November 8, 2012

US Gay

I probably used my smartphone more on Tuesday night than I have in all the time since I got it, cycling through election results in Minnesota, Maine, Maryland, and Washington. Let’s take stock of everything. The 2012 election results have given us: the reelection of a President who openly supports gay marriage (don’t you love it when the press refers to this as Obama “coming out” in favor of gay marriage?), the first openly gay US Senator (Tammy Baldwin), the defeat of Minnesota’s version of Amendment One, TWO new states with marriage equality (Maine, Maryland), and a third looking good (Washington, knock on wood)!

Wow, just wow. The declaration of Obama’s victory came suddenly and much sooner than expected last night—it seemed to blindside the Duke Dems leaders I was sitting next to, who were feverishly charting all the possible paths for a blue 270 when Ohio flashed up on the screen. Similarly, progress on the marriage equality front is coming much faster than I expected. With the passage of NC’s Amendment One still stinging, I was not feeling optimistic about these ballot measures. In May I felt compelled to leave my homestate after graduation, but didn’t see much in the way of open arms welcoming me elsewhere—just 6 states and Washington, D.C. Or, you know, Canada, as Democrats throw around every election cycle, but that’s kind of far away. Now 9 and D.C., nearly 20% of the country. I didn’t want to get my hopes up, but this sure is a pleasant surprise.

Before heading over to the massive, multi-room throwdown at Sanford, I attended an extremely gay watch party. Pride flag on the wall, every laptop with a Love = Love sticker. My girlfriend and I sat next to two fantastic straight allies who were just as nervous about the outcome of the election for the same reasons we were. Later, in Sanford, no one batted an eyelash when my girlfriend kissed me after Ohio was announced. So I want to dedicate this post to allies.

Of course, the passage of the ballot measures has a whole lot to do with LGBT organizers, volunteers, and voters. But it couldn’t be done, numerically speaking, without equality-minded straight people who have been moved by the experiences of LGBT friends and acquaintances, or have just learned from this country’s history of discrimination against one group after another. Millions of people voted on marriage equality on Tuesday—indirectly through the Presidential election, and directly through these ballot measures. The vast majority of these voters were straight, and the most of them decided to come down on the side of equality. There’s a long, long way to go, but being gay in this country today is better than it was on Monday. Here’s to decency, progress, and the United States of America.

1 comment: