Elections tell you a lot about the worldview of Americans. Last night’s election is no exception. It reveals a lot about our moral views. This election reveals that our nation has become very accepting of homosexuality and same-sex marriage, as well as smoking pot.
Homosexuality and Same-Sex Marriage
Wisconsin elected the first openly gay U.S. Senator. Maine (53% vs. 47%) and Maryland (52% vs. 48%) voted to support the legalization of same-sex marriage. Maryland voters merely confirmed their support of a law allowing same-sex marriage that was recently signed into law by the governor. Maine chimed in on this same issue in 2009 after their legislature passed a bill legalizing same-sex marriage, and they rejected same-sex marriage with 53% of the vote. Look how quickly public opinion is shifting!
The significance of what happened in Maine and Maryland cannot be underestimated. This is the first time in history that same-sex marriage has been approved by the people of a state as opposed to the courts or legislature.
Washington also had an initiative to legalize same-sex marriage (same-sex marriage was already legal in all but name). Only half of the votes have been counted thus far, but at present 52% have voted in favor of same-sex marriage, and thus it is likely to become legal there as well. If so, nine states will have laws allowing same-sex marriage.
Minnesota tried to change their constitution to limit marriage to a man and a woman, but the initiative was defeated 51% to 48%. The measure’s defeat, however, does not mean that same-sex marriage is legal. It’s just not on the books as being illegal.
On the international front, France is now in the process of trying to legalize same-sex marriage there. If it passes, they will become the 12th country in the world where same-sex couples can marry. And yesterday, Spain’s high court upheld a 2005 law that legalized same-sex marriage.
For all you potheads, Washington (55% vs. 45% with half of the votes counted) and Colorado (55% vs. 45%)) is your new vacation spot of choice. These states legalized the recreational use of pot (even though it is considered a controlled substance by the federal government, and hence illegal). Oregon defeated a similar measure (55% vs. 45%). Arkansas defeated (51% vs. 49%) a ballot initiative to legalize the use of “medical marijuana,” while Massachusetts approved one (63% vs. 37%). Montana already allowed medical marijuana in certain situations, but put an initiative on the ballot to keep the law the law. They succeeded with 57% of the vote.
Now I’ll turn my attention to some better news on the moral front.
Surprisingly, there were only two ballot initiatives related to abortion this year. Florida voted down a measure to withhold public funds for abortion with 55% of the vote. Montana voted to institute a parental notification requirement before minors can obtain abortions (70% vs. 30%).
Californians voted 53% to 47% to keep the death penalty.
Massachusetts narrowly defeated an initiative to legalize physician-assisted suicide in the state (51% vs. 49%). Oregon and Washington are the only states that allow it.