Marriage Equality wins at the polls

From The Chicago Tribune:,0,6667357.story

November 12, 2012

For years, the debate about same-sex marriage was mainly an intellectual controversy. But in 2003, it moved into the realm of actual policy. The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts ruled that under the state constitution, gay couples could not be denied “the protections, benefits and obligations conferred by civil marriage.” Massachusetts soon became first state to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Since then, several other states have followed suit in revising marriage laws. But the durability of the progress was always in doubt. That’s because the changes came via court ruling or action by the legislature, not from an irresistible tide of popular support.

Opponents took great pride that whenever citizens had a chance to weigh in, they voted against same-sex marriage — 32 times in a row. The movement away from what they call “traditional marriage,” they said, was the work of out-of-control judges and out-of-touch politicians.

But that is no longer the case. For the first time, the cause of marital equality prevailed at the polls. On the ballot Tuesday in four states, it managed a clean sweep.

In Maine, where an initiative went down to defeat just three years ago, the electorate did an about-face. Maryland and Washington voters also approved gay marriage. In Minnesota, a constitutional amendment to ban it failed, though it is still not permitted under state law.

On top of all that, an Iowa Supreme Court justice targeted for a decision authorizing same-sex marriage held on to his seat, unlike three others voted out in 2010. Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, told The New York Times, “We had success across the board and across the country.”

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