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Commonwealth Coalition Regrets Loss; Thanks Supporters

The Commonwealth Coalition released this statement last night: 

November 7, 2006

(Richmond, Virginia) Speaking on behalf of The Commonwealth Coalition, campaign manager, Claire Guthrie Gastañaga, released the following statement regarding today’s election results:

We regret deeply that Virginians voted today to write discrimination into the Virginia Constitution. Virginians are much more mainstream and fair-minded than this amendment – and we’re becoming more so every day. It won’t be long before Virginians acknowledge that we’ve embarrassed our state by having written exclusion into our Constitution.

We’ve always said than an informed voter was a NO voter. We simply ran out of the time and money needed to reach enough voters before the election.

One of our biggest obstacles in this campaign was that many thought the outcome was a foregone conclusion and were afraid or unwilling to invest themselves in this effort. Our opponents said at the outset that they expected to win 70% to 30%, and too many people were willing to believe them.

That makes us even more grateful to the hundreds of organizations and thousands of Virginians from across the political spectrum and all walks of life who did take a stand and join this campaign, particularly our founding partner Equality Virginia and the Weinstein family and the anonymous gay couple whose significant investments jump-started our campaign last April.

The alliances that The Coalition has helped build will provide the foundation for future action to undo the inequity done today.

Dyana Mason, Executive Director of Equality Virginia and Field Director for The Commonwealth Coalition added, “We know that our work is really just beginning. We will redouble our efforts to reach out and include all Virginians who might not yet understand our issues and the obstacles before us. This is a long-term effort, and we’re more mobilized, more energized and more ready than ever before.”

November 8, 2006 - Posted by | politics of marriage


  1. Thank you for organizing this effort. We put our heart and soul into it and nearly achieved our goals. We wanted to see 1,000,001 fair-minded voters vote ‘No’ and we logged 997,299 ‘No’ votes.

    I spoke to many, many ‘Yes’ voters and they had no clue what they were voting for. They thought they were voting for “God’s design”. Their civics training was sorely lacking. The depths of the voter confusion was revealed on Tuesday night, when news channel 8 reported that a majority of voters approved the “Gay-Marriage Amendment”.

    If we consider the in-kind contributions from Focus on the Family, the American Family Alliance, Concerned Women for America and others who gave churches talking points, or local activists like Loudoun supervisor Eugene Delgaudio who mailed 10,000 vote ‘Yes’ postcards to constituents, we were clearly overpowered by an entrenched (and reactionary) grass-roots infrastructure.

    Maggie Gallagher architected their strategy to inseparably link marriage to procreation. The misguided ‘Yes’ voters saw man, woman, sperm, egg, baby. Don’t ask me why they felt that biology 101 needed to be constitutionalized. They didn’t consider or understand the words to be added to the constitution. They actually thought they were doing something good. They were unwilling to see that there are other families in this world who are different.

    On Wednesday’s ‘Writer’s Alamanac’, Garrison Keillor read a poem by Marge Piercy. I thought it was appropriate.

    Poem: “Swear It” by Marge Piercy, from The Crooked Inheritance. © Alfred A. Knopf. Reprinted with permission.

    Swear It

    for Eva

    My mother swore ripely, inventively
    a flashing storm of American and Yiddish
    thundering onto my head and shoulders.
    My father swore briefly, like an ax
    descending on the nape of a sinner.

    But all the relatives on my father’s
    side, gosh, they said, goldarnit.
    What happened to those purveyors
    of soft putty cussing, go to heck,
    they would mutter, you son of a gun.

    They had limbs instead of legs.
    Privates encompassed everything
    from bow to stern. They did
    number one and number two
    and eventually, perhaps, it.

    It has always amazed me there are
    words too potent to say to those
    whose ears are tender as baby
    lettuces—often those who label
    us into narrow jars with salt and

    vinegar, saying, People like them,
    meaning me and mine. Never say
    the K or N word, just quietly shut
    and bolt the door. Just politely
    insert your foot in the Other’s face.

    Comment by Jonathan Weintraub | November 9, 2006 | Reply

  2. Jonathan:
    Thanks for this, and for all that you did during this campaign to shed light where there was darkness and to celebrate and honor love!


    Comment by VoteNO | November 9, 2006 | Reply

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