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Yes We Did!

Nov. 7th, 2012 03:08 pm
dawn_felagund: (maryland lgbt flag)
As I posted about on Monday, I was not particularly nervous about President Obama's chances of reelection yesterday, as--popular vote aside--he seemed to have more than enough electoral votes. My true worry was Question 6, the Maryland ballot question that would extend marriage rights to same-sex couples. As I said Monday, this issue is one of the biggies for me. While it would not impact my family directly--we need laws at the federal level since immigration issues are also involved--it is a huge symbolic victory for us and, of course, it will extend rights to many couples in Maryland who don't face the same legal obstacles that my sister and her wife do.

Last night, Maryland joined Maine in becoming the first states to pass marriage equality based on popular support.

Bobby spent most of the day yesterday volunteering at the Carroll County Democratic Headquarters. (Ever the barrel of fun, I stayed home and read The Dead Sea Scrolls for grad school.) We stopped by the election night party after collecting back the signs we'd posted Monday night. The headquarters was packed and standing-room only. A local restaurant had catered some snacks, and beer and wine were flowing. (Meanwhile, a Carroll County Times reporter reported that, over at the Republican headquarters, they were ... praying. That underscored why I've always been a Democrat.)

Like me, many at the celebration felt the most tension surrounding Question 6. Oh, we celebrated every state that fell into Obama's column--even those that we knew we had going in--but many eyes were trained to the bottom righthand corner of the screen, where results of the state ballot initiatives were scrolling. When we arrived, 52% were in favor of Question 6, with only 1% of precincts reporting. As the night wore on, the percent reporting crept higher and higher while the support remained more or less the same, vacillating between 51 and 52% in favor. But it was close, and there was always a fear that the precincts who hadn't reported were the conservative ones, where we won't likely to get a lot of support. (Like Carroll County, where Question 6 received only 43% support.) Meanwhile, several of the initiatives, including the DREAM Act (granting in-state university tuition to the children of undocumented immigrants who met certain requirements), had leads solid enough to justify calling them before all of the votes were fully counted. Not Question 6, which--along with Question 7 concerning the legalization of table games in Maryland casinos--had only a narrow margin of approval.

Around 11 PM EST, Ohio was called for Obama, thus sealing his reelection. Cue meltdowns from Republicans angry that they hadn't gotten what they'd paid for, i.e., a Romney win! Donald Trump tried to rally the pitchfork-wielding masses against an Electoral College win while Obama was still behind in the popular vote (hastily deleting that when it turned out that, yeah, Obama won the popular vote too--and where were you in 2000, by the way, Mr. Trump??) and Karl Rove launched an impromptu quest to expose the Ohio win for the fallacy it was by sending a reporter on a trek across the building to interview the rather surprised number-crunchers. More Senate victories kept rolling in too. But Question 6--Question 6 still hovered at the bottom of our screen, with the percent reported edging ever higher and higher while the approval remaining basically the same.

The hours really began to blur after that. Come hell or high water, a group of us were determined to stay until Obama gave his speech. 88% of precincts were reporting on Question 6. It was at 52% approval. And then the campaign for Question 6 posted to Facebook: We'd won! But our optimism was cautious. The numbers coming in still showed a close race with almost 10% of precincts still reporting. The Human Rights Campaign called it next. Then Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley. But we were saying, "Where is the acknowledgement from a nonpartisan media source? Why is WBAL not calling this?" 92% of precincts were reporting. We were debating: Was it even mathematically possible that those remaining 8% had enough to votes to overcome the lead we'd amassed?

Then a ticker crawled slowly across the bottom of the screen. Question 6 had passed! The atmosphere was one of jubilation. We were cheering and hugging. I was so tired at this point that I felt fairly numb; the excitement came as though through a haze. But I am tearing up now, typing this, remembering it. It's my generation's chance to stand up to hatred and bigotry and welcome more members of the human race to enjoy the dignity and rights that all should enjoy. Question 6 had started heavily in our favor, but then the churches started mustering their hate, and it became contentious, but for the first time ever, they didn't win. They didn't win! We did! It was a triumph for all who believe in basic human dignity and equality. It was the first sign that all the senseless hatred against people for being born to love a certain way may yet end, not by forcing it to end through judicial and legislative decisions but because people stand up and say "This must stop. We can no longer stand for that kind of hatred on our watch."

Maine announced their victory a bare nine minutes before we announced ours--but as we pointed out, they have a much smaller population than we do, i.e. fewer ballots to count! Washington looks like they will also pass their ballot measure, but all the votes aren't counted yet, and Minnesota struck down a ban on same-sex marriage. It was a good day for us!

We ended up leaving after Obama's speech, at about 2 AM. *groan* I got in bed at about 2:45 and had to be up for work at 6:15. *groangroan* I sustained myself today on excitement and Barry's tea. What a great night!
Tomorrow is the presidential election. World, breathe a sigh of relief; our years-long election cycle will again grind to a close. Of course, it will start up again soon enough.

I am not so worried about the presidential election tomorrow. Oh, I am fervently in support of Obama, for a variety of reasons that I'm not going to enumerate here. Tomorrow's a big day here on ol' Maryland, though. Tomorrow, we vote on a ballot measure, Question 6, that if passed, will extend marriage rights to same-sex couples. Anyone who's known me for even a little while knows that this is a HUGE issue for me--yes, so huge that I am willing to overuse HTML markup and abuse caps lock to make my point! I don't follow polls because they tend to get me worked up for no good reason (since I can hardly change their outcome by myself), but I asked Bobby what the prognostication was for Question 6, and he said it's very close.

It's personal and emotional to me because my sister is gay. If Question 6 passes, it won't really change her situation, personally, since her wife is not a U.S. citizen and, therefore, they need federal law to change too in order to be able to live here. (I don't even know that they'd make that choice, but it would be nice for them to actually have a choice.) In terms of our family, then, it's more a symbolic victory than anything, but it does have very real positive consequences for other people I care about, including one of my dearest friends and his husband, who have been in a committed relationship for over 25 years and yet still lack even basic rights as a couple.

From a less personal perspective, I have very mixed feelings. Not about my support for the measure but about the fact that I'm even called upon to support it. I find it deeply, deeply disturbing that people are so quick to accept that a majority can vote upon the rights of a minority. We are all minorities in some way. That makes us all vulnerable to the whims and bigotry of the masses. Even if one supports the measure, why would one support such a precedent?

Of course, there's the religious angle. I'm not Christian. Never have been and am going out on a limb to say that I never will be. I resent being governed by another person's religious beliefs. I don't presume that others should be governed by mine. And the same Christians who are out there screeching to "Vote Against 6! Don't Redefine Marriage!" are the same who bleat about being persecuted. I'm trying very hard to remember that these idiots are still people and to not be hateful right now. *trying trying trying ...*

So tomorrow, I'll of course be watching the presidential outcome, but I'll be right and truly nervous about Question 6.

Since this is going on longer than I thought ... more stuff below the cut. )
I'm putting the rest behind the cut because it's strongly opinionated and I don't want to unwillingly subject anyone to my rantishness.

Comments are welcome, as always, but I ask that people be polite (to me and all others) and keep in mind that this is my opinion and my journal and, yes, I need to rant sometimes in my journal.

Dumbledore Is Gay?! )
Well, we're all very active and idealistic on ye olde LJ today, aren't we? I logged in to find my friends' page overrun with posts about various causes. I'm not complaining. I've been known to do a bit of idealistic ranting myself some days. :)

Anyway, probably the most prevalent post today is the "Gay Rights" post. Because I agree with and like the quote, I am going to post it here as well, though everyone has doubtlessly seen it by now.

"Why is it that, as a culture, we are more comfortable seeing two men holding guns than holding hands?"
- Ernest Gaines

Most people have pasted the accompanying part about posting it to show your support or ignoring it to show your lack, but since this has caused problems on the journals of well-meaning people who inadvertantly offended those not prone to post-spam of this sort, I'm going to refrain from that. I don't think that there are any homophobics on my flist anyway. I can't imagine that they'd stay around long, what with me posting slash on a regular basis.

If posting the quote makes you feel as though you are making a positive difference, though, by all means, please post it! I certainly don't mind seeing it around more.

But I'd sooner hear people stop using "gay" as an insult, sooner see people make an effort to become more aware of how they stereotype others not alike to them, and sooner see people have the guts to speak up when some idiot starts their BS about gay people being somehow less of human beings because of their orientation. Perhaps this would lessen the perception that homophobia is okay.

Or maybe posting a thought-provoking quote is a place to start. :)

On a more frivolous--though equally heated--note, there is a petition on LJ to convince LJ not to allow companies to purchase "sponsored accounts" that would allow them to promote their products on LJ. I gave the debate on [ profile] lj_biz a quick scan, and there seems to be a lot of questions and concerns over this. People fear the power of the Almighty Dollar trumping the rights and wishes of LiveJournal customers.

More on This )

Anyhoo, those who agree with me or want to read further, check out the petition. And thanks to [ profile] ithilwen for calling my attention to it! Additionally, the [ profile] lj_biz community has the posts that have been made about this move and the literally thousands of comments mostly against it.

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