The November 2012 Election saw a huge host of wins for the campaign to win marriage nationwide. With marriage on the ballot in four states, the 2012 Election was a turning point for marriage advocates - but we had no idea that the movement would make such an enormous leap all in one night. We won marriage in three states, blocked an anti-gay amendment for the first time, and elected a president who fully and emphatically supports the freedom to marry. Here are eleven ways we won during the 2012 Election.
1. President Barack Obama is reelected
President Barack Obama won his reelection bid, granting him a second term. In May, President Obama voiced his personal support for the freedom to marry for same-sex couples, making him the first sitting president to ever do so. In September, President Obama's party officially endorsed marriage for same-sex couples by adding a plank supporting the freedom to marry in the national Democratic Party Platform. President Obama's reelection makes him the first person to ever win a presidential election while running on a platform that strongly and explicitly supports ending the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage. Americans also, notably, rejected the candidate and party that fiercely opposes the freedom to marry. With the potential for the Supreme Court to consider a marriage case in the coming months, we know that Obama's win will further help to create the climate that will enable more elected officials, judges, and even justices to embrace the freedom to marry, knowing that that their support is in line with a growing majority of Americans. Read more.
2. Maine wins the freedom to marry
Maine became the first state in the country to approve the freedom to marry for same-sex couples via a majority vote on a ballot measure. A majority of Mainers voted YES on Question 1, thanks in large part to the amazing work of Mainers United for Marriage, the coalition that has been working all year to win marriage. This marks the first time in the world that marriage advocates have ever successfully won a proactive ballot vote to win marriage. Same-sex couples will be able to marry in Maine at some point in next two months, which is yet to be determined. The earliest possible date is December 6, 2012, and the latest is January 6, 2013. Read more.
3. Maryland wins the freedom to marry
Maryland became the eighth state to win the freedom to marry when a majority of Marylanders voted FOR Question 6, which upheld the freedom to marry law that passed in the state legislature and was signed by Governor Martin O'Malley in March 2012. Maryland will begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples on January 1, 2013. Read more.
4. Minnesota blocks an anti-gay marriage amendment
Voters in Minnesota voted against adding an amendment that would have banned marriage for same-sex couples to the state constitution. Although Minnesota currently bans marriage for gay and lesbian couples by state statute, an amendment would have made it even more difficult for future generations of Minnesotans to someday share in the freedom to marry. Minnesotans United for All Families, the organization that worked to ask people to vote NO on the anti-gay amendment, did an amazing job on what amounts to one of the largest ballot initiative campaigns in the state's history. This victory makes Minnesota the first state to ever defeat an anti-marriage amendment! Additionally, voters rejected lawmakers who advanced a constitutional amendment to the voters. On May 14, 2013, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton signed the freedom to marry into law, one day after the Minnesota Senate voted in favor of the marriage bill. Read more.
5. Washington wins the freedom to marry
Yesterday, a majority of voters in Washington approved Referendum 74, the ballot measure that upholds the freedom to marry in the state, which was passed by the state legislature with bipartisan support and signed by Gov. Christine Gregoire in February. Thanks in large part to the work of Washington United for Marriage, the coalition working to approve Referendum 74, same-sex couples in Washington were able to attain marriage licenses beginning in early December. Read more.
6. Iowa votes to retain Justice David Wiggins
Anti-gay forces failed in their efforts to oust Justice David Wiggins, who joined the unanimous ruling by the Iowa Supreme Court in favor of the freedom to marry. This election, voters repelled the vengeful, anti-gay attacks that had previously targeted three of the other justices. One Iowa, the group that worked to retain Wiggins, said, "With the retention of Justice Wiggins, we sent a strong message to Mr. Vander Plaats and his friends at the National Organization for Marriage: Iowans are proud of our state that values equal protection and all families." Read more.
7. New Hampshire elects pro-marriage governor and legislature
This year, anti-gay forces in New Hampshire have threatened to work toward stripping away the freedom to marry, but on Election Day, we saw crucial victories that will protect the marriage law in the state. Maggie Hassan, a strong supporter of the freedom to marry, was elected governor, defeating anti-marriage candidate Ovide Lamontagne. Both the New Hampshire House and Senate also now have strong, pro-marriage majorities, and as a result, the law is likely safe for the foreseeable future in New Hampshire. Read more.
8. Colorado elects Democratic legislature
Earlier this year, the House of Representatives in Colorado, controlled by the Republican party, blocked discussion of a law that could have granted civil union to same-sex couples in Colorado. This year, voters granted control to the Democrats in the house, paving the way for approval of a civil union law in 2013. On October 6, 2014, the United States Supreme Court denied review of two federal legal cases in which the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit ruled that denying same-sex couples the freedom to marry in Utah and Oklahoma is unconstitutional. Because Colorado is also in the 10th Circuit, the ruling created a binding precedent throughout the circuit, including in Colorado. Following the Supreme Court’s decision to deny review, all parties agreed that a stay in a separate federal marriage ruling in Colorado – which also declared the state’s ban unconstitutional – should be lifted. Read more.
9. Iowa approves a Democratic majority in the state legislature
This year, anti-gay forces in Iowa have threatened to work toward stripping away the freedom to marry, but on Election Day, we saw several critical wins. Democrats retained narrow control of the state senate, 26-23, with Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal - who has promised to stop any anti-marriage amendment from passing - winning reelection. If Republicans had won back the chamber, they had committed to advancing an amendment that would have undermined the marriage decision. Read more.
10. Pro-marriage Senators replace opponents of the freedom to marry
Three new pro-marriage candidates won Senate races, replacing opponents of the freedom to marry. In Connecticut, Democrat Chris Murphy replaced Senator Joseph Lieberman. In Massachusetts, Democrat Elizabeth Warren defeated incumbent Scott Brown. In Maine, Independent Angus King was elected to replace Olympia Snowe. Other Senate races were secured by candidates supporting marriage for same-sex couples. In Hawaii, Mazie Hirono became the first Asian-American woman elected to the U.S. Senate, defeating Republican Linda Lingle, the former governor of HI who worked to oppose the freedom to marry and famously vetoed the state's civil union law. In New Mexico, Democrat Martin Heinrich was elected to succeed retiring Democrat Jeff Bingaman. In Wisconsin, Democrat Tammy Baldwin became the first openly gay person ever elected to the U.S. Senate when she defeated former Gov. Thommy Thompson, who opposes the freedom to marry.
11. Respect for Marriage Act co-sponsors win reelection bids
All of the U.S. Senators who are co-sponsors for the Respect for Marriage Act, the bill that would overturn the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act, won their reelection campaigns - CA's Sen. Feinstein, MD's Sen. Cardin, MN's Sen. Klobuchar, NJ's Sen. Menendez, NY's Sen. Gillibrand, OH's Sen. Brown, RI's Sen. Whitehouse, WA's Sen. Cantwell, and VT's Sen. Sanders. In the House of Representatives, several key incumbents who support the Respect for Marriage Act won reelection, including Rep. Jerrold Nadler from New York, FL Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, CO's Jared Polis (pictured), and RI's David Cicilline.
Blog Posts Related to Election 2012
Tonight at midnight, same-sex couples across the state of Maine will finally have the freedom to marry. But how did we do it? How did we turn a disappointing defeat in 2009 into an amazing victory in 2012? It wasn't easy. Relive the road to the freedom to marry with this photo retrospective!
Voters in Minnesotan have voted AGAINST a proposed constitutional amendment that would have permanently limited the freedom to marry for same-sex couples. This win, taken with wins in Maine and Maryland, makes tonight a historic day for the campaign to win marriage nationwide.
Tonight, the Vote For 6 campaign won, extending the freedom to marry to all loving and committed same-sex couples! Maryland is now the eighth state in the United States to end the exclusion of same-sex couples from Maryland!