Election Day has come and gone. Thank God.
The smoke has cleared for the most part locally, leaving few surprises. Tennessee joined the ranks of states that have written discrimination into its constitution by “defining” marriage as being between one man and one woman. The measure passed with 80% of the vote.
I expected Virginia to pass their version of the “marriage amendment” by a similar margin, but it turned out that less than 60% of their voters supported the measure. Arizona’s amendment passed with only 51%. UPDATE: The final result was that Arizona’s marriage amendment FAILED. Most other states that had the measure on their ballots fell between the 50% and 60% margin. This is a far cry from the beating we took in 2004 which had most states passing their amendments between 70% and 80%.
Quite simply, the tide is turning.
Voters are just not as convinced that gay couples deserve to be treated as second-class citizens. Even in Tennessee, almost 20% of the population voted against the measure. Most of those votes came from areas that have high concentrations of gay couples in their neighborhoods.
Here in Clarksville, district 17, which includes a large gay population, had nearly 30% of its residents vote against the marriage amendment. This simply means that the more people know us, the more than realize who we are and that we’re their neighbors, friends, and family members—the more likely they are to support us.
If there’s ever been a time for GLBT people to be out, it’s now. I told some friends at a rally last night that we should always live with integrity. In my case, that means living as a gay man.
We’ve had a flurry of celebrities who came out as gay recently. If anything, that should encourage all of us that coming out is simply the right thing to do. There’s nothing to be ashamed of if we’re gay. It’s just who we are. Let’s not let a little Election Day bloody nose keep us from standing tall.
Thanks everyone for your hard work! Equality never comes easy, and it’s never quick. But it is coming. Be sure of that.