a year ago we voted. it was a day of celebration—celebration of the fading of america’s legacy of racism; celebration of a new, more hopeful chapter in american presidential history. i watched obama and his family take the stage in chicago and teared up along with hundreds of thousands of other americans. i teared up because there in front of me and millions of other americans was the evidence that what we have proclaimed for centuries was a little more true—all mankind was just a little more equal when america elected a young black man, the son of a mixed-race marriage which was not even legal in many states of the union when he was born.
i celebrated that night, but it was a bittersweet celebration. while my presidential candidate had won, carrying his nation forward towards equality, my state voted against equality by passing prop. 8. all night as i watched the presidential election results roll in, i kept tabs on the prop. 8 battle. and all night, it kept a damper on my spirits. i have no doubt that in fifty years, this nation will look back to the elections and laws regarding gay marriage and will see them as the shameful equal of laws and elections that denied african americans the right to vote and to receive an equal education and to marry where they loved.
tonight there’s a chance that this nation will start to move out of the shadow of anti-gay bigotry. in maine, the electorate will decide whether to uphold the law passed by their duly elected representatives legalizing gay marriage. and right now—right now they have upheld gay marriage 53% to 47%. i can only hope that this slim majority will be as tenacious as the equally slim majority by which prop. 8 passed in california a year ago. perhaps this small state will live up to its motto (dirigo) tonight and lead the nation another step towards equality.