Unfinished Business

Civil Rights News: Wins for Marriage Equality in Four States; Impact of Latino Voters; Dream Act Stands in Maryland

Compiled by Shannon Housley, a Fall 2012 intern at The Leadership Conference Education Fund

Liberals Score Social Victories, May Signal Major Shift

Elizabeth Weise, Dennis Cauchon and William M. Welch

In addition to choosing the president and deciding on members of Congress, voters in several states decided on several hot-button ballot initiatives on Election Day. Marriage equality advocates saw victories in Maine, Maryland, Washington and Minnesota . Two states—Colorado and Washington— legalized marijuana for personal use. These progressive moves on the part of a handful of states are attributed to the youth vote. Younger voters tend to be more progressive in their views of same-sex marriage and marijuana legalization compared to their older counterparts.

A Record Latino Turnout, Solidly Backing Obama

Julia Preston and Fernanda Santos
The New York Times

The Latino vote came in record numbers on Election Day. In 2000, Latinos made up 6% of the total national vote. This time around, they made up 10% nationwide. These voters are responsible for shifting at least three crucial swing states and nabbing them for Obama. Surveys suggest that a key role in gaining the Latino vote was Obama’s initiative last June that would give temporary reprieves to many young, undocumented immigrants. Governor Romney stated that he would end the reprieves if given the chance.

Maryland College Presidents Praise Dream Act Victory

Nick Anderson
The Washington Post

Montgomery College of Maryland has chosen to hold onto the Dream Act with respect to their tuition rates. Undocumented students will have the ability to attend school while enjoying the benefits of in-state tuition, after meeting several conditions. Twelve other states in the country have taken similar measures. This policy hits home for several of the Presidents of Montgomery College who hold much praise for the Dream Act, being immigrants themselves.