Last Night’s Other Same-Sex Marriage Victories

David Weigel points out that the four Ballot Questions I noted earlier are not the only victory for the forces of marriage equality last night:

Iowa: This is the victory few people were paying attention to. Republicans worked themselves raw to take the state Senate, targeting Democratic Senate Leader Mike Gronstal in his western Iowa district. Rick Santorum made nearly weekly trips to the state to stump for Republicans. The potential prize: A new vote on gay marriage, which conservatives figured they could win. But Democrats have held the state Senate. And Justice David Wiggins, one of those who affirmed gay marriage, was retained.

New York: And this is the surprise: Democrats will take the state Senate, edging past suburban Republicans who seemed to be locked in. The National Organization for Marriage had published a three-part plan for repealing gay marriage there, starting with wins this year. They didn’t get them.

I’m at a loss to think of any recent rout this decisive for any issue group.

As am I. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that the tide has turned on this issue, finally.

FILED UNDER: 2012 Election, Gender Issues, US Politics, , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. michael reynolds says:

    It is the most amazing political shift I have ever seen in my life. We’re talking about a tiny minority, despised since basically forever, accepted and embraced with a suddenness that is jaw-dropping.

  2. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @michael reynolds: When I came out to my family in the late 80s, I was just done with my first year of college. At the time, I didn’t pursue my desired (at that time) career of being a high school English teacher, since my mother refused to continue to pay. Specifically because gay people shouldn’t be allowed to teach children. And she told me once that I should probably not try to maintain a relationship with my younger brothers since I would likely die from AIDS within a few years and it wouldn’t be fair to put them through that.

    So I went and created a “family of choice.” I assumed through my twenties that they would be my only one.

    But the shift has been profound. Little things have taken me by surprise over the years. The first time my half-brother and his wife asked me to take their three pre-teen sons to Six Flags so they could have an adult weekend alone (about 10 years ago). The first time my Dad told me to wish my partner well (about 5 years ago). A different brother and his wife switching congregations when their pastor wouldn’t approve of me as a godfather (about 3 years ago). The first conversation I had with my mom about the guy I was dating (this past spring). Like my various uncles and aunts and cousins in the backwoods of Maine posting to Facebook yesterday after voting for Prop One yesterday in support of me and another gay cousin (yesterday).

    If you had told me even five years ago that, should I find the person I want to marry, I can go back to Maine and be surrounded on that day by (most) of my family and all of my friends, I would not have believed it for one hot minute. But today I do, for sure.

  3. swbarnes2 says:

    Talk is cheap, Doug. What do your votes accomplish in terms of supporting gay marriage?:

    As a legislator, Bob McDonnell was chief sponsor and author of a constitutional amendment protecting traditional marriage (Chief Patron, HJ 187, 2004). As Attorney General, Bob supported Virginia’s marriage amendment

    So much for supporting fairness and equality.

  4. michael reynolds says:

    @Gromitt Gunn:

    Of course now you’ve lost an easy way to avoid actually getting married.

    It got better. November 6, 2012.

  5. An Interested Party says:

    Poor Maggie Gallagher…all that time and money wasted…and it is only the beginning…she must feel like segregationists did in the late 60s…I’m sure it is no fun at all to be on the losing side of history…

  6. RaflW says:

    @michael reynolds:
    Yes … moslty.

    What I mean is that what looks like suddenly to the general public is the result of a ground game, core community organizing that has been running for 40 years+.

    We’ve been shifting hearts and minds one-on-one for a loooooong time. And while the tipping point looks like it just happened in a blink, we’ve been building methodically, some times in fits and starts, for decades.

    I’m excited, I’m relieved, I know there’s a lot more work to do, but we’ve crossed a hazardous sandbar and are sailing home.

  7. Franklin says:

    @Gromitt Gunn: A powerful story you just told in a few short paragraphs.

  8. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @Franklin: Thank you.

    @michael reynolds: Indeed. 🙂