NOW Celebrates Encouraging Results in State Elections
Voters in California, Maine reject right-wing ballot measures
November 9, 2005
The National Organization for Women congratulates voters in California, Maine and New Jersey for supporting equality and opposing bigotry in Tuesday's elections, when voters across the country weighed initiatives on abortion and laws prohibiting discrimination.
"These votes will send a message to the right wing that voters do not support discrimination or policies that infringe on women's rights," said NOW President Kim Gandy. "Their agenda has been soundly defeated in several states. Voters are taking this country in a better direction."
In California, voters rejected Proposition 73, which would have required young women age 17 and under to notify their parents before seeking an abortion. Fifty-three percent of voters recognized that, although the vast majority of teens do talk with their parents about such a decision, a parental notice requirement would put other young women in physical jeopardy.
"Proposition 73 was an incredibly dangerous initiative," Gandy said. "By blocking young women's access to safe, confidential abortions, this measure would have put young lives in jeopardy."
California voters also soundly defeated a ballot proposal that would have allowed retired judges, rather than elected officials, to draw legislative districts. The proposal was a transparent effort by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and his party to gain control of the redistricting process and to re-draw the districts in mid-decade, as Tom DeLay did recently in Texas.
In Maine, a bill that banned discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity was signed in March by Gov. John Baldacci, and voters Tuesday opted to retain the law in place. "Maine voters said clearly that they are opposed to discrimination, and they stood behind the legislators who enacted these important protections," Gandy said.
And in New Jersey, U.S. Sen. John Corzine, a liberal Democrat with a strong commitment to women's rights, was elected governor by 53 percent of voters. Corzine now must appoint his successor to the Senate, who will serve until a special election next year.
"Governor-elect Corzine will be a strong advocate for women in New Jersey, and his progressive policies will serve as an example," Gandy said. "He now has an opportunity to appoint a senator who agrees with his pro-women politics, and we hope there are many qualified New Jersey women on the short list."
"Finally, voters are coming together to defeat a dangerous agenda engineered
by ultra-conservatives," Gandy said. "Tuesday's elections were a first
step in taking our country back."
###For Immediate Release
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