Small victories for gay rights and gay politicians.

November 8, 2006 at 8:36 am (Social and Politics)

Arizona on Tuesday became the first state ever to defeat a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage by popular vote, as returns showed the anti-gay proposal losing.

Democrat Bob Casey, son of a popular former governor, defeated incumbent Sen. Rick Santorum, a conservative and third-ranking member of the Senate GOP leadership. His support for the Iraq war and outspoken opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage alienated him from many moderates, particularly in the Philadelphia suburbs.

It was a bad day for most Republicans, but in rural Brainerd, Minn., first-term GOP state Sen. Paul Koering was headed back to the statehouse with 55 percent of the vote. He had unexpectedly strong opposition in his primary from a self-styled “values” candidate after he came out as gay. He did so, he said, because rumors flew after he was the only Republican to join Democrats in opposing an effort to force a floor vote on a constitutional same-sex marriage ban.

In Oklahoma, Al McAffrey is poised to become the first openly gay state representative.

Missouri’s Jolie Justus expects to become her state’s first out state senator.

In Seattle, Jamie Pedersen, a lead attorney on Lambda Legal’s failed bid to legalize same-sex marriage in Washington state, was expected to win the Assembly seat given up by Ed Murray, who hopes to advance to the state Senate. Both men are in safe Democratic districts and are openly gay.

And on New York’s Staten Island, gay attorney Matthew Titone is the Democratic candidate for New York state Senate, in a district that had the same GOP incumbent for 50 years. Titone got lucky: He thought he would be a “sacrifice” candidate, a placeholder for Democrats, but a week after Titone agreed to run, incumbent John Marchi announced his retirement.

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