2012 Election Brings Changes in Laws

Hannah Kiges, Variety Editor

This year’s brought a lot of interesting issues to the table, including gay marriage and marijuana, two subjects that in the past have not only been illegal, but been part of massive misinformation campaigns and generally had negative connotations.
As Minnesotans, we all became aware of a highly controversial and extremely personal state constitutional amendment up for vote in November 2012. The amendment was voted on with a “yes “ or “no” response, and the question in question was whether the definition of marriage should be revised to be defined as exclusively an institution between one man and one woman. This amendment has been added to 30 state constitutions and never been denied. On Nov. 6, 2012, Minnesota became the first state to declare “no”—that their state constitution will not define marriage as between man and woman only.
Gay marriage is still illegal in most states, and despite the extreme effort both sides put into the Minnesota marriage amendment, it is still illegal in Minnesota. But because of the decision made by Minnesotans, it now may not remain that way forever. There is a chance it could be up for vote on the next ballot.
Maine, Maryland, and Washington have all voted in the most recent election to legalize same-sex marriage, bringing the state total up to nine. Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York, The District of Columbia, as well as two Native American tribes have all made same-sex marriage legal.
Although marijuana possession and use is still illegal federally, news has been made recent years with many states passing laws for medical use of marijuana. In November 2012 Washington and Colorado became the first states to completely decriminalize possession and approve marijuana for recreational use. The governors of both states have admitted they are not sure of how it will be because of federal law, but speculation suggests that it will have a similar age limit to alcohol and cigarettes and only be legal on private property.
Another noteworthy decision was the election of Tammy Brown of Wisconsin to the Senate. Brown is the first openly gay Senator in U.S. history. Hawaii has also elected the first Asian-American woman to the senate.
Overall it was a historical election, one that will surely never be forgotten.