Mainers came out in droves for fairness; volunteers from around the country flocked to the state to educate, inform and appeal for equality. There were long dedicated hours spent to preserve the civil right of gay and lesbian couples to marry.
But even in the great state of Maine, there are far too many people who cannot move past the word "marriage" because of its ties to religion and cultural norms. The result is that the filthy hog of homophobia continues to be fed with lies and deception. Witness the reaction of Matt "Bam Bam" Barber. Read it; I know you don't want to, but you need to see the level of hate that propelled discrimination to a victory - historians will pore over this filth decades from now, and wonder how could anyone find satiety in this level of bigotry:
Matt Barber, Director of Cultural Affairs with both Liberty Counsel and Liberty Alliance Action, issued the following statement on news that the voters of Maine have rejected counterfeit “same-sex marriage” by 53% - 47%:
“There’s good news and bad news here,” said Barber. “The good news is that even in one of the most liberal States in the Union, Maine, the people have once again rejected the ridiculous and oxymoronic notion of ‘same sex marriage.’ The momentum has again shifted – hopefully for good this time – in favor of protecting legitimate marriage. A counterfeit is a counterfeit. An orange is an orange no matter how much you want it to be a turnip. This isn’t about ‘marriage.’ It’s about hurting and broken people desperately seeking affirmation of an objectively deviant lifestyle. One that, even in their heart of hearts, they know to be a dead end. As for the militant ‘No on 1’ homosexual activists? I’m reminded of spoiled children dressing up and playing house, refusing to come in when mom calls for dinner.
“Here’s the bad news. The margin of victory could have been greater. Many behind the ‘Yes on 1’ campaign, rather than simply telling the truth, chose the Neville Chamberlain approach. They merely circled the wagons around the word ‘marriage,’ even suggesting that ‘domestic partnerships’ (‘gay marriages’ by another name) are acceptable. This makes no sense. If that’s a viable compromise, then why not simply allow 'gay' duos the word ‘marriage’? It’s an incongruity that demands an explanation. This is an historic battle for the minds and souls of our children – for our very culture. The mealy-mouthed approach must end. This is not just about ‘marriage.’ It has everything to do with forced affirmation of homosexuality – under penalty of law. Indeed everyone who fought hard to defend marriage in Maine is to be congratulated, but if it weren’t for a brave group of truth tellers – Paul Madore, Peter LaBarbera and Brian Camenker – who came to Maine in the final hour to hold a press conference and address the pink elephant in the room – homosexual deviancy and the radical ‘gay’ agenda – counterfeit marriage might have prevailed.”
The fact is that it was, yet again, not yet time to test equality when put to a popular vote. It is proof, yet again, that civil rights should never be decided by mob rule -- but the hateful people behind Yes on 1 capitalize on spreading fear -- suckling pigs at the teat of dying, mud-covered sow of homophobia.
The hog is going to die. Hate alone cannot sustain that beast.
We should find solace in the fact that the children and grandchildren of those who voted to rollback the rights of fellow Mainers will be embarrassed that their relatives were so short-sighted, duped by entities that exist solely to discriminate using the ballot box as a weapon -- and making money off of the hate with great gusto.
All of those people fighting to kill Yes on 1 are to be heralded for making us see what outreach and organization can do to pull voters to our side -- and the limits of effecting change in firmly held beliefs despite using every tool in the tool box.
It's simply not time, not in this place. What this loss in Maine (and the victory in Washington State) says to me is that I am so grateful that my civil rights, as a person of color, were not put up to a popular vote. As we've seen over and over in the last year, the emergence of naked racism lives despite laws on the books banning discrimination based on race. Reality-based arguments to people who are raised with bias have little motivation to change their thinking outside of keeping their bigotry out of the realm of law-breaking (and even then -- it still occurs!). The feelings simply go underground.
That public expressions of racism have re-emerged and been cultivated by a major political party shows the work the LGBT community has to do as it waits for equality at the federal level. Changing hearts and minds every day is necessary -- not just when there's a pending bigoted mob rule ballot measure.
LGBTs -- and more importantly, allies -- need to come out of the closet advocating for equality in ways large and small. It's the only way to move many voters, particularly the ones who think they don't know someone who is gay. Too many politicians who support us privately still don't have the spine to step up their game when our rights are under attack. That has to change.
I'm sure I'll have more to say later, but I just wanted to thank everyone for putting so much energy into fighting what is an unfair, unconstitutional battle.
Kerry Eleveld @ The Advocate has a great summary of last night's highs and lows. More below the fold. In better news:
Iin NC: pro-LGBT incumbents win in Durham, and Chapel Hill has an openly gay mayor. Jake Gellar-Goad of the Mark Kleinschmidt campaign contacted me last night and announced Mark is going to be the next mayor of Chapel Hill. He won by 101 votes in a squeaker.
Mark Kleinschmidt emerged victorious in his campaign for mayor of Chapel Hill on Tuesday, with a 49.49 percent (4,006) to 46.53 percent (3,766) lead against chief opponent Matt Czajkowski with 21 of 21 precincts reporting. Shortly after 9:00 p.m., Czajkowski conceded to Kleinschmidt.
A member of the Chapel Hill Town Council since 2001, Kleinschmidt will become the third openly gay man to hold mayoral office in the state, following Mike Nelson in Carrboro and Elic Senter in Frankinton.
In Durham, all of the seats up for re-election on the city council (including the mayor's seat), are winning in landslides. All voted for the marriage equality resolution, and the bible beaters were calling for their defeat. Not a chance: 77% Bell, 76% Cole-McFadden, 72% Clement, 87% Woodard.
Out lesbian Annise Parker, the city comptroller of Houston, garnered 30% of the vote in the mayor's race. She was the top vote-getter in a field of four, so she wins a slot in the runoff.. Houston Chronicle.