I spent most of the day yesterday (as soon as I got out of class early in the morning!) doing election protection work here in my home state of Pennsylvania. I was so thrilled to be just a little part of a historic moment yesterday and to see Obama’s victory speech last night before I went to bed.
When I woke up this morning, however, things were not looking so great on the ballot measures affecting the LGBT community. As of now (6:45 a.m.), CNN is projecting that Arizona Prop. 102 and Florida Amendment 2 will both pass–by wide margins, 56% and 62% yes votes, respectively–and add bans on same-sex marriage to those state’s constitutions. CNN is also projecting that Arkansas’s Initiative 1 to ban same-sex couples from adopting or serving as foster parents will also pass–again, by a wide margin (57% yes votes). Right now, California Prop. 8 has not been called, but the yes votes are leading the no votes 52%-48% with 87% of the precincts reporting. I’ll be keeping my eye on this one during the day and will blog the results when I see them as a follow-up to this post.
By way of a tax aside, I was happy to see that Massachusetts voters are projected to reject the proposal to repeal that state’s income tax by a wide margin (70%-30%). That’s good news for anyone who cares about social justice, not just tax folks.
Update: Both the Los Angeles Times and the San Francisco Chronicle are predicting that California’s Prop. 8 has passed, with 95% of the precincts now reporting. This is a horrible set back and one that will continue to haunt us for some time, as the state will now have to figure out what to do with (i.e., honor or nullify) all of the marriages entered into by same-sex couples over the past several months. The question arises because the amendment simply states, “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.” Nowhere is it mentioned whether this amendment is prospective or retroactive in effect. (For further discussion of this ambiguity, check out this segment from NPR featuring UC-Berkeley law prof Jesse Choper.) If interepreted to be of prospective effect only, the amendment could create two classes of same-sex couples in the state: one who was able to and did marry in the window between June and November and who will continue to enjoy the benefits of marriage, and another who is now (and for the foreseeable future will continue to be) barred from access to the benefits of marriage.