The day after: How bad was it?

by on November 3, 2010  •  In Congress, Elections

Pretty bad, especially in DC where progressives will go back to playing defense in Congress. Bills that seemed like viable prospects a few months ago – ENDA, the Domestic Partners Benefits and Obligations Act – are seriously dead, perhaps for years. Will DADT repeal make it through the Senate in the lame duck session? Anybody's guess. On the positive side, there is a fourth openly gay member of the House: David Cicilline from Rhode Island (photo below); and Barney Frank was re-elected, although by a smaller margin than he is used to.

 David-cicilline-0907-lgThere will be a major increase in pressure on the White House to do more positive things by administrative action, since Congress has gone over to the dark side. Unfortunately, however, an administration that was timid and gunshy on lgbt issues to begin with will now face the prospect of Republicans using their new House majority to initiate many, many oversight hearings and investigations. Most of these will probably center on financial issues and health reform, but the GOP base may want some action on social issues as well.

The only silver lining I see to the Tuesday bloodbath is that there are now more strongly pro-gay governors than ever, including Brown in CA, Cuomo in NY, Dayton in MN, Hickenlooper in CO, possibly Quinn in IL (race is still undecided), and Patrick (re-elected) in MA. In addition, NH Governor John Lynch, who signed a marriage bill, was re-elected. So far as I can tell, no gubernatorial candidate who endorsed marriage equality lost his race (unless the very close MN race eventually goes to the Republican; some news sites still list it as undecided). 

Other follow-up from my pre-election post:

A Republican won the Attorney General race in Florida, a Dem was elected in New York, and the California race is still too close to call, although the Dem holds a tiny lead.

In other House races, DADT repeal leader Patrick Murphy lost his job, and Palm Springs Mayor Steve Pougnet fell short in the effort to turn out Mary Bono Mack. Hometown update: McIntyre won.

State legislatures:

Marcus Brandon (photo right) was elected Political newcomer Marcus Brandon defeated Rep. Earl Jones of  Greensboro in the Democratic primary. The dark areas of the district map  were carried by Brandon, and the six light green areas by Jones to the state legislature in North Carolina, another openly gay African-American officeholder, and a rare bright spot from the election. Other openly gay public officials are listed here.

In several states, both chambers of the legislature now have Republican majorities. In New Hampshire, that may lead to an effort to repeal the equal marriage law there, although presumably Gov. Lynch would veto such legislation. (However, a reader points out that the Republicans have a veto-proof majority.) In NC, it may allow Republicans to get a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage through the legislature, which a Dem majority had been able to kill year after year. Same is true in Pennsylvania. And it's pretty safe bet that there won't be much equality legislation getting enacted in Maine for awhile.

In general, adoption of state civil rights laws will almost certainly slow down.  In 7 out of the 10 most populous states in the nation, there is no state-wide anti-discrimination protection for lgbt people: Florida, Texas, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Georgia and North Carolina. As of today, both chambers of the state legislature have Republican majorities in every one of those states; all but North Carolina also have Republican governors. That's a pretty serious brick wall.

As for judgeships, the most important race produced a huge defeat when a 54% majority of Iowa voters dumped three Iowa Supreme Court justices who joined that court's marriage equality opinion.

Still, I can end on a bright note: in California state court, Victoria Kolakowski became the nation's first openly transgender judge. 


2 Responses to The day after: How bad was it?

  1. daftpunkydavid November 3, 2010 at 9:08 PM

    “In New Hampshire, that may lead to an effort to repeal the equal marriage law there, although presumably Gov. Lynch would veto such legislation.”

    But it seems that the republicans have a veto-proof majority in both houses… let’s hope those republicans who voted for marriage equality will keep it that way.

  2. Nan Hunter November 4, 2010 at 12:22 AM

    Excellent point and one that I completely overlooked.

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