Change 2012: Gay Rights and Legalized Marijuana

At the Federal level, the election delivered much of the same: Obama is President, Democrats control (as much as they can) the Senate, and Republicans retained the House. At the state level, however, voters ushered in some important changes.

Gay rights advocates secured several important victories. Minnesota voted down an anti-gay  constitutional amendment. For the first time gay marriage was passed by voters, in three states nonetheless. Washington, Maine, and Maryland all passed gay marriage measures. In the past, states have secured gay marriage through the courts or legislature. This is the first time populations have directly voted in gay marriage.

Marijuana legalization measures passed in Colorado and Washington, the first of their kind. These were not simply medical use only laws, recreational use was legalized and marijuana will be regulated like alcohol. The Oregon measure failed, however, denying marijuana advocates a clean sweep.

This is true conservative change, in the spirit of Edmund Burke. Revolutions and social upheaval are simply not necessary for things to change. Slow, gradual challenges to the status-quo are the best way for change to occur. People who are uneasy by these measures have time to adjust, to see the consequences, or lack thereof.

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