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Media Covers Setback in Maine, Progress in Kalamazoo, and Hope for Washington

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rsz_electionsLate Tuesday night, reports confirmed that Maine voters had repealed the state’s marriage equality law, passed by the legislature and signed by Gov. John Baldacci earlier this year, with 53% voting Yes on Proposition 1.

The Associated Press highlighted the emotional reaction of Maine couples whose rights will now be denied.  Cecilia Burnett, who had been planning to marry her longtime partner Ann Swanson said:

''I'm ready to start crying.  I don't understand what the fear is, why people are so afraid of this change.  It hurts. It hurts personally.  It's a personal rejection of us and our relationship, and I don't understand what the fear is.''

Another AP article quoted Gov. Baldacci reflecting on the results: ''If we don't get to the top of the mountain tonight, we've made a significant stride. And we're going to get there. We will get to the top of the mountain.''

Baldacci appeared on the Rachel Maddow Show in anticipation of the results earlier on Tuesday to discuss voter turnout, his personal and political transformation on the topic of marriage equality, and the need to change hearts and minds:

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As reporters have been quick to point out, yesterday’s outcome makes Maine the 31st state to lose a marriage equality battle through a popular vote.  However, those fighting for marriage equality remain steadfast in their belief that change will come and proud of the work already done, as reflected in Connolly’s statement:

“I am proud of the thousands of Mainers who knocked on doors, made phone calls and talked to their family, friends and neighbors about the basic premise of treating all Maine families equally.  We're in this for the long haul.  Because in the end, this has always been about love and family and that will always be something worth fighting for.”

More reasons for hope prevail in Washington state, where early results from the vote on Referendum 71 indicate a majority supporting the expanded domestic partnership law, though officials are still waiting to receive all ballots.

The Seattle Times quoted State Senator Ed Murray, primary sponsor of the domestic-partnership bill, saying that “[Tuesday’s early results show] this state really is hearing the story we’re trying to tell about who gay and lesbian families are.  That’s really what this is about.”

And with a finalized and positive outcome of the vote in Michigan, Kalamazoo approved a city ordinance that prevents discrimination against LGBT people in housing, employment, and public accommodations.

Urvashi Vaid, executive director of the Arcus Foundation based in Kalamazoo, celebrated the passage of the ordinance as “a grassroots effort” where “people from all walks of life…joined together to support equality and affirm the inclusiveness of this community.”

GLAAD has been active in all three of these campaigns, providing media trainings and conducting local media outreach.  We will continue to provide updates about media coverage of election results across the country.

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