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ELECTION ROUNDUP: Gay ‘marriage’ wins, loses

DES MOINES, Iowa (BP) — Iowa Democrats won a special election for state Senate on Tuesday, maintaining control of the chamber and disappointing conservatives who had hoped a Republican win could help advance a constitutional marriage amendment.

Democrat Liz Mathis defeated Republican Cindy Golding in Senate District 18, 56-44 percent, allowing Democrats to maintain a 26-24 majority.

The race in the Democratic-leaning district gained nationwide attention thanks to the issue of gay “marriage.” Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal, a Democrat, backs gay “marriage” and has refused to allow the Senate to vote on a constitutional marriage amendment. It already passed the Republican-controlled House.

The amendment must pass each chamber twice — separated by an election — in order to be placed on the ballot.

Amendment supporters believe an amendment would pass if it was on the ballot, and an October poll supported that notion. The survey by Public Policy Polling showed likely voters supporting an amendment, 50-43 percent.

The Iowa Supreme Court legalized gay “marriage” in 2009.

In other election news:

— In Houston, Mayor Annise Parker, a lesbian, won a second two-year term with 50 percent of the vote. Houston is the largest U.S. city to elect a gay mayor.

— In Ledyard, N.Y., town clerk Rose Marie Belforti won re-election despite controversy over her refusal to issue marriage licenses to gay couples. She won with 305 votes while write-in challenger Ed Easter received 186 votes, according to The Citizen newspaper in Auburn, N.Y. The win was important, she said, because she has lost about 50 percent in profits from her micro-dairy business due to a boycott. Belforti told The Wall Street Journal she is following her religious beliefs.

“I want to do what the Bible tells me to do,” Belforti told the newspaper. “… There are too many references in the Bible that say this is not right.”

She has given all marriage license duties to a deputy, who does them by appointment.

— In Georgia, citizens in more than 100 of 127 cities and counties voted to allow alcohol sales on Sundays, according to Reuters. In Atlanta, more than 80 percent voted in favor of the change. The Georgia legislature had passed a bill allowing the referendum. Only two states, Indiana and Connecticut, now ban alcohol sales on Sunday, Reuters quoted the president of the Georgia Association of Convenience Stores as saying.
Compiled by Michael Foust, associate editor of Baptist Press. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).

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