Matt Coles, Director of the ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Project:
Even in famously liberal San Francisco, we had to go through the process of trying to pass a simple domestic partnership law five times, and we lost twice. If you run up an unbroken string of victories in any battle for civil rights, that simply means you waited too long to get to work. Change that matters is never smooth or easy.
It will be important to go over the campaign carefully and learn from our mistakes. But we need to resist the temptation to blame ourselves for the loss. The perfect campaign hasn’t been run anywhere yet. Thousands of very good people worked their hearts out on this, and they deserve our thanks. The victims of an injustice should never be blamed for failing to end it unless they don’t try. And you can’t say that we didn’t try, and try damn hard.
We didn’t lose by much. Eight years ago, on virtually the same question, we could only get 39 percent. On Tuesday, we got over 48. While our opponents may be celebrating now, the handwriting is on the wall. They won’t be able to hold on much longer. There are other states where we’ll be able to get marriage in the next few years, and others where we’ll get domestic partnerships and civil unions.
We’ll be back in California. And we’ll win. You can depend on it.