-gay marriage law in 2004.  Now, we have gay marriages legal in other states through a combination of legislative and judicial actions.  Civil rights are only rarely advanced by referendum, since those protections extend to the minority whose rights were not yet recognized.  

      It took 19 years for interracial marriage to go from one state to all 50.  During that time, states took their own paths towards legalizing it, and eventually a majority of the population came to accept interracial marriage.  The U.S. Supreme Court stepped in only after it had taken hold across the majority of the country.  

      I see a very similar trend here with same sex marriage -- it's inevitable, and the U.S. Supreme Court won't stop the tide once it has started.  Several states are already close to a tipping point.  And those forces opposed to same sex marriage will only lose ground via simple generational succession, as young people overwhelmingly favor marriage equality.

      Think about where we were four years ago -- Proposition 8 passed in California the same night that Barack Obama won the state in a landslide.  Even if you duplicate the votes for everyone that voted in 2008, Proposition 8 would likely fail today by virtue of older voters dying off and younger voters becoming eligible.  This same phenomenon is happening across the country, so the only question becomes whether legislatures and judiciaries want to lead or get trampled by history.

      •  I'd say the clock started in 1996 (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        when a Hawaiian Judge K. S. Chang ruled the bar against same sex couples being married was unconstitutional in that state. He stayed his ruling until the Hawaiian Supreme Court could rule. The Hawaiian Supreme Court didn't want to. It looked like they probably would rule the same way as Judge Chang - or, at least, the chances were good. That is, if they ever ruled on the case. While they dragged their feet the anti-gays woke up. A ballot measure got enough signatures to go up for a vote in Hawaii in 1998 to empower the legislature to define marriage. The ballot measure passed handily, the Hawaiian legislature quickly defined gays out of marriage, and only then did the Hawaiian Supreme Court condescend to rule - and the court ruled that the case was moot.

        Alaska passed an anti-equality measure in 1998, too.

        In 1999 the Vermont Supreme Court had the courage the Hawaii Supreme Court lacked and ruled that same sex couples could not be excluded from the benefits and responsibilities of marriage. They knew they were getting out ahead of public opinion, however, and punted a bit, telling the legislature it had to come up with a way to make same sex couples equal but they didn't have to use the word "marriage." Thus "civil unions" were born - although there was a lot labor involved in that, too.

        In 2000 voters in four states voted to prevent marriage equality. 2002 & 2004 saw 14 ballot measures.

        In 2004 the Massachusetts Supreme Court went where the Vermont Supreme Court hadn't dared. Considering the events at the ballot box the Massachusetts decision was a stunner.

        •  But, legal recognition didn't begin until Mass. (0+ / 0-)

          The Hawaii ruling was a start, but I don't think it marks the beginning of the timeline simply because it did not result in any legally recognized same sex marriages.  

          The Massachusetts ruling was a watershed moment because it meant that same sex couples could begin exercising their right to marry, in much the same way that the 1948 California ruling unequivocally gave legal recognition to interracial marriages.  And it follows historical trends where the judiciary is way ahead of the electorate.  That's why I made the point that civil rights are rarely advanced by referendum.  

          Social attitudes, particularly among older age groups (who also happened to vote more), are always a laggard.  According to the Wikipedia entry, 90+% of white Americans still opposed interracial marriage in a 1958 Gallup poll -- a full decade after California's anti-miscegenation laws were struck down and after other state legislatures and courts had begun overturning their own anti-miscegenation laws.  

          So, the American public is actually embracing marriage equality more rapidly than they did interracial marriage.  Marriage equality will happen, it's only a matter of when.

    •  The issue didn't really "wait quietly"; (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      there was constant activism to get us to this point, though probably the single biggest influence was Hollywood, not any single political campaign.

      The centrist Dems were certainly right that making this a platform issue would have been a terrible idea until very recently (it could maybe have been done in 2008, but not before, and in the 1990s, absolutely not).  There's a tipping point in these things; it took activism and other cultural influences to get us to that point (as well as, yes, people dying off).

  •  Thanks for this post. (7+ / 0-)

    Thanks for the fundraising ask.

    It means a lot.

    Really feeling pretty confident this is the year it passes in at least one state.

    Actually, feeling confident about ME & WA.

    Supporter: "Senator, you have the vote of every thinking person!" Adlai Stevenson: "That's not enough, madam, we need a majority!"

    by Scott Wooledge on Wed Sep 19, 2012 at 03:25:53 PM PDT

  •  Unfortunately, here in Maryland (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bob Love, mconvente, annieli

    Marriage equality and the Dream Act, both on the ballot, have been swallowed up by casino gambling for National Harbor at the Washington Beltway on the Potomac River.  Both sides have taken over television and radio advertising, it's all you hear and see every commercial.  The antis are funded by the current casino operators who don't want the competition, the pros are the guys who will move into National Harbor.  They are dumping tens of millions of dollars into this, so that the two ballot questions we care about are getting lost.

    "We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals, now we know that it is bad economics." Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Jan. 20, 1937

    by Navy Vet Terp on Wed Sep 19, 2012 at 03:26:04 PM PDT

  •  just donated for Maine (4+ / 0-)

    ...i've been procrastinating, so thanks for the nudge!

    "An inglorious peace is better than a dishonorable war." -Mark Twain

    by humanistique on Wed Sep 19, 2012 at 03:26:50 PM PDT

  •  Minnesota (0+ / 0-)

    One other thing to remember is that Minnesota requires a majority of all voters voting to vote in favor of an amendment for the amendment to be adopted; if a voter does not vote on the question, it has the same effect as a vote against the amendment. As long as the "yes" vote is not a majority of ballots cast, equality will prevail.

    That being said, if an absolute majority fills in the "no" bubble on the ballot, I believe the Legislature would have to consider it a mandate to enact marriage equality into law.

  •  ActBlue needs PayPal (0+ / 0-)

    I'm shocked that I still can't donate to progressive causes via PayPal.

    Why in the world would Actblue not allow PayPal donations?

    The only way I'm going to do financial transactions in the Internet is via PayPal, so if anyone wants my money, get with the program and use PayPal.  My money awaits.

  •  My only problem with all these marriage "equality" (0+ / 0-)

    proposals is that they're all too short-sighted; in about 30 years we'll be fighting this all over again when we break down the next social barrier...

  •  Many thanks, Kos (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bythesea, Cali Scribe, mconvente

    I'll be donating just a wee bit more to all the campaigns (in addition to what I've already sent).

    Having this on the front means a great deal and, as always, your support for LGBT equality is deeply appreciated.

    He should peer deep into the abyss. He should look straight into the heart of darkness where lies a Republican defeat - Peggy Noonan

    by Steven Payne on Wed Sep 19, 2012 at 03:39:58 PM PDT

  •  Fm NCW (4+ / 0-)

    I'll be voting for equal rights in WA this November.  Eastern WA is VERY conservative.  (Check out the goofball who is the Spokane Rep in Congress... Cathy McMorris Rodgers.)  I live in North Central WA.  There will be few votes from my area, but Western WA voters should carry the day.  I hope.

  •  And the longer Republicans keep pushing this (4+ / 0-)

    the more firmly they'll be identified with bigotry - of every kind.

    "I was a big supporter of waterboarding" - Dick Cheney 2/14/10

    by Bob Love on Wed Sep 19, 2012 at 03:45:43 PM PDT

  •  The thing that polling doesn't show (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave in Northridge

    is intensity.  Are a majority of Americans in favor of marriage equality?  Sure.  Where does this majority live?  in the big states with big cities, which concentrates their voting power considerably in a few places.  Those heterosexual people that support us are at best lukewarm in their support, meaning that they think it is a pretty good idea but not something that keeps them up at night.  Those that are opposed are vehemently opposed.  This is a life or death issue for them, and they will show up in droves to smite teh evil gay out to steal their husband away and recruit their children.

    We need our friends to feel as passionate about this issue as our enemies, and I fear that we are not there yet...

    When do I get to vote on your marriage?

    by jarhead5536 on Wed Sep 19, 2012 at 03:46:16 PM PDT

    •  That's unlikely to happen, (0+ / 0-)

      for a few reasons.

      Firstly, the most pro-gay generation are young people, who just don't bother to vote, for any reason.

      And there's always going to be a limit to how passionately a group rights issue will resonate with people who aren't part of that group, just because it doesn't directly affect them.

      In the long term, of course, it won't matter and we'll win on this issue, but you'll never whip the same kind of fervor into most of the majority in favour of gay rights as you will into the people opposed to it.

  •  Marriage equality will be an issue in Iowa (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    It's not directly on the ballot, but it will be a factor in state senate races and a judicial retention election.

    Republicans in the Iowa House passed an anti-equality constitutional amendment last spring. It would restore the Iowa DOMA that was overturned by the Iowa Supreme Court  in 2009. It was blocked in the state senate where the Democrats have a bare 26 to 24 advantage. Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal refused to bring it to a vote. At a candidate forum last week, the Republican senate candidate in my district promised to vote for the constitution amendment if elected. His opponent, Democrat Mary Bruner, said she supports marriage equality as a matter of civil rights.

    In 2009, the seven Iowa Supreme Court justices voted unanimously to overturn the Iowa DOMA. Three of those justices were up for a retention vote in 2010. A campaign led by the usual hate groups managed to get them voted out. The justices serve eight years. This year, another one of seven justices, David Wiggins, is up for a retention vote, and the anti-equality forces have promised another campaign to get him voted out. A new group, Justice Not Politics Action, has been formed to support Wiggins' retention.

  •  The larger, longer lesson (4+ / 0-)

    The larger, longer lesson from this is that we, meaning ordinary people, can change things for the better.  

    Despite well-financed anti-GLBT efforts, the opinions and votes of the American people have been radically changed on this issue in a very short space of time.  

    This happened because we, including especially some very courageous people, forced the human facts of the issue into public discussion.  

    I'm not saying this fight is over, but we ought to look at this and gain some confidence in our ability to be a democratically governed nation.

  •  Thanks for the link to donate (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    My first donation of the year to a political cause.  Let's go 4/4.

    Minority rights should never be subject to majority vote.

    by lostboyjim on Wed Sep 19, 2012 at 04:03:36 PM PDT

  •  Hmmm. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a PPP poll due out soon will show a much tighter lead—52-44.
    So Kos has access to PPP polls that are not jointly commissioned between PPP and Dkos before mere mortals?


    •  yeah, that's discouraging (0+ / 0-)

      After what happened in 2009, I think we want to see a lead of more like 55% on the "yes" side.  Hope it's just a temporary blip; will be interested to see the actual question asked and the crosstabs.
      The decrease in support surprises me given the comparative lack of TV ads from the opposition.
      Coupled with the latest PPP poll on the Senate race, I'm not liking the trend of voter sentiment in Maine.

  •  Just FYI what's going on in MD (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eryk, LuvSet, tbrucegodfrey

    Unless you're paying attention here in MD, no one would know that gay marriage was on the ballot. We're hearing advertisements for and against casinos every single day--we're getting phone calls and bombarded with canvassers about this.

    About gay marriage? Hardly a peep.

    The opposition to gay marriage here is weak. The worry is more about the enthusiasm of supporters. It's harder to get folks to come out in force to vote for something that they may not think affects them personally that much. Hopefully, in this respect, this being on the ballot during a Presidential election is a good thing.

    Stephanie Dray
    Author of Historical Fiction (Berkley Books)

    by stephdray on Wed Sep 19, 2012 at 04:35:08 PM PDT

  •  Would just like to point out that in Mass., (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    a measure to repeal gay marriage by amending the state constitution couldn't get on the ballot. It failed to get the necessary 25% of state legislators to support it in two consecutive joint sessions/constitutional conventions. The final vote in 2007 was 45 in favor and 151 opposed.

    So yes, it started here with a court decision, not a popular vote, and people never did get to vote on it ... which is great, because civil rights shouldn't be up for popular referendum. Fortunately, more than 3 out of 4 of our elected representatives felt the same way.

  •  Twenty points ahead? No, three points behind (0+ / 0-)

    I love my Maryland and am essentially a life-long resident.  I want to think that equality will win, but we are tempting Olympus with this feel-good shit.

    Please, sisters and brothers: we are three points behind and it's later than we think it is.

  •  Thanks Kos! In for $50 (split 4 ways) nt (0+ / 0-)
  •  Just saw the latest poll numbers for Wash. and its (0+ / 0-)

    good, by a margin of 56-38% the majority wants the law upheld. So far so good!

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