Victory for Marriage Equality
November 21, 2012
Election Day was two weeks ago, but it’s not too late to celebrate marriage equality. People in Maine, Maryland, and Washington voted in favor of initiatives that would legalize same-sex marriage. And in Minnesota, voters rejected a proposed measure that would put a constitutional ban on marriage equality.
While the legislatures in all three states had previously voted in favor of marriage equality, opponents gathered enough signatures to put it up to a vote. And on Tuesday, November 6th, Maine, Maryland, and Washington became the first three states to legalize same-sex marriage through an election. While Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, Iowa, and the District of Columbia all allow same-sex marriage, it was legalized through the courts and the legislatures, not through a ballot initiative. Over 30 past ballot initiatives to allow for marriage equality have failed, but judging by the events of last Tuesday, the tide has begun to turn.
Although it’s great news that the number of states now allowing people to marry the person they love regardless of sexual orientation has gone up from six to nine, it’s also important to remember that 30 states have a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, making it harder for it to be legalized.
The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines marriage as being between one man and one woman, protects the constitutional bans these states have on marriage equality. But there’s good news. Last month, a federal appeals court ruled that DOMA is unconstitutional. Although the case is going to eventually make it to the Supreme Court, this ruling was a victory for all LGBTQ people and their allies.