It was to be a night of hope and promise for the LGBT community, but instead the crushing defeat of Maine’s gay marriage law delivered another setback for gay rights advocates and overshadowed many other victories at the ballot box Tuesday.
In Maine, voters on Tuesday rejected a law allowing gay marriage, a closely fought referendum on the one year anniversary of a similar outcome in California.
In repealing the law passed by the legislature last May, Maine becomes the third state in which voters reversed government rulings to permit gay marriages, after California and Hawaii.
But in an apparent victory for gay rights supporters, Washington voters seemed to be approving Referendum 71, which expands the state’s domestic partnership law.
The so called “everything but marriage” law will grant gay couples more than 200 additional rights currently reserved for married spouses, including ensuring extended work leave for people with critically ill partners and preserving pension benefits for the surviving partner in the event of the other’s death.
In other races across the nation:
Out lesbian Annise Parker in run-off for Houston mayor
From the Houston Chronicle:
The race for Houston mayor narrowed Tuesday to a choice between a veteran City Hall insider hoping to become Houston’s first openly gay leader and a former civil rights activist hoping to become only the second African-American to run the nation’s fourth-largest city.
City Controller Annise Parker and former City Attorney Gene Locke, the two candidates originally predicted by many to prevail at the race’s outset, will face each other in a Dec. 12 runoff election.
Addressing a jubilant crowd, Parker looked ahead to the runoff election. “This race is not over,” she said. “In five weeks, we’ll claim victory.”
Kalamazoo voters approve anti-discrimination law
From the Kalamazoo Gazette:
In Kalamazoo, Michigan, voters decisively adopted a city ordinance Tuesday that extends anti-discrimination protections to gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender individuals.
The ordinance passed 7,671 to 4,731, making Kalamazoo the 16th city in Michigan to adopt such a gay-rights ordinance that grants the protections in the areas of employment, housing and public accommodations.
The ordinance was approved in all but three of the city’s voting places. It also passed among heavy absentee ballot voting.
Chapel Hill elects first openly gay mayor
From the Chapel Hill News:
In Chapel Hill, N.C., two-term councilman Mark Kleinschmidt, a death-penalty defense lawyer and gay rights advocate, narrowly defeated colleague Matt Czajkowski to take the reins as mayor.
Kleinschmidt received 48.6 percent of the vote in the four-person mayoral race.
“We have a divided community right now, and that’s got to be job No. 1 to address that,” Kleinschmidt said. “The first thing is to talk to Matt.”
Kleinschmidt’s victory marks the first time an openly gay candidate has won Chapel Hill’s mayoral office, and only the third time an openly gay man has been elected mayor of a town in North Carolina.
St. Petersburg elects first openly gay official
From the St. Petersburg Times:
In St. Petersburg, Florida, The City Council will welcome one fresh face: Steve Kornell.
When he takes office Jan. 2, Kornell will become the first openly gay person elected to office in St. Petersburg. It’s a significant milestone in a city with a large gay community that has faced opposition to pride displays under conservative leadership.
Kornell has an extensive background working with city recreation centers, running both Childs Park and Shore Acres. He wrote a grant that still brings in millions for teen programs in the area.
Detroit elects openly gay city council president
From the Detroit Free Press:
Detroit elected openly gay former Fox News reporter Charles Pugh to the city council Tuesday.
By capturing the most votes, Pugh, who survived negative publicity due to his foreclosure woes, will be council president.
“This is unbelievable,” Pugh told the Free Press before a victory speech.
“It means Detroit has really wanted change for a very long time.”