List of U.S. ballot initiatives to repeal LGBT anti-discrimination laws
Jurisdictions in the United States began outlawing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in 1972, when East Lansing, Michigan passed an ordinance forbidding discrimination based on "affectional or sexual preference". In response, opponents began organizing campaigns to place measures on their local ballots to repeal these anti-discrimination laws. The repeal movement found a national spokesperson in Anita Bryant, who helped found—and served as president of—Save Our Children. Save Our Children organized in Florida in 1977 in response to the passage by the Dade County Commission of an anti-discrimination ordinance. Bryant's campaign was successful; the Miami-Dade ordinance was repealed by a greater than two-to-one margin. Repeal campaigns, building on this success, spread nationally and several other ordinances were repealed. In California in 1978, conservative state senator John Briggs sponsored Proposition 6, which would have barred gay and lesbian people from working in a public school. The defeat of this measure, and of an ordinance repeal measure in Seattle, Washington the same day, stalled the momentum of the repeal forces.
The mid-1980s and early 1990s saw a resurgence in ballot initiatives, culminating in proposed state constitutional amendments in Oregon and Colorado not only to repeal existing anti-discrimination ordinances but to proactively prohibit the state and any local unit of government within the state from ever passing such an ordinance. Oregon's Measure 9, sponsored by the Oregon Citizens Alliance, failed, but Colorado's Amendment 2 passed. Amendment 2 was declared unconstitutional by the United States Supreme Court in its 1996 Romer v. Evans decision. Oregon and two other states, Idaho and Maine, had initiatives between the passage of Amendment 2 and the Court decision; all three were defeated but many municipalities within Oregon passed local measures.
As the question of same-sex marriage has risen to greater prominence, opponents of such marriages have turned their attention to passing constitutional amendments barring individual states from legalizing same-sex marriages or recognizing such marriages performed in other jurisdictions. These amendments are listed here. Before the marriage issue arose, some jurisdictions had begun providing limited rights and benefits to same-sex domestic partners. These ordinances also became targets of repeal efforts, with repeal supporters meeting with less success.
|1974||Boulder, Colorado||Placed on the ballot by the Boulder city council after passage of a gay rights ordinance met with public outcry||Voters repealed the ordinance, recalled a councilman who supported it and defeated the mayor at the next election. In 1987, a citizen's initiative to ban discrimination was passed by voters. That was the first such measure in the country to be passed by popular referendum.|
|June 7, 1977||Miami-Dade County, Florida||To repeal the county's gay rights ordinance||Passed by a greater than two-to-one margin.|
|April 25, 1978||St. Paul, Minnesota||To repeal the city's gay rights ordinance||Passed by a two-to-one margin.|
|May 9, 1978||Wichita, Kansas||To repeal the city's gay rights ordinance||Passed by a five-to-one margin.|
|May 23, 1978||Eugene, Oregon||To repeal the city's gay rights ordinance||Passed.|
|November 7, 1978||California||Proposition 6, to bar gay and lesbian people from teaching in public schools||Defeated by a two-to-one margin.|
|Seattle, Washington||To repeal the city's gay rights ordinance||Defeated with 63% of the vote.|
|June 3, 1980||Santa Clara County, California||To repeal the county's gay rights ordinance||Passed.|
|San Jose, California||To repeal the city's gay rights ordinance||Passed.|
|1984||Duluth, Minnesota||To repeal the city's gay rights ordinance||Passed.|
|1986||Davis, California||To repeal the city's gay rights ordinance||Failed.|
|November 8, 1988||St. Paul, Minnesota||To bar citizens from repealing the city's gay rights ordinance by initiative||Failed.|
|Oregon||Measure 8, to revoke an executive order barring discrimination in the executive branch||Passed with 53% of the vote.|
|November 7, 1989||Athens, Ohio||To repeal the city's gay rights ordinance||Passed.|
|Irvine, California||To repeal the city's gay rights ordinance||Passed.|
|Concord, California||To repeal the city's gay rights ordinance||Passed.|
|Tacoma, Washington||To repeal the city's gay rights ordinance||Passed with 51% of the vote. A 1990 ballot initiative to restore the law was rejected by over 70% of the electorate.|
|May 21, 1991||Denver, Colorado||To repeal the city's gay rights ordinance||Failed.|
|November 5, 1991||St. Paul, Minnesota||To repeal the city's gay rights ordinance||Failed with 54% of the vote.|
|November 3, 1992||Portland, Maine||To repeal the city's gay rights law||Failed with 57% of the vote.|
|Tampa, Florida||To repeal the city's gay rights ordinance||Passed with almost 60% of the vote. However, the Florida Supreme Court later ruled that 462 signatures from the initiative petition were invalid and voided the repeal.|
|Colorado||Amendment 2, to repeal all gay rights ordinances within the state and to prevent the state or any political subdivision from passing new gay rights ordinances||Passed with 53.2% of the vote. Later struck down by the United States Supreme Court in Romer v. Evans.|
|Oregon||Measure 9. "All governments in Oregon may not use their monies or properties to promote, encourage or facilitate homosexuality, pedophilia, sadism or masochism. All levels of government, including public education systems, must assist in setting a standard for Oregon's youth which recognizes that these behaviors are abnormal, wrong, unnatural and perverse and they are to be discouraged and avoided."||Defeated with 56% of the vote.|
|Cincinnati, Ohio||Ballot Issue 3, to prevent the city from enacting any gay rights ordinances.||Passed with 67% of the vote. Despite being worded almost identically to Colorado's Amendment 2, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the measure as constitutional in 1997. Cincinnati voters repealed Issue 3 in 2004.|
|Lewiston, Maine||To repeal a recently passed anti-discrimination ordinance||Passed by more than a two-to-one margin.|
|November 1994||Alachua County, Florida||1) To overturn the existing gay rights law
2) To bar future ordinances
|Both passed with close to 60% of the vote.|
|November 8, 1994||Oregon||Measure 13, to forbid state and local governments from passing anti-discrimination ordinances||Defeated.|
|Idaho||Proposition 1, to forbid state and local governments from granting minority status and rights based on homosexual behavior.||Defeated by a 3,000 vote margin.|
|January 10, 1995||West Palm Beach, Florida||To repeal the city's gay rights ordinance||Failed.|
|March 7, 1995||Tampa, Florida||To repeal the city's gay rights ordinance||Five days before the election a judge threw out the referendum so the votes were not tallied.|
|November 7, 1995||Maine||Question 1, to ban the state and local governments from passing anti-discrimination ordinances||Defeated with 53% of the vote.|
|1996||Lansing, Michigan||Two initiatives, both to repeal the city's gay rights ordinance||Both passed.|
|September 10, 2002||Miami-Dade County, Florida||To repeal the county's gay rights ordinance||Failed.|
|March 1, 2005||Topeka, Kansas||To bar Topeka from recognizing sexual orientation as a protected class for ten years||Defeated with 52% of the vote.|
|March 24, 2009||Gainesville, Florida||Charter Amendment One, to repeal the city's gay rights ordinance||Failed with 58% of the vote.|
|November 8, 2011||Traverse City, Michigan||To repeal the anti-discrimination ordinance enacted in 2010.||Defeated by a two-to-one margin.|
|April 4, 2012||Anchorage, Alaska||To repeal the anti-discrimination ordinance enacted in 2011.||Repealed by 58% of voters.|
Oregon after Measure 9
After failing to pass Measure 9 in 1992, OCA turned its attention to passing anti-discrimination bans at the county and municipal level. Couching the debate in terms of forbidding LGBT people from receiving so-called "special rights", OCA sought not only to block ordinances in these communities but to bar them from spending money to "promote homosexuality". OCA was successful in passing over two dozen initiatives. However, in 1993 the Oregon Legislative Assembly passed a law prohibiting local governments from considering LGBT rights measures so the ordinances had no legal force. The Oregon Court of Appeals upheld the state law in 1995. Two weeks after the United States Supreme Court ruled in Romer, OCA suspended its efforts for a third statewide ballot initiative.
|May 19, 1992||Corvallis||Failed with 63% voting against.|
|Springfield||Passed with 55.4% of the vote.|
|May 18, 1993||Cornelius||Passed.|
|June 29, 1993||Canby||Passed.|
|Junction City||Passed by one vote. The measure was later invalidated by a court but a new initiative passed in March 1994.|
|September 21, 1993||Creswell||Passed.|
|November 9, 1993||Keizer||Passed with 55% of the vote.|
|Oregon City||Passed with 53% of the vote.|
|March 22, 1994||Albany||Passed.|
|May 17, 1994||Cottage Grove||Passed.|
|Gresham||Received a majority of the vote but not the 60% majority required for passage.|
|November 8, 1994||Lake County||Passed.|
Domestic partnership repeal initiatives
|November 6, 1990||Seattle, Washington||Failed.|
|May 7, 1994||Austin, Texas||Repealed.|
|November 7, 1995||Northhampton, Massachusetts||Repealed by a margin of 87 votes.|
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