Yes We Did!
Last night, Maryland joined Maine in becoming the first states to pass marriage equality based on popular support.
Bobby spent most of the day yesterday volunteering at the Carroll County Democratic Headquarters. (Ever the barrel of fun, I stayed home and read The Dead Sea Scrolls for grad school.) We stopped by the election night party after collecting back the signs we'd posted Monday night. The headquarters was packed and standing-room only. A local restaurant had catered some snacks, and beer and wine were flowing. (Meanwhile, a Carroll County Times reporter reported that, over at the Republican headquarters, they were ... praying. That underscored why I've always been a Democrat.)
Like me, many at the celebration felt the most tension surrounding Question 6. Oh, we celebrated every state that fell into Obama's column--even those that we knew we had going in--but many eyes were trained to the bottom righthand corner of the screen, where results of the state ballot initiatives were scrolling. When we arrived, 52% were in favor of Question 6, with only 1% of precincts reporting. As the night wore on, the percent reporting crept higher and higher while the support remained more or less the same, vacillating between 51 and 52% in favor. But it was close, and there was always a fear that the precincts who hadn't reported were the conservative ones, where we won't likely to get a lot of support. (Like Carroll County, where Question 6 received only 43% support.) Meanwhile, several of the initiatives, including the DREAM Act (granting in-state university tuition to the children of undocumented immigrants who met certain requirements), had leads solid enough to justify calling them before all of the votes were fully counted. Not Question 6, which--along with Question 7 concerning the legalization of table games in Maryland casinos--had only a narrow margin of approval.
Around 11 PM EST, Ohio was called for Obama, thus sealing his reelection. Cue meltdowns from Republicans angry that they hadn't gotten what they'd paid for, i.e., a Romney win! Donald Trump tried to rally the pitchfork-wielding masses against an Electoral College win while Obama was still behind in the popular vote (hastily deleting that when it turned out that, yeah, Obama won the popular vote too--and where were you in 2000, by the way, Mr. Trump??) and Karl Rove launched an impromptu quest to expose the Ohio win for the fallacy it was by sending a reporter on a trek across the building to interview the rather surprised number-crunchers. More Senate victories kept rolling in too. But Question 6--Question 6 still hovered at the bottom of our screen, with the percent reported edging ever higher and higher while the approval remaining basically the same.
The hours really began to blur after that. Come hell or high water, a group of us were determined to stay until Obama gave his speech. 88% of precincts were reporting on Question 6. It was at 52% approval. And then the campaign for Question 6 posted to Facebook: We'd won! But our optimism was cautious. The numbers coming in still showed a close race with almost 10% of precincts still reporting. The Human Rights Campaign called it next. Then Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley. But we were saying, "Where is the acknowledgement from a nonpartisan media source? Why is WBAL not calling this?" 92% of precincts were reporting. We were debating: Was it even mathematically possible that those remaining 8% had enough to votes to overcome the lead we'd amassed?
Then a ticker crawled slowly across the bottom of the screen. Question 6 had passed! The atmosphere was one of jubilation. We were cheering and hugging. I was so tired at this point that I felt fairly numb; the excitement came as though through a haze. But I am tearing up now, typing this, remembering it. It's my generation's chance to stand up to hatred and bigotry and welcome more members of the human race to enjoy the dignity and rights that all should enjoy. Question 6 had started heavily in our favor, but then the churches started mustering their hate, and it became contentious, but for the first time ever, they didn't win. They didn't win! We did! It was a triumph for all who believe in basic human dignity and equality. It was the first sign that all the senseless hatred against people for being born to love a certain way may yet end, not by forcing it to end through judicial and legislative decisions but because people stand up and say "This must stop. We can no longer stand for that kind of hatred on our watch."
Maine announced their victory a bare nine minutes before we announced ours--but as we pointed out, they have a much smaller population than we do, i.e. fewer ballots to count! Washington looks like they will also pass their ballot measure, but all the votes aren't counted yet, and Minnesota struck down a ban on same-sex marriage. It was a good day for us!
We ended up leaving after Obama's speech, at about 2 AM. *groan* I got in bed at about 2:45 and had to be up for work at 6:15. *groangroan* I sustained myself today on excitement and Barry's tea. What a great night!
This post was originally posted on Dreamwidth and, using my Felagundish Elf magic, crossposted to LiveJournal. You can comment here or there!