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Taking nothing for granted

Of all the things I could have imagined happening in Massachusetts politics, having Scott Brown replace Ted Kennedy in the United States Senate was about the last on my list. Ted Kennedy was a hero. Martha Coakley is great—most notably, under her leadership as attorney general, the state of Massachusetts is challenging DOMA in the federal courts. I worked closely with both of them…and I worked around and against Scott Brown for a number of years (we came within 340 votes of denying him his state Senate seat in 2004…how depressing!). I am truly floored, shocked, disgusted….you name it.

In the small group of Massachusetts Senate Republicans (believe it or not, there are only 5 out of 40), Brown is known as the most conservative. He always voted against marriage equality and even said it was “unnatural” for openly-lesbian state senator Cheryl Jacques—whom he replaced in the legislature--to raise kids with her wife. He wasn’t a very popular legislator, nor did he get much of anything done. I simply can’t believe his mug is on every national news show and in every newspaper.

So what lesson do I take away from this experience?

We must take nothing for granted…ever!

In California our progress is on the line this year, in critical races for Governor, Attorney General and Insurance Commissioner. On the state level, almost half the Senate and the entire Assembly is up for reelection. Key national representatives, such as Senator Barbara Boxer, face devoted challengers, as well. What happens in 2010’s races could make or break our struggle for marriage and our ability to hold onto the rights we worked so hard for and hold so dear.

EQCA passed a marriage bill through the California legislature twice, but it was vetoed both times by a then-unsupportive Governor Schwarzenegger. Thankfully, the governor has refused to defend Prop. 8 in the federal challenge in court right now, and Attorney General Jerry Brown even filed a brief calling Prop. 8 unconstitutional. It matters tremendously who our elected officials are, and the success of EQCA’s marriage work depends on the continued support of allies in the state government.

EQCA's political action committee only works to elect candidates who score 100% on our questionnaire about LGBT rights, including the freedom to marry. Your effort can make all the difference. Join our 20 field managers across the state and volunteer for candidates who support full equality. Or, give what you can to EQCA’s PAC. The amount you give will go to pro-equality candidates in particularly critical races.

We witnessed the National Organization for (straight only) Marriage push itself into the Massachusetts Senate race spending $50,000 on robo-calls. We need to be ready before it’s too late if they come after us here.