The big news is that President Barrack Obama won a 2nd term as President. Three states voted to allow same sex marriage. Florida’s Amendment 8 went down to defeat but the only publicly known atheist serving in the Congress lost his race. For those of us who support church and state separation, the 2012 election turned out to be a mixed bag but better than if Mitt Romney had won.
President Obama wins a 2nd term
Although the President has not been on our side 100% of the time, I feel we have a better chance with our issues in an Obama administration then if Romney had won.
President Obama received positive marks for supporting science-based public school curriculums and his refusal to use religious beliefs in setting American public health care policy. However, he received failing grades for expanding taxpayer funding of religiously-affiliated organizations through the Office of Faith-based Initiatives and Neighborhood Partnerships while allowing those organizations to continue policies of hiring discrimination based on religious beliefs.
For example, data shows that during the Bush administration religious charities received 10.8 percent of the $20.4 billion in federal dollars available in 2007—experts believe the numbers to be similarly high during the Obama administration. Not only has President Obama continued faith-based initiatives, but he failed to make good on a 2008 campaign promise to end hiring discrimination among the organizations, which received taxpayer-funding.
Same sex marriage wins at the ballot box
Voters in Maryland and Maine voted to allow same sex marriage and voters in Minnesota defeated an amendment that would have banned same sex marriage.
Florida’s Amendment 8 was defeated
Florida’s Amendment 8, if adopted, would have removed the state’s Blaine Amendment language and allowed direct and indirect tax dollar support to religious groups and churches. The main group to benefit would have been private sectarian schools through use of vouchers.
Rep. Pete Stark was defeated
Long time Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA) lost reelection. Stark was the only known nontheist in Congress and was the 2008 Humanist of the Year. Stark lost due in part because of congressional redistricting after the last census and a good challenge from another Democrat.
I think we might be on an upswing in support for our issues. We just need to keep the heat on the President and watch our local areas to keep religious privilege in check.