This week’s mixed bag
Feb 09, 2012 | 373 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
With Rick Santorum’s three-state sweep, the favorable Proposition 8 ruling and the resignation of a top official at Susan G. Komen, this week has been a mixed bag for the LGBT community.

In the three Republican presidential contests held Tuesday in Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri, Santorum beat out Mitt Romney, Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich.

On the surface, that’s pretty harrowing. But looking at voter turnout adds some context. In Colorado, Santorum took 40 percent of the vote, Romney took 35, Gingrich 13 and Paul 12. The total number of votes was 65,354 — of a total state population of 5.11 million.

In Missouri’s nonbinding primary, Santorum took 55 percent of the votes, with Romney taking 25 and Paul 12. (Gingrich wasn’t on the ballot.) The votes here totaled 243,283 — out of a total population of 6 million.

In Minnesota’s caucuses, Santorum took 45 percent of the vote, Paul took 27 percent, Romney took 17 and Gingrich took 11. The votes totaled 47,696 — out of a total state population of 5.34 million.

About 350,000 people voted in the three races — and less than 200,000 voted for Santorum. Not a lot of people.

Certainly, the population numbers are higher than the number of registered voters, and registered Republicans only make up a percentage of those.

Right now, none of the Republican candidates has anything sealed up. This contest is going to Super Tuesday, perhaps even the convention.

In the Prop. 8 ruling, a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals found 2-1 that the voter referendum that outlawed same-sex marriage in California was unconstitutional.

The opinion states: “For now, it suffices to conclude that the people of California may not, consistent with the federal Constitution, add to their state constitution a provision that has no more practical effect than to strip gays and lesbians of the right to use the official designation that the state and society give to committed relationships ... ”

As the judges stated the opinion is specific to Prop. 8 and California, the case may not proceed to the Supreme Court. (Prop. 8 supporters can appeal to the full Appeals Court or directly to the Supreme Court.) For its part, the Supreme Court may be unlikely to hear an appeal on a state-specific ruling.

Lastly, following the controversial announcement that it would end funding for Planned Parenthood, Susan G. Komen for the Cure reversed its decision and Karen Handel, the vice president for public policy credited with the policy to cut the funding, resigned.

In her resignation letter, Handel, a Republican who ran for governor of Georgia, stated the decision to exclude Planned Parenthood was based on “the need to distance Komen from controversy.” (Oh, the irony.)

To repair the damage — and return to its mission of achieving “a world without breast cancer” — Komen must ensure politics don’t creep into policies.

It’s unfortunate that Komen didn’t do that initially. Let’s hope they have learned from this misstep and rectify it. Meaningful partnerships with Planned Parenthood would be a start.

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