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LGBT Ballot Losses Do Not Predict the Future

‘We are disappointed by the losses, but we are not discouraged. We don’t think they predict the future — in fact, they are the last gasps of the past’
Lambda Legal Executive Director Kevin Cathcart issued the following statement following the November election:

"This morning we woke up to a new America with powerful mixed feelings: We witnessed the historic election of Barack Obama whose victory proved that discrimination can be overcome and whose presidency presents new opportunities to advance equality for so many. But we also saw the possible passage of Proposition 8, a measure that, if it passes, would seek to change the California Constitution to eliminate the rights of same-sex couples to marry. Antigay ballot measures also passed in Florida, Arizona and Arkansas.

The lesson is clear: Change is possible and discrimination will fall, but not without a fight and not without setbacks.

The election of Barack Obama presents exciting new opportunities to advance equality. Lambda Legal is committed to working with the new administration and the entire civil rights community to enact an inclusive employment nondiscrimination law, as well as fair and inclusive immigration and hate-crime laws; to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and the federal "Defense of Marriage Act"; and to implement better policies for those with HIV.

Florida's Amendment 2, which excludes same-sex couples from a constitutional definition of marriage, was approved by a vote of 62 to 38 percent — a narrow margin because constitutional amendments require a vote of 60 percent for passage in Florida. In Arizona, Prop 102 was approved to amend the state constitution to exclude same-sex couples from marriage. In Arkansas, voters approved a ballot measure that prohibits unmarried individuals or couples from fostering or adopting children effectively excluding gay and lesbian individuals and same-sex couples from the pool of adoptive and foster parents. In one state victory, Connecticut voters defeated a call for a constitutional convention that was promoted by groups eager to eliminate the right to marry for same-sex couples.

We will continue to protect the rights of same-sex couples and their families in these states, and we will continue to fight for equality for all LGBT people and people with HIV in states all around the country. In fact, we are getting ready for the oral arguments in December before the state Supreme Court in Iowa to defend our marriage equality victory there.

We work every day in the courts and understand the importance of being in front of judges who rule fairly and uphold the ideals of equality in the Constitution. President-elect Obama has promised to appoint federal judges who are fair and impartial and Lambda Legal's Fair Courts Project will do everything it can to ensure he keeps that promise.

We have won historic victories for healthcare fairness, but we know that LGBT people and people living with HIV still face discrimination in clinics, hospitals and nursing homes. With health-care reform as one of the priorities facing our nation, Lambda Legal is launching a national campaign to ensure that the new administration addresses the issues of health-care access for LGBT people and those with HIV.

We are disappointed by the losses, but we are not discouraged. We don't think they predict the future — in fact, they are the last gasps of the past. At Lambda Legal, we have seen our share of great victories and difficult setbacks in our 35 years, and we keep fighting.

Click here to read the original article from Lambda Legal.

Click here to see our prop 8 debate.



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