Same-sex marriage is on the ballot in four states today. Thirty-two times before, voters have cast ballots on the question of marriage equality throughout this country, and 32 times we have lost. But this is the first time that the question has been on the ballot since the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" and the president going on record as saying that lesbian and gay couples should have equal rights. Now, I know that some of you will still say that the president's initial position was to endorse civil unions but not gay marriage. That is true. But you know what? I don't care. The fact is that he came around and endorsed our right to marry, and that is huge. I've had people in my life tell me that getting to know Sandy and me has changed their opinion on same-sex marriage. That's a good thing. Changing hearts is important.
So, here we are on yet another election day. I hope all the marriage equality ballot measures are successful. The country is moving in the direction of equality, much to the consternation of the religious right. Try as they might, as with all civil rights issues before, truth, love and equality will prevail. Those of you in Maryland, Minnesota, Maine and Washington should know that we are all with you in spirit. In Maryland the marriage equality initiative seems solid, with a 9- or 10-point lead. Maine's marriage referendum looks like it has the votes, with a 13-point lead. Washington has the brightest outlook, with a 54- to 38-percent lead among likely voters. Minnesota's question is a gay marriage-banning proposal, or to put it more honestly, the conservatives want to enshrine inequality into the Minnesota constitution.
What all these initiatives have in common is this: The people have the power to choose equality. And if you're a lesbian or gay citizen in those states, or the friend or family member of a lesbian or gay American, it's your duty to get out and vote. There is no room for apathy, folks. I hear so many of my friends saying, "Oh, I don't like politics," or some other lame excuse for inaction. If you don't look out for your own self-interest, how can you expect others to do so? Friends, this is how our country works. Democracy is a privilege and a duty. Today, this duty couldn't be more important, not only in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington but everywhere in this country. If you care about equality, get out and vote. It's imperative. Your quality of life depends on it.
The gains made for equality are fragile, and we've seen what can happen when we allow those who stand against us to frame the message. The stakes for those of you with marriage equality on the ballot are high, and the implications for the rest of the country are huge. Momentum builds, change takes hold and equality eventually wins. History bears this out. Get out the vote. Tell your family and friends. Let them know that this is personal. Make your voice heard for equality. This is your moment.