LGBT rights advocates had a banner election season, and last night's results really show how much the country has evolved on that front throughout the past four years.
President Obama has made many strides for our community during his first term — including becoming the first sitting president to step up in support of marriage equality, and repealing the military's prohibitive "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy — giving us a myriad reasons to vote for him a second time around. In his victory speech last night, he even mentioned the gay community during a broad section on diversity — the first time any president has done so.
With his re-election, it's anticipated that Obama will maintain this momentum of LGBT advocacy and inclusiveness. Many hope the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as solely between a man and a woman, is next on the chopping block. It certainly hangs by a thread as it weaves its way to the Supreme Court. (In fact, the Supreme Court will consider whether it takes on two gay-marriage cases at its Nov. 20 conference.)
And the LGBT wins didn't stop with Obama.
Wisconsin Democrat Tammy Baldwin defeated the state's former Gov. Tommy Thompson to become the first openly gay U.S. senator.
Also, four states voted in favor of marriage equality. Washington and Maryland lawmakers passed and approved gay-marriage laws last year, but opponents forced the issue onto this year's ballot. The citizens of those states, along with Maine, voted in favor of gay marriage. And Minnesota voters said no on Amendment 1, which would have altered the state's constitution to define marriage as being between a man and a woman.