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Statement from HRC’s Joe Solmonese

Joe Solmonese with Jeremy Hooper

HRC’s Joe Solmonese, whom I met and spoke with length last night, released the following statement today:

Dear Louise,

A deep and bitter disappointment from Maine yesterday: Maine voters have passed a devastating Proposition 8-style measure overturning the state’s marriage equality law.

Our hearts are with everyone in Maine who fought so hard to win recognition for their families. The legislature passed marriage equality earlier this year, but a divisive anti-LGBT campaign to scare voters seems to have worked.

It is infuriating to see that the same fear-mongering ads that were used to pass Prop. 8 a year ago have triumphed again at the expense of so many. This is a terrible loss.

Although we lost our battle in Maine, we will not allow the lies and hate – the foundation on which our opponents built their campaign – to break our spirits. We are on the right side of history and we will continue this fight with even more vigor.

Our friends at No on 1/Protect Maine Equality waged a strong and smart campaign. Thousands of volunteers exposed hundreds of thousands of Mainers to the real lives of same-sex couples and their families – many for the first time.

I am angry. But more importantly, I am determined that with the anger I feel today from this outcome in Maine, we’ll rise ever stronger to demand equal treatment under the law and equal respect for our relationships in Maine, California, New Jersey, and every state in the Union.

And in other state elections yesterday…

In Washington state, voters appear to have cast their ballots to approve Referendum 71, a measure that would expand domestic partnerships to have every state-level right and benefit afforded to married couples. I feel confident that when all of the votes are counted, it will be clear that the voters of Washington chose to provide equal rights and benefits to same-sex couples and their families.

In New Jersey, Governor Jon Corzine – endorsed by HRC – has lost his re-election bid. He has been a strong ally for LGBT people in New Jersey, and he had pledged repeatedly to sign a marriage equality bill that could still be passed by legislators later this year.

In Virginia, HRC endorsed Creigh Deeds for governor and placed 20 staffers at work in key delegate races. Deeds unfortunately lost his bid for governor, but there will be new pro-equality voices in the House of Delegates next year.

In Kalamazoo, Michigan, right-wing groups wanted to make sure it stayed legal to fire or refuse housing to someone just because they’re LGBT. 65% of Kalamazoo voters disagreed and voted to approve Ordinance 1856, expanding the city’s existing anti-discrimination law to include sexual orientation and gender identity.

Check HRC’s Backstory blog for updates on these and other races throughout the day.

Louise, I know that the results of today’s elections are frustrating.

But having seen the passion and dedication of volunteers in this election, I know that tomorrow is a new day – and that our movement has the strength and power it needs to keep moving forward.

Joe Solmonese