Voters side with equal rights

BY Advocate.com Editors

November 07 2002 12:00 AM ET

With the exception of voters in Nevada, where an antigay constitutional amendment received overwhelming support as expected, voters across the nation sided with equal rights in gay-related ballot initiatives across the country.

In Sarasota, Fla., voters added a gay-inclusive antidiscrimination amendment to the city charter. The amendment was approved by 73% of voters, with all the precincts reported. The proposal prohibits discrimination on the basis of age, disability, gender, marital status, national origin, race, religion, sexual orientation, or veteran's status in the areas of housing, employment, and public accommodations.

Voters in Westbrook, Maine, narrowly upheld a gay rights ordinance approved by the city council in July. The vote Tuesday was 51% in favor of the measure and 49% opposed. The ordinance outlawing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in employment, housing, credit, and access to public accommodations is one of 10 such measures on the books in Maine cities and towns.

In Ypsilanti, Mich., voters rejected by a two-to-one ratio a proposal that would have revoked citywide protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered people. The protections have been in effect since 1998, when voters initially approved them a year after they were passed by the city council.

And with nearly all the votes counted, the tally was coming in 60%-40% against a proposal in Tacoma, Wash., that would amend the city's antidiscrimination law to remove protections passed earlier this year for the city's gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered residents.

In the one initiative defeat Tuesday, 66% of the voters in Nevada voted to amend the state's constitution to limit the definition of marriage to only that between a man and a woman. The measure received 70% of the votes in 2000. This second vote was needed in order to actually amend the state constitution.

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