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Yesterday, voting Americans elected a black man to the highest office in the country. In Colorado and South Dakota they voted to preserve a woman’s right to choose. In Maryland they voted to allow adults to gamble with their own money. In Michigan they voted in favor of stem cell research and the legalization of medical marijuana, while in Massachusetts they voted to decriminalize marijuana. In Washington they voted to allow friends and strangers with terminal illnesses to shuffle off this mortal coil at a time and in a manner of their own choosing.
Yet for all those victories—and they are victories—Democrats and Republicans alike voted against their gay and lesbian neighbors in four states.
In California and Arizona voting Americans decided that gays and lesbians don’t deserve to marry; while in Florida they decided that not only do gays and lesbians not deserve the right to marry, they also don’t deserve the legal and contractual protections that civil unions would provide. In Arkansas, Americans decided that “the state’s 9,000 children in foster care are better off there than adopted by a gay couple.”
Last night I tracked the ballot initiatives closer than the presidential race. I was on the edge of my seat, almost praying that all those Obama voters in Florida—my home state—would vote for liberty and against whatever biases they had, because I wanted so badly for my cousins, my mentors, my closest friends, my old roommates, my fraternity brothers, my former colleagues, my friends’ lovers and partners (with whom they’ve been for years), and—most importantly—people I’ve never met and don’t care about, to know how it feels to be recognized as equal to straights under the law and to have their commitment and devotion respected.
And though I stand by my reason for not doing so (and agree with Jule’s reason), I feel absolutely sick that I didn’t vote against Proposition 2 with my Florida absentee ballot. We all lost last night, especially if we thought voting against racism was enough.
We still have a long, long, long way to go.