For the LGBT communities of Maine, Washington, New Jersey and Michigan, today marks the end of months-long battles on their rights, as voters head to the polls and cast their votes for marriage referendums, a new governor and employment protections.
Marriage & Domestic Partnerships
Voters in Maine will decide whether or not to repeal a bill granting full marriage rights to same-sex couples passed by the state’s legislature and signed by Gov. John Baldacci in May this year. The North Carolina-based Public Policy Polling released new survey results on Monday, finding that 51 percent of likely voters will reject the new law, with 47 percent likely voting to keep it.
In Washington state, voters will decide the fate of another legislature-passed measure expanding legal protections for same-sex couples registered as domestic partners. The anti-gay Protect Marriage Washington gathered more than 120,000 signatures to put the law up to referendum.
In New Jersey, the result from today’s gubernatorial race will likely decide the the face of that state’s move to offer full marriage equality. Democratic Gov. John Corzine has promised to push through a marriage bill if re-elected. His Republican opponent Chris Christie has said he’ll oppose expanding marriage rights.
Voters in Kalamazoo, Mich., also cast their ballots in a referendum today. Citizens there will decide whether or not to keep sexual orientation and gender-identity protections in employment, housing and public accommodations passed by the city council earlier this year.
Jon Hoadley, a Michigan native and former executive director of the National Stonewall Democrats, is heading up One Kalamazoo, the group pushing to keep the pro-LGBT city ordinance.
“If you’re supporting full equality and you’re supporting gay and transgender people, then you need to vote yes,” Hoadley told Michigan Public Radio (MPRN). “The issue just isn’t that complicated. At the end of the day, it’s really about what type of a city are we trying to build in Kalamazoo, and it’s who are we inviting in and are there people who are saying, ‘You’re not welcome because you’re gay or transgender?'”