You did it! History was made. Equality won. Pat yourselves on the back Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington! Wow. What a momentous day for us all. The 0 and 32 streak of ill-fated gay marriage ballot initiatives has come to an end. And what about Senator-elect Tammy Baldwin of Minnesota, the first openly lesbian woman elected to the US Senate? I’m speechless. I’m amazed. I can’t stop grinning.
The marriage questions on the ballot were successful because the citizens of this country are getting to know us. One person, one connection, one story at a time, we are letting our fellow Americans know that we are just like them. We have families, jobs, and our lives are largely centered around the same daily activities, hopes and dreams. People get that, if we show them who we are. Change doesn’t occur overnight, it takes time, but it’s happening. The momentum continues.
Similarly, Tammy Baldwin’s election was not because she is a lesbian. It happened because she has been a stellar Congresswoman for the state of Wisconsin, and those folks trust her to continue her service in the Senate. That’s critical. For me the goal is getting past the roadblocks placed in our collective paths solely because of our sexual orientation. What’s so inspiring is seeing someone recognized for her ability, regardless of the fact she’s a lesbian. Whether it’s marriage, employment, or housing, we simply want to be treated like any other citizen. Every time a lesbian or gay American achieves success and is seen as equal, it’s a step forward for all of us.
There is still work to do. Paradoxically, Minnesota, the same state that voted equality, also returned stridently anti-gay Congresswoman Michele Bachmann to office. But progressive candidates like Tammy Duckworth also won their races, pledging support for LGBT and women’s rights. Congratulations to all of the winning candidates. My final hope is that we can now find ways to reach for our common humanity and patriotism. Compromise is a word that has been lost in the text of our politics recently. That has to change. In America, we believe in peaceful elections, even if we disagree with the outcome. That is our tradition. I believe in our country’s ability to rise to any and all challenges. Let’s move on to solving problems rather than exploiting differences and hurling vitriol. Expanding equality is a big step. Now it’s up to us to continue the march.
Way to go, America.