by Jeremy Leaming
The Dish headline called it the “single biggest night for gay rights in electoral history.” And it’s hard to mess with that assessment. Voters in Maryland, Maine, Washington and Minnesota voted in favor of marriage equality.
But beyond those ballot measure victories, Andrew Sullivan reports that gay men and lesbians made up five percent of the electorate, the vast majority of them supporting Obama, “the first president to support marriage equality, and who mentioned gays by name for the first time in the history of victory speeches.”
Then of course, there was the election of Tammy Baldwin to the U.S. Senate, the first openly gay person to serve in that chamber.
But Sullivan’s post provides plenty of detail of the efforts to defeat the equality measures, including the funding and work of the National Organization for Marriage, a religious right outfit that strives to scuttle marriage equality by employing tired tactics of demonization. NOM says its mission is “to protect marriage and the faith communities that sustain it.” Sullivan highlights a piece from Adam Serwer reporting that NOM “believed that putting forth black and Latino spokespeople, they could discredit the idea of same-sex marriage as a civil rights cause and drive a wedge between two typically Democratic constituencies…".
In Maryland Serwer concluded NOM’s strategy appeared rather wobbly.
Indeed, Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Coalition, said part of the success in Maryland involved creating partnerships with other civil liberties groups, such as the NAACP, clergy and businesses, The Washington Post reported.