Response to the November 3, 2009 LGBTQ Referendum Results
by Jim Sanders, Chair SPUSA Queer Commission
Referendums effecting the lives of LGBTQ people were on ballots all over the country this week. A few
of the higher profiled ballot questions included:
Voters in Maine overturned by approximately 53 to 47 percent, a law passed by the Maine legislature that established same-sex marriages in order to end marriage inequality in Maine. The failure to attain marriage equality in Maine is particularly disheartening, but the fact that 47 percent of the voters in Maine supported marriage equality is significant.
Voters in Washington approved by a scant margin of approximately 51 to 49 percent, a law that would give
domestic partners some of the legal rights previously only available to married couples (only heterosexuals can marry in Washington state). The fact that 49 percent of the voters in Washington would oppose recognition of domestic partnerships is troubling.
Voters in Kalamazoo, Michigan approved by approximately 65 to 35 percent, an ordinance that grants
anti-discrimination protections to gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender individuals. The rare inclusion of transgender individuals is cause for celebration.
Jim Crow style localized oppression is no more acceptable for queers than for any other group. It's a shame
that human rights can still be held hostage to human prejudices.
Socialists will always fight beside those struggling to improve conditions in their daily lives. But, under the oppression of a capitalist system, reforms will always be necessary, and they will never be sufficient. Socialists need to constantly make clear that we fight for the power to create and maintain justice in our own lives, and not for fleeting opportunities to occasionally wrest concessions from the state.
Lasting freedom for LGBTQ people will only come about in a society concerned with, and conscientiously
working for, the liberation of all people.
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