While the most visible manifestations of yesterday’s national repudiation of the far right were President Obama’s reelection, Republican losses in the U.S. Senate, and the success of marriage equality at the ballot box, there were other important victories that deserve attention.
For instance, in Florida, voters soundly defeated some very bad proposed state constitutional amendments. They would have required 60% support in order to have been approved.
Amendment 8 would have ended the state’s longtime constitutional prohibition on public funding of houses of worship, religious denominations, and sectarian institutions. Advocates for public schools and church-state separation worked hard to defeat Amendment 8, and they succeeded. The proposed amendment garnered only 44% at the polls, not a majority, and nowhere near the required 60%.
Amendment 6 would have altered the state constitutional right to privacy, so that with respect to abortion it would be no broader than the federal right to privacy in the U.S. Constitution. This would have ensured that the instant a conservative Supreme Court overruled Roe v. Wade, women in Florida would also lose their reproductive rights under the state constitution, as well. Amendment 6 would also have prohibited (with very few exceptions) any state funding of abortions, including of health insurance coverage including abortion coverage. This front on the war on women faltered at the polls, getting only 45% of the vote.
In the nation’s capital and in states across the country, today is a day to savor our victories. But for all those who care about the American Way, the hard work of fighting to protect our rights and values from the far right continues.