Stepping up to lead

By DEIRDRE FULTON  |  November 14, 2012

Berner, who lost to Democratic newcomer Erik Jorgensen, feels similarly content with his results. "I got 33 percent and I was quite satisfied with that for a number of reasons," he says. He did better than he did when he ran two years ago, and he appreciates the symbolic value of running as a third-party candidate, "reminding people that they're not limited to just the two parties."

Of the three, MacMillan seems the most amenable to running again (though he does admit he'll have to discuss it with his girlfriend beforehand). MacMillan, who lost to Democrat Matt Moonen, points out that the League of Young Voters endorsements seem to have played an influential role in local elections. "Every single candidate they endorsed won," he says. That includes burlesque dancer and Green Holly Seeliger, who was elected to the Portland Public Schools board.

TYING THE KNOT

Same-sex marriage, thrillingly, is now legal in Maine, Maryland, and Washington (plus six other states and Washington DC). An amendment in Minnesota that would have defined marriage as between one man and one woman was also defeated on Election Day.

Researchers at the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law estimate that same-sex marriage ceremonies will bring in $16 million to Maine, $63 million in Maryland, and $89 million in Washington. These numbers don't even include additional revenue from out-of-staters who travel to marriage-friendly states to tie the knot.

As for when these nuptials will begin taking place, the answer is different in each state. Maine's law will go into effect 30 days after the results are certified, a process that could take 30 days. In Washington, gay marriage will be recognized as soon as certification takes place on December 6. And same-sex marriage will take effect on January 1 in Maryland.

It remains to be seen how this positive news will affect the legal landscape; US Supreme Court justices are scheduled to sit down later this month to consider hearing arguments related to the Defense of Marriage Act, which states that federal benefits and marital recognition applies only to heterosexual couples, a claim that has been maligned — and overturned — in lower courts.

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