Yesterday, voters in Maine, Washington, and Maryland voted to legalize same-sex marriage, and voters in in Minnesota rejected a constitutional amendment that would have defined marriage as between one man and one woman.
Same sex marriage is already legal in six states and the District of Columbia via legislative action. However, the issue of marriage equality was defeated on state ballots 32 times, every single time it was put before the public, until yesterday. Minnesota became the first state to vote against a constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage, and Maine, Maryland, and Washington (most likely, final results pending) became the first states to legalize same-sex marriage via the ballot.
"This is a landmark election for marriage equality and we will forever look back at this year as a critical turning point in the movement for full citizenship for LGBT people," Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin he said in a press release on Tuesday night.
Freedom to Marry's national campaign director, Marc Solomon, echoed Griffin's sentiment in a press release: "It's hard to overstate the national significance of this vote. For years, our opponents have argued that we could not win a majority vote at the ballot."
This sweeping victory for marriage equality reflects the shift towards acceptance of marriage equality and LGBT rights demonstrated in recent polls.
Looking to the future, Griffin said: "Tonight we celebrate, but tomorrow morning we get up and get back to work so that the victories we hail tonight are felt everywhere across this great country. Too many people are denied the ability to marry. Too many people go to their jobs without workplace protections. Too many young people go to bed at night and stare at the ceiling, sleeplessly wondering what awaits them the next day at school or at church or in their own home. Thanks to all the hard work in achieving tonight's victories, we finally have momentum on our side and we will not rest until the promise of equal justice under the law is realized for every single person living in every single corner of this vast country."
Media Resources: Huffington Post 11/07/2012; HRC 11/07/2012; Freedom to Marry 11/07/2012
12/11/2013 Human Rights Day Celebrated Around The World - Yesterday marked International Human Rights Day, a day to celebrate human rights advances and to assess the challenges that lie ahead in protecting them.
"The fundamentals for protecting and promoting human rights are largely in place: these include a strong and growing body of international human rights law and standards, as well as institutions to interpret the laws, monitor compliance and apply them to new and emerging human rights issues," said United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay in a statement. . . .
12/11/2013 UConn Under Federal Investigation For Mishandling Sexual Assault Cases - The US Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) informed the University of Connecticut on Monday that it will investigate the school for allegedly mishandling sexual assault cases and violating Title IX, the federal law that requires all recipients of federal financial assistance for education programs and activities to prohibit sex discrimination and sexual harassment [PDF].
The investigation was sparked after seven women filed a formal complaint in October alleging that UConn had failed to protect them from sexual assault and exposed them to a sexually hostile environment.One woman says her attacker was expelled from campus but later readmitted without her knowledge. . . .
12/11/2013 Massachusetts Democrat Katherine Clark Wins Congressional Seat - Democrat Katherine Clark will become the fifth woman to represent Massachusetts in the US House Tuesday, after easily defeating three opponents in a special election.
"Six years ago, there wasn't a single woman representing Massachusetts in Congress," said Niki Tsongas, the only other woman representing Massachusetts in the House. . . .