Freedom To Marry

The gay and non-gay partnership working to win marriage equality nationwide

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Election 2006

Elections results in 2006 show how gay people didn't hurt but rather helped progressives.

Some key results were:

  • Wisconsin Republican Congressman James Sensenbrenner told the Wisconsin media that the state's anti-gay ballot measures blew up in the face of the GOP and cost them control of the state legislature (and the Democrat Governor they were targeting was resoundingly reelected, despite passage of the attack measure).
  • In Virginia, Republicans "credited" the ballot measure with bringing enough progressives and Democrats to the polls to elect Webb and thus give the Democrats control of the US Senate.
  • The anti-gay measure in Arizona was defeated, and we saw the margins drop considerably, reflecting progress (though we are still under attack and need to fight affirmatively as well as help those now extra-discriminated against).
  • And finally, not a single pro-gay legislator was defeated by an anti-gay or anti-marriage equality legislator anywhere in the country (including CA, MA, etc., where legislators stood for marriage equality) because of this question, and numerous new pro-marriage candidates (including two governors: NY and MA) were elected in states such as CT, NH, CA, NY, and MA.

Use the key resources below to learn more about what happened in election 2006 and how the fight for equality paved the way for key victories.

 


 

FROM EVAN WOLFSON:

Happy, but not satisfied
Newsweek
October 30, 2006

Evan Wolfson, executive director of Freedom to Marry and author of Why Marriage Matters (Simon & Schuster, 2004) speaks with Newsweek's Debra Rosenberg about the unanimous NJ Supreme Court decision, the upcoming 2006 election, and the work ahead to win the freedom to marry.

Winning marriage
TomPaine.com
October 27, 2006

While a shifting mood in the electorate may give our cause a boost—and as the public begins to wise up to Karl Rove's gay-scapegoat-distraction plan—we are still likely to lose most, if not all, of the ballot measures aimed against us. We need to be ready to explain that loss to ourselves, our media and the public so the right-wing cannot spin these defeats into a false claim that our cause undermines candidates or other concerns we share.

PODCAST: Marriage equality leader debates VA anti-gay amendment sponsor
University of Virginia School of Law
October 6, 2006

Evan Wolfson's October 5, 2006, debate with VA Delegate Bob Marshall, co-sponsor of a proposed amendment to the VA Constitution to prohibit legal recognition or benefits for same-sex relationships.

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WHERE YOU CAN GO TO LEARN MORE:

Log Cabin Republicans: Election 2006
The Log Cabin Republicans discuss the social conservative backlash Republicans experienced in the 2006 election.

Human Rights Campaign: Election 2006
State-by-state returns, election updates and blog stories, results for key races across the country, and the outcomes of discriminatory anti-gay initiatives in eight states.

Victory Fund: Election Scorecard
The Victory Fund tracks their endorsements of openly LGBT officials from the 2006 election.

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THE NUMBERS: POLLING & STATISTICS:

Election 2006: Support for same-sex marriage grows significantly
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
November 8, 2006

  • Arizona became the first state to reject an anti-marriage constitutional amendment, by a margin of 51 percent to 49 percent, and the anti-marriage amendments which were approved passed by significantly lower margins than in past years.
  • For the first time in any state, pro-marriage equality candidates have been elected governor. Pro-marriage equality gubernatorial candidates Deval Patrick in Massachusetts and Eliot Spitzer in New York were elected by landslides.

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PUBLICATIONS:

Pro-Marriage Incumbents and Candidates Win Elections
July 2007
Taking a stand to end the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage does not hurt incumbents or candidates in their elections.

Same-sex marriage initiatives and lesbian, gay and bisexual voters in the 2006 elections
National Gay & Lesbian Task Force
December 20, 2006

This analysis of election returns and data from the National Election Pool exit poll finds that same-sex marriage ballot initiatives did not help Republican Senate candidates in 2006. Support for same-sex marriage bans has fallen especially dramatically in states where people identifying themselves as born-again or evangelical Christians make up an identifiable minority of residents.

The Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Vote in 2006
Williams Institute
October 2006

Gary Gates of the Williams Institute presents the potential impact of gay, lesbian and bisexual voters in the 2006 election.

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NEWS:

Read news articles about freedom to marry and the 2006 election.

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Happy, but not satisfied

Newsweek
October 30, 2006

Evan Wolfson, executive director of Freedom to Marry and author of Why Marriage Matters (Simon & Schuster, 2004) speaks with Newsweek's Debra Rosenberg about the unanimous NJ Supreme Court decision, the upcoming 2006 election, and the work ahead to win the freedom to marry.

Winning marriage

TomPaine.com
October 27, 2006

While a shifting mood in the electorate may give our cause a boost—and as the public begins to wise up to Karl Rove's gay-scapegoat-distraction plan—we are still likely to lose most, if not all, of the ballot measures aimed against us. We need to be ready to explain that loss to ourselves, our media and the public so the right-wing cannot spin these defeats into a false claim that our cause undermines candidates or other concerns we share.

PODCAST: Marriage equality leader debates VA anti-gay amendment sponsor

University of Virginia School of Law
October 6, 2006

Evan Wolfson's October 5, 2006, debate with VA Delegate Bob Marshall, co-sponsor of a proposed amendment to the VA Constitution to prohibit legal recognition or benefits for same-sex relationships.

Same-sex marriage initiatives and lesbian, gay and bisexual voters in the 2006 elections

National Gay & Lesbian Task Force
December 20, 2006

This analysis of election returns and data from the National Election Pool exit poll finds that same-sex marriage ballot initiatives did not help Republican Senate candidates in 2006. Support for same-sex marriage bans has fallen especially dramatically in states where people identifying themselves as born-again or evangelical Christians make up an identifiable minority of residents.