I watched the returns from Maine last night just as fervently as I had watched election returns in California a whole year ago. Much like Proposition 8, Question 1 in Maine sought to repeal marriage equality in Maine but at least it did not impose a constitutional ban on non-straight marriage.
I actually devoted time to the Maine Equality Campaign. After my guilty conscience of not helping out in California, I had to make amends and took on the role of getting volunteers to travel to Maine for change. The project was grueling but fulfilling. I ended up turning down the chance to work in Maine due to a tough situation at home.
But I do know how hard they worked in Maine.Â Sure, the No on 1 website could be designed better. Yet, the campaign did a much better job than the California campaign a year ago. In opposition to the National Organization for Marriage, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland, and Focus on the Family, the No on 1 raised $4 million in contributions. Given everything, it actually did not hurt when we fell behind, and eventually lost.
Because we know that Prop 8 was a boon to the marriage equality movement. Sometimes one has to lose the battle to win the war. I know that as a result of this temporary setback, more people will get angry, more resources will be devoted to the cause and marriage equality is inevitable. And one Supreme Court decision might just spell victory for us.
Why should an average immigrant care about my queer rants? Because like your families, like the Mejia-Perez family currently facing deportation, our non-straight families are also scrutinized, separated and pulled apart since the law refuses to recognize them and grant them full and equal rights. Quite like President Obama promised change for your families and has yet to deliver, he is also largely ignoring LGBT families.
When you do eventually gain the right to vote on other types of families at the polls, just remember what your own family, especially those who lived in mixed-status families, have had to endure. After that, question your ‘faith-based leaders.’ Ask them why they exclude same-sex families when they talk about ‘family unity?’ The Catholic Church, on one hand, stands up strong for the rights of undocumented workers. On the same page, it denounces civil rights for gay couples. Ask your pastors and priests, your clergy and pundits whether ‘God’ would deport a gay immigrant over a straight immigrant.Â Ask them whether some rights are more important than others. Ask them to support all families.
Marriage equality is a matter of time. The irony here is that like our DREAM-eligible age-outs, everyone ages-out at some point. Maine has the largest median age of any state and the clock is ticking. We are on the right side of history.
In other election news, domestic partnership seemed to win in Washington and Kalamazoo, Michigan defeated an anti-gay discrimination measure. So that is some consolation for the queer community. Democrats lost the gubernatorial elections in the states of New Jersey and Virginia. But the NY-23 historic Democrat win proved once again that tea-baggers are toxic to conservatism. They should keep at it. John Garamendi (D) won my safely gerrymandered SF Bay Area district ( CA-10) so we have another two votes for the DREAM Act in the House.
Till next Wednesday, Khuda Hafiz.
(* – Later I was told by an inside source that even if I had volunteered my time, they would not find much use for me since Courage Campaign ran a horrible campaign)