Yesterday's elections in the United States, which brought the first Democratic controlled House of Representatives (and possibly Senate) since 1994, offered good news for marriage in many states, but key defeats in the defense of the life of the unborn.
South Dakotans voted against a toughest-in-the-nation law that would have banned virtually all abortions. The measure, passed overwhelmingly by the legislature earlier this year, would have allowed abortion only to save a pregnant woman's life.
Lawmakers hoped the ban would be challenged in court, provoking litigation that might eventually lead to a U.S. Supreme Court reversal of the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion.
In California, Proposition 85, which would have required parental notification for minors seeking abortion, was defeated 53 against 46.
And in Oregon, another measure was defeated that would have required parental notification and a 48-hour waiting period before a minor could receive an abortion. The measure, which was defeated by a 54 - 46 margin leaves current Oregon law, which allows individuals 15 years or older to obtain an abortion without parental notification, intact.
Meanwhile, in Missouri most are forecasting the passage of a contentious amendment that would open the door for destructive embryonic stem cell research and human cloning through somatic cell nuclear transfer.
Fr. Thomas Euteneuer, President of Human Life International, said this morning that Missourians were duped into accepted the amendment. “We are saddened by the passage of Amendment 2 and recognize that it only passed because this proposal was carefully crafted by the powerful bio- tech lobby’s lawyers to purposely be misleading and confusing,” Euteneuer said. “This amendment is inherently deceptive, exploitative and misleading and the people of Missouri deserve better.”
“Women and their fertility will now be treated like a commodity that can be bought and sold on a whim, while subjecting women to a dangerous procedure that can cause irreparable harm and even death,” Euteneuer worried.
Nevertheless, seven states joined the ranks of those who have passed constitutional amendments banning same-sex “marriage”: Idaho, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Wisconsin, Colorado, and South Dakota. A proposed amendment in Arizona is still too close to call.
Similar amendments have passed previously in all 20 states to consider them.
One of the most important victories took place in Wisconsin, where gay-rights activists hoped for their first-ever victory over marriage.
"We did our best," said Josh Freker, a spokesman for the pro-gay organization, "Fair Wisconsin." Freker said this was the first full-fledged campaign to defeat such a measure. "We did have a lot of hope," he said.
Lorri Pickens, campaign manager for Vote Yes for Marriage, said Wisconsin voters wanted to prevent "activist judges" from potentially legalizing gay marriage.
"People understand that the institution of marriage is an important rock bed and foundation for our communities," Pickens said.
Another key victory for marriage took place in Colorado, were voters not only approved an amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman, but also defeated the controversial "Referendum I," which would have granted gay unions all the same rights granted to married couples.
Gay activists saw in Referendum I a test case of how to circumvent marriage amendments around the nation by using the term "civil unions" to grant same-sex couples exactly the same rights marriages have.
Jim Pfaff, national representative of the lobbying branch of Focus on the Family said Coloradans saw through the “deceptive campaign” launched by the “homosexual lobby.”
“(Ref. I) would have redefined the terms ‘spouse', ‘family' and ‘next of kin' in all of Colorado law,” said Pfaff. “There aren't many things that you can do that are more radical, when it comes to Colorado law.”
Pfaff applauded Colorado for passing Amendment 43 and joining other states across the country in upholding the traditional definition of marriage.
“The instinct of humans and thousands of years of history show that, without exception, marriage has always been the union of one man and one woman,” said Pfaff.
The defeat of Referendum I was especially significant, since it received an unprecedented financial support, mainly from gay multi millionaire Tim Gill, the founder Quark Inc.