Wednesday, November 4, 2009


The forces of hatred and oppression scored another victory last night as 53% of Maine voters voted in favor of Proposition 1 and to repeal the recently passed law allowing same-sex marriage in that state. The news came on the one-year anniversary of a similar decision in California.

In Washington State where voters responded to Propositin 71, which was dubbed the "Everything but Marriage" law, results are still to be determined, however, things are looking a little better. The law would grant same-sex couples the same rights as married couples, just not the word "marriage. However, because of Washington's mail-in ballot system, final results may not be known for days. So far, voters are approving Referendum 71 by a margin of 52.4 percent to 47.6 percent. Early results had the referendum being rejected but the tide turned with the infusion of votes from King and Snohomish Counties.

There were a few other bright spots in elections around the country. Kalamazoo voters decided by almost a 2-to-1 margin to retain Gay Rights non-descrimination protections, stunning opponents who had twice previously forced the city council to reconsider those protections and ultimately forced the ballot measure.

In Detroit, openly gay former news reporter Charles Pugh will lead that city's city council.

Chapel Hill, North Carolina elected Mark Kleinschmidt, the city's first openly gay mayor.

And in Houston, Texas, openly gay Houston city controller Annise Parker will face attorney Gene Locke in a run-off election for mayor. In a broad field of candidates, Parker and Locke were the two top vote-getters, with Parker receiving 30%to Locke's 25%.

Still, the loss in Maine stings. It's time to change our political stratgies and divest ourselves of the illusion that Barack Obama is our friend. Friends don't stand silently on the sidelines with their hands in their pockets while civil rights are stripped away. The words, "fierce advocate" are rotten meat in his mouth. Nor should the Democratic Party, as a whole, be let off the hook.

It's time to consider the lessons of history. Without H. Rapp Brown and Stokely Carmichael, Malcolm X and Angela Davis, nobody would have given Martin Luthor King teh time of day. Where would the fight against AIDS be without ACT-UP?

It's time to consider open civil disobedience.

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