As you are probably aware, Maine voters last week rejected the same sex marriage law with 53% of the vote. The only thing I really have to say is that our time will come. Though it’s unfortunate that we do not have completely equal rights, I am happy to live in a country where I can love freely. Still we must fight the good fight and defend our right for marriage equality. I am currently a student at UCSD and my research focus has been about the California Initiative Process, and I am working with a research group to get some initiative reforms passed through the state legislature. That being said, I have a few opinions about last week’s election:Unlike Proposition 8, the Maine gay marriage ban was not constitutionalized. If they so decided tomorrow, the Maine legislature could pass another law that enables gay marriage, and the anti-gay groups would have to start the referendum process all over again. I do not foresee the legislature doing this anytime soon, but it gives me hope for the future as attitudes towards gay marriage brighten amongst the electorate. The ban could be overturned in state courts, like Proposition 22 (Proposition 8’s statutory predecessor) was in California.Stampp Corbin from GLTnewsnow.com argues maybe we should put this issue on the backburner because civil unions and domestic partnerships afford the same rights as marriage. While I am not sure about domestic partnerships throughout the rest of the country, I do know that in California this is not completely true. The differences are all outlined in In Re Marriage cases, the case that overturned Prop 22, footnote 24. Though civil unions have the same substantive rights as marriage, they do not have the same procedural rights in acquiring marriage. For example, a same-sex couple must file with the Secretary of State in order to procure a civil union while straight couples are only required to file with their county clerk. Though these procedural differences are not particularly huge obstacles right now- if anti-gay politicians get voted in, they could potentially add more red tape to the process for gays seeking domestic partnership status. I would imagine the parity between domestic partnership and marriage vary from state to state, but the ideal would be for same-sex and heterosexual couples to go through the same institutions for partnership. There is some truth to Mr. Corbin’s words, however, domestic partnership is better than nothing.Finally, a word about the initiative process itself. Some say that the initiative process is a way for the people to check special interests. It’s not- it’s just another vehicle for special interests. This has been evident with the vast amounts of money contributed in the Maine campaign, in the California Prop 8 campaign and with most other initiative campaigns. Misinformation and intimidation are the key tactics used by both the “yes” and “no” sides in order to confuse the voters. What I am sure of is that the initiative process requires reform in my state, and it’s probably the same with your state too.

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