Gays win marriage in WA State too! HRC’s Chad Griffin on LGBT landslide.

The Human Rights Campaign, the largest gay rights group in Washington, DC, just informed me that marriage equality has won in Washington state – we won all four gay marriage ballot measures last night, three legalizing marriage for gay couples, and one stopping an anti-gay state constitutional amendment.

I asked HRC’s new-ish President Chad Griffin for his thoughts on the amazing lesbian, gay, bi and trans victories last night in the elections.  Here’s Chad’s guest commentary (emphasis added):

While the votes are still being counted in a few places across the country, one outcome of the 2012 election is perfectly clear: LGBT equality won a landslide victory at the ballot box this year. Not only did LGBT voters play a decisive role in re-electing President Barack Obama and sending Tammy Baldwin to Washington as the first openly gay United States Senator, but we broke marriage equality’s losing streak at the ballot box once and for all with sweeping and unprecedented victories in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington.

Chad GriffinYet this election stands for a lot more than a simple tally of wins and losses. Our victories this year highlight a new pro-equality American majority, one which is committed to standing up for fairness and to rejecting the divisive and discriminatory anti-LGBT rhetoric of the past. This election was nothing short of a pro-equality mandate, and this mandate must motivate policymakers, courts and citizens alike to increase the pace of our future progress.

Consider what Tuesday’s results said about the state of the American electorate. A decisive majority voted to re-elect the first sitting President in United States history to embrace marriage equality—the same President who fought hard to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and signed critical hate crimes protections into law. And voters rejected a challenger who adopted the most anti-LGBT party platform in decades—one which pledged to support amending the U.S. Constitution in order to divorce all legally-married lesbian and gay couples.

And in all four states where marriage was on the ballot, broad majorities dismissed the same tired and offensive arguments against marriage equality we’ve been hearing for years. Despite a flood of misleading ads, scare tactics and junk science from equality’s well-funded adversaries, voters in these states looked to their own LGBT family members, friends and neighbors for the truth. Our opponents have always rushed to put our equality on the ballot, believing it to be a sure-fire way to tear down our families and undermine our progress. But after this year’s historic victories, you can be sure they won’t be so quick to do so in the future.

One thing these results do not say is that we can put their feet up and relax. As we celebrate the areas where we’ve made historic steps forward, we must also recommit ourselves to future victory. After all, for millions of LGBT people, especially our young people, progress can’t come fast enough.

More than anything, these results speak to a nationwide urgency to do more. Election Day isn’t our only opportunity to advance equality, and there are opportunities right now to build on this momentum. We must get to work so that these victories are felt everywhere. And we must use every tool at our disposal to advance the cause of equality. That means expanding our local and national efforts to pass workplace nondiscrimination measures, anti-bullying protections and equal access to a full slate of federal benefits. It also means engaging with other important national debates, including making sure LGBT people are protected from unfair and hurtful cuts in upcoming budget battles on Capitol Hill.

What’s more, in the weeks to come, all eyes will turn to the United States Supreme Court as the Justices consider whether to take up landmark cases on California’s Proposition 8 and the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act. If Tuesday’s election results told us anything, it’s that support for equality is growing in unexpected places, but we’ve got to prepare as a community for a continued fight regardless of the outcome at the Supreme Court.

After all, as long as inequality persists anywhere, we’ve got work left to do. But after last night there is no mistaking the trend. Every day more Americans are standing up for LGBT equality, and every day our opponents look diminished by comparison. The new pro-equality American majority is prepared to stand with us, and we won’t stop working until full equality reaches every single person in every corner of this vast country.

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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21 Responses to “Gays win marriage in WA State too! HRC’s Chad Griffin on LGBT landslide.”

  1. Pretty sure that there will never be a better election cycle than this in my lifetime. Just wow.

  2. So, in a battle over whether a particular constitutional right is infringed by a law, (I’m thinking DOMA), the court will look to whether the group impacted by the law is a “suspect class;” one that is definable based on an immutable characteristic.  The determination of whether a group comprises a suspect class (and would thus require application of strict scrutiny), however, considers whether the group is politically powerless.  The Gay marriage wins across the country, from the East Coast to the West, perhaps demonstrate that Gays and Lesbians are not politically powerless and, therefore, are not entitled to strict scrutiny, and that, perhaps, some intermediate scrutiny is proper. 
    I understand that a win from the electorate is a fantastic thing, but, civil rights should not be up to a popular vote; that’s the province of the courts. Do any readers have a view, and if so please share, on whether the wins, and other demonstrations of political power of the GLBT community, compromise the argument that DOMA should be subjected to strict scrutiny? 

  3. Butch1 says:

    We haven’t won; we are predicted to win. Believe it or not; it is still too close to call but the figures are leaning in our favor. There are ballots that are still coming in to be counted and will be counted for the rest of the week so it is not over until they say it is. 

    “If voters uphold the law, gay couples could start picking up their marriage certificates and licenses from county auditor offices Dec. 6, a day after the election is certified. However, because Washington state has a three-day waiting period, the earliest the certificate could be signed, making the marriage valid, is Dec. 9.”
    So, it will be one month after the election before it will be certified or validated on December 6th before we can apply for a marriage license. With the three-day waiting period, the soonest we will be able to get a license will be December 9th., More than a month after the election.

  4.  Prop 8 passed by just a few points, so all it needed was a little change. I believe Obama could have made the difference. But I believe Prop 8’s passage helped Obama to see the light. And because he did, we are now in a much better position. And soon, hopefully Prop 8 will be history.

  5. They are a banana republic.

    Where are the UN election observers ?

  6. We will never know what could have happened. Perhaps prop 8 would have failed, or perhaps Obama’s word wouldn’t have changed the outcome much.

    It is 2012 now, not 2008. The President has evolved.
    So has the country, as the evidence shows in the 4 state initiatives yesterday.

    Think about this : we now have 9 states and the district of Washington that allow same-sex marriage !

    Prop 8 will hopefully be struck down for good finally within the next year.

    And there is reasonable hope that DOMA section 3 will fall as well.

  7. Yes, it’s a for-profit business, but the anti-gay agenda is also anti-business in general.

    Many large companies have offered domestic partner benefits long before government allowed civil unions, registered domestic partnerships,or marriage for same-sex couples. There is strong corporate support for equality. The right-wing bigots are now cornered.

  8.  And thank you Barack Obama for the lessons taught, especially to faith-based groups. When Prop 8 was on the ballot in 2008, Obama said at almost the last moment that he was opposed to Prop 8, but added the reminder that he was also opposed to gay marriage. Had he been a marriage equality supporter at the time I doubt Prop 8 would have passed. But his eventual evolution to marriage equality supporter is greatly appreciated, and has made an enormous difference, especially in helping the AA religious community see the light.

  9. Stev84 says:

    If you look at the maps on sites like CNN, NYT or HuffPo you’ll see that it’s usually the same in other elections (President, Senate, etc.) too.

  10. A reader in Colorado says:

    One thing to remember.  Being anti-gay on referenda is a for-profit business.

    They aren’t going to stop.  They’re not going to learn their lesson.  There’s nothing in it for the people in orgs like NOM to ever stop, because this is how they make their money.

    The thing to do is to drain the coffers of people who pay people like NOM for their homobigot services.

  11. Mike__in__Houston says:

    Agreed.  The Wiggins thing is huge and, as Joe.My.God. said, “this one has to hurt.”  Two years ago, NOM was able to throw out three justices.  They only had to go after one this year and failed miserably.  There are still three left whose terms were not yet ready to expire.  Will NOM go after them in two years?  Only time will tell.  I hope NOM will have learned its lesson by then.

  12. Lisa Holt says:

    So proud to be from Washington today. I think we won because the pro-marriage groups focused time and money on reaching out to faith based groups and including them in the movement. There were faith marches, commercials by faith leaders and signage on every church lawn that would allow it. More moderate Christians had to be influenced by this. Thank you California for the lessons learned!

  13. Mike__in__Houston says:

    My thoughts exactly.  At some point, every bigot ends up learning that “We’ll have a REFERENDUM!” is no longer going to be a solution to the “gay problem.”

    That tactic worked in Houston in 1984 in shooting down an anti-discrimination ordinance for city employees, using dishonest scare tactics that we are all familiar with; the words may be different but the tune is the same.  (For example, “If this ordinance is allowed to remain in place, Houston is going to turn into the Texas version of San Francisco!” they screamed at the top of their little voices.)  Well, the anti-discrimination ordinance was defeated that time, but it was put in place again later and was left alone this time; even the bigots had realized that it was no longer worth the fight.  And of course, Houston is now the first major city in the United States to have a gay (in this case lesbian) mayor.

    Now it is NOM’s turn to learn the lesson about referenda.  They aren’t going to learn it immediately, of course, so I’ll be interested to see what happens the next time a state legislature passes marriage equality. If NOM is smart, it will save its money or, better yet, use it for some of the things that Jesus really asked that it be used for. Little things like feeding the poor…

  14. Mike__in__Houston says:

    Fuck Florida.  This year at least, it doesn’t control the election, and the Supremes can’t use Florida as an excuse to get their guy in the White House.

  15. Jay Smith says:

    I am surprised that few are mentioning the retention of Iowa Supreme Court Justice David Wiggins as a significant win yesterday. It was just two years ago that three of the other Justices who were involved in the Iowa marriage case were booted from their jobs. Wiggins was specifically targeted because of that case. Should we not take that as a sign that Iowans have come to accept marriage equality?

  16. BeccaM says:

    Governor Voldemort and his administration of Death Eaters.

  17. caphillprof says:

     The urban/rural split is such that elections are now won in the few counties because the less dense counties don’t amount to much when aggregated.

  18. Guest says:

    Why on earth does it take so long to get complete and accurate vote counts from Florida?  What the hell is wrong with that place?

  19. kingstonbears says:

    Certainly an historical evening in many ways.  Hopefully we all can learn a lesson, that sitting passively on the sidelines doesn’t accomplish anything.  Maine, thank you for showing us how it’s done.

  20. Bose says:

    A worthwhile reminder of the work that remains: The win in Minnesota came from relatively few counties, with large blocks of less dense counties going over 60% (and even 70%) in favor of the anti-gay amendment.

  21. BeccaM says:

    Congratulations to all the winners in this. Finally, PROGRESS.

    Now let’s get DOMA overturned, so all Americans can have a chance at full marriage equality, even those living in regressive Red states.

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