Gay Ballot Measures Since '72:
102 Losses, 23 Wins
From the NY Times obit after William F. Buckley Jr died:
To the New York City politician Mark Green, he purred: “You’ve been on the show [Firing Line] close to 100 times over the years. Tell me, Mark, have you learned anything yet?”
This amusing anecdote sprang to mind after I compiled a list of all winning and losing ballot propositions over the decades related to gay people. Leave to conservative Buckley to sting an opponent into spirited debate, with a simple question, one that expresses what I want to ask my gay community.
Information from three lists shows gay people have suffered 102 losses and 23 wins since 1972 through the ballot initiative process. The setback in Maine this week became our 102nd loss. That is some string of failures for the sissies. Triple digits losses over forty years, and I ask, have we learned anything yet?
I took data from this list published by a straight University of Kansas professor, Don Haider-Markel, (thank you, so much, Don), and also from this Wikipedia entry on LGBT ballot initiatives, along with info at the Wikipedia entry on gay marriage measures, and tallied up wins and losses.
Last week I was upset when Maine became the 31st gay marriage prop loss, but I didn't know the larger context of all gay-specific props, and it's even more disturbing to have to wrap my head around the total figure of 102 ballot measure losses.
Like a screaming queen at the Stonewall Inn riot and rebellion, I'm fed up with being treated like dirt by the establishment, and the Mr. Nice Gay leadership that produces endless ballot box bashings damaging our collective psyche and community karma.
Let's not forget the high price of the campaigns, sucking up money that could go to better use like housing subsidies for gay/bisexual/lesbian/transgender seniors. How many millions are we talking about? David Mixner has part of the answer:
We have poured over $100,000,000 in the last two years into efforts where Americans feel it is there obligation to vote on our freedom.
One-hundred million in just two years and I shudder to think of the cost to the gay community pocketbook after _decades_ of these ballot props.
How much higher than 102 failures must our losses number climb to before things change? Much higher, with the thinking expressed by a man whose career is working on these losing campaigns. From a recent Washington Post article:
Advocates say there was a partial victory even in Maine, where the vote was closer than it had been in previous campaigns.
"We're hopeful that it's a signal that there is increasing support for gay couples to marry," said Dan Hawes, field director for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. "Nationally, we're going to continue education efforts to move the needle of public opinion, especially in California."
Sorry, Dan Hawes, and the rest of the Gay Inc folks who have without question helped create 102 setbacks, with so many gay millions down the toilet. It no longer is good enough to change move the needle.