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Editorial: Ballot Initiatives Strike Major Blow To LGBT Progress

This story was written by Editorial Board, Iowa State Daily

Sen. Barack Obama won the votes of the electorate Tuesday, which must be something of a mixed blessing for the man. He will inherit a fledgling economy, huge deficit, two wars, an energy crisis the list goes on, but arguably, his greatest task is uniting a bitterly divided nation. Fifty-two percent of voters decided he was the best man to handle the monumental task ahead. It was the middle class that gave him the presidency, for Obamas victory surely cannot be attributed to a countywide rise in liberal thinking or politics. The evidence lies in the passage of three same-sex marriage bans in Arizona, Florida and California.

Arizona was not a surprise. McCain won handily there with 54 percent of the vote; the ban passed with 56 percent.

The more telling results were in Florida and California, which both went blue this year. Florida, a battleground state, went 51 percent in favor of Obama, but its same-sex marriage ban passed by an overwhelming 62 percent. And in California, where same-sex marriages were made legal by its Supreme Court this year, the same-sex marriage ban, Proposition 8, passed with 52 percent, despite 61 percent support for Obama.

Neither McCain nor Obama is in favor of gay marriages, but Obama does support civil unions that would offer the same benefits as marriages. He also supports letting states decide whether to make same-sex marriages legal. But if Florida and especially California are any indication, the American people Democrats included simply arent ready to accept same-sex marriage.

The Iowa State Daily has long been supportive of LGBT rights. One of the reasons the Editorial Board endorsed Obama is his commitment to strengthen the civil rights of everyone, including gays and lesbians. We think civil unions even if they are a bit ambiguous in their differences from marriages should be a right for every couple in the country.

Were also disheartened to see Proposition 8 pass, which could result in the annulment of marriages already approved by the state.

That said, civil unions will be a very positive step, and later, maybe when people are ready we can have a serious discussion on same-sex marriages.

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