Image: Same-sex marriage advocates believe they can win these blue states. Marriage equality is the law in these red states.
Will same-sex marriage become law in seven more states? Advocates now believe marriage could be extended to same-sex couples in Oregon, Rhode Island, Delaware, Minnesota, Colorado, Hawaii and New Jersey, after this month’s wins in Washington, Maine, Maryland, and Minnesota, (where voters refused to ban same-sex marriage in their constitution) according to a report in Politico, which notes that “activists are aiming to quickly use the momentum from this year’s election to boost marriage legalization efforts in at least seven new states and force Congress and the president to make major changes in discrimination laws.”
They sense a major change from this year’s election victories — which included successful gay marriage referendums in Maine, Maryland and Washington state, the defeat of a Minnesota ban, the first successful retention of an Iowa Supreme Court judge who favors gay marriage, the election of Tammy Baldwin as the first openly gay senator, the election of two new gay House members and the reelection of the president widely praised by advocates as the most pro-gay rights ever.
Together, there’s clear proof that opponents to gay marriage and gay rights have lost support, said Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin.
“Now that they’re on the defensive on all fronts and we’re on the offensive on all fronts, we’ve got to take this momentum and turn it into our next victories,” said Griffin, whose organization has already prepared a four-page “post-election agenda” memo detailing an administrative, legislative and personnel agenda. “At times like this, you can’t slow down. You’ve got to double down.”
Inspired by post-election conversations in Congress on immigration reform, gay leaders believe there’s hope on passing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, as well as succeeding in getting President Barack Obama’s signature on a long-sought executive order to ban discrimination among government contractors. Changes in military benefits, tax measures and health care provisions are also in their sights.
Leaders see the election results as a sign of quickly impending symbolic victories like increased judicial appointments, as well as the first openly gay Cabinet secretary and ambassador to a G-8 nation. They’re hoping as well for substantive changes on taxes and workplace protections, but those issues are more arcane and change the government’s relationship to the private sector.
An exclusive report by The New Civil Rights Movement, which canvassed ten top LGBT leaders, found activists are relatively aligned in their agenda for President Obama’s second term, and are working on their top priority: to get the President to sign a federal ENDA via an executive order, banning discrimination against LGBT people in the federal government or by federal contractors.
LGBT leaders also want DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996 that bans the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages, to be repealed, and a nationwide, inclusive ENDA, along with an LGBT cabinet member, and a quick resolution to the “fiscal cliff.”
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