Individual rights championed in 2012 ballot initiatives

Some big 2012 votes you might have missed…

Washington enthusiastically leapt into history Tuesday, becoming the first state, with Colorado, to reject federal drug-control policy and legalize recreational marijuana use.

Voters approved an amendment legalizing recreational marijuana use in Colorado on Tuesday, making this one of two states to end prohibition of the drug but also raising new legal questions and setting up potential court battles over the measure’s implementation.

Puerto Ricans have supported U.S. statehood in a vote that jubilant members of the pro-statehood party say is the strongest sign yet that the Caribbean island territory is on the road to losing its second-class status.

In a historic turnaround, the ballot box is showing America’s shifting attitudes about same-sex marriage. After gay marriage rights died at the polls dozens of times in the past, on Tuesday they passed in at least two states [and possibly a third].

Voters in [Louisiana] approved an amendment to the state constitution that strengthened the right to bear arms.

Voters in all but one of Oklahoma’s 77 counties approved a constitutional amendment that wipes out affirmative action in state government hiring, education and contracting practices. 

Florida voters on Tuesday defeated a ballot initiative that would have prohibited public funds from paying for abortion care except in cases of rape, incest, or to protect the life of the mother.

Wyoming residents voted strongly against Obama’s signature health care reform law, commonly referred to as “Obamacare”, which requires individuals and businesses to purchase health insurance for themselves or their employees.

Kentucky voters amended the state constitution Tuesday to forever protect their right to hunt and fish.

My take on all of these? Voters are sending a message about rights; and they’re sending it to both parties. Pick your war (drugs, guns, gays, women, whatever), people are pushing back.