In addition to President Obama’s decisive Electoral College victory tonight (popular vote wise, we remain quite split), voters in several states weigh-in on some interesting ballot measures:
For the first time in US history, voters, not the courts, approved same-sex marriage laws, with successful campaigns in Maine and Maryland, and a close contest still unfolding in Washington. In Minnesota, voters are considering a constitutional amendment that would define marriage as between one man and one woman. While most Catholic leaders and bishops largely sat out the contest this time around in Maine, many were vocal and active in the other three states.
In Massachusetts, voters appear to have narrowly rejected a ballot question that would have legalized physician-assisted suicide. A broad coalition formed to campaign against the question, including Cardinal Sean O’Malley and liberal lay Catholics including Vicki Kennedy and columnist E.J. Dionne. Interestingly, the Massachusetts Medical Society joined in opposition to the bill, citing not moral concerns but fear over potential abuse of the elderly or disabled. Given the close vote, it will be interesting to see if the backers of the ballot question work in those protections and try again.
Voters in California are considering abolishing the death penalty, where opponents ran a campaign based not on morality or ethics, but the extravagant cost to the state’s beleaguered budget. Early returns show the repeal effort faltering.
Maryland voters approved by a large margin a version of the DREAM Act, offering in-state tuition rates to the children of undocumented immigrants. The Catholic Church in that state offered support for the question.
Another milestone in presidential elections: no white Protestant was on either ticket. Catholics who attend Mass weekly went for Romney 58%-41%, while those Catholics who attend Mass less frequently went for Obama 55%-43%, nearly the same rate as 2008 when Obama beat Sen. John McCain. Obama won 68% of Jewish voters, down from 78% in 2008. Latinos went for Obama 70%-30% and African-Americans 90%-10%. (See more on polls here.)
Finally, history was made in New Hampshire, where both US Senators, both members of Congress, and the governor will all be women.