Election hangover


Tuesday’s election results were a mixed bag for the LGBT community (though the frustration level might never match that of Election Day 2004 or 2008).

Some of the lowlights include Republican Chris Christie defeating incumbent Democrat Jon Corzine as governor of New Jersey; Democrat Jack Panella losing to Republican Joan Orie Melvin for Pennsylvania state Supreme Court; and Maine voting to overturn same-sex marriage — after the legislature passed it earlier this year.

In New Jersey, Corzine promised to sign a same-sex-marriage bill; Christie opposes same-sex marriage. Melvin’s election to the Pennsylvania state Supreme Court ensures a Republican majority, four to three.

Some of the highlights locally include success for six openly LGBT candidates: judges Dan Anders and Dawn Segal were elected to the Court of Common Pleas and Municipal Court, respectively. In Harrisburg, openly gay former City Councilman Dan Miller was elected as city controller. In New Hope, Sharyn Keiser was reelected to City Council. In Coatesville, Karl Marking was elected to City Council. And in Abington, Lori Schreiber was reelected to Abington Township Commission.

And there were small successes across the nation.

In Washington, where ballots are mailed in, it looks like voters opted to keep the state’s domestic-partner law, which gives the same rights and benefits as marriage, but without the name.

In New York City, two new openly gay councilmembers were elected, bringing the total to four: City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Rosie Mendez, Daniel Dromm and James Van Bramer.

In Kalamazoo, Mich., voters upheld a nondiscrimination bill that included sexual orientation and gender identity.

In Houston, out lesbian and City Controller Annise Parker garnered 31 percent of the vote, with her closest opponent, Gene Locke, picking up 25 percent. As no one received a majority of the votes, a run-off will be held next month.

In Detroit, openly gay former news anchor Charles Pugh was elected City Council president.

In St. Petersburg, Fla., voters elected the city’s first openly gay person to office, Steve Kornell.

In Chapel Hill, N.C., Mark Kleinschmidt will be the city’s first openly gay mayor.

In Akron, Ohio, out lesbian Sandra Kurt will be the city’s first openly gay person elected to city council.

In Maplewood, Minn., openly gay James Llanas will be the city’s first out councilmember.

Despite the gains on city councils across the country, the hardest losses for the community were the Maine referendum and New Jersey’s governorship, both blows to same-sex marriage. Which means that more out candidates need to run for office to increase LGBT visibility.