WASHINGTON – Following the largest-ever mobilization of the nation’s LGBT community, the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender civil rights organization, is celebrating last night's landslide victories for equality.
During this election cycle alone, HRC, along with its supporters, raised and contributed more than $20 million to reelect President Obama and to advance marriage equality and other electoral. And this historic investment paid off.
From the reelection of the most pro-LGBT President in American history, to the election of the first ever openly gay person to the U.S. Senate, to a record level of LGB representation in Congress, to groundbreaking wins at the ballot box for marriage equality (three states and counting), 2012 was a milestone year with a clear mandate for equality moving forward.
“When the history books are written, 2012 will be remembered as the year when LGBT Americans won decisively at the ballot box," said HRC president Chad Griffin. "The dreams of millions of fair-minded Americans were realized as discrimination crumbled and equality prevailed.”
A snapshot of last night’s historic victories is detailed below.
Pro-Marriage Equality President Wins Reelection
- President Barack Obama is the most pro LGBT equality President in American history, not least for his wholehearted endorsement of marriage equality. He is the first sitting president to have come out publicly for marriage equality and the first marriage equality president to have been re-elected.
- Despite the dire predictions of anti-LGBT organizations, the President’s pro-equality positions strengthened his candidacy and contributed to his victory.
First Openly Gay Senator
- Voters shattered a glass ceiling last night when Tammy Baldwin became the first openly gay person elected to the United States Senate and the first female Senator-elect in the history of the Wisconsin delegation.
- Baldwin is no stranger to making history. She was the first non-incumbent openly gay member of the House of Representatives following her election in 1998. And upon Congressman Barney Frank’s retirement at the end of the 112th Congress, Baldwin will become the longest-serving openly gay member of Congress.
- Inclusive representation in Baldwin’s House district will continue, as openly gay state representative Mark Pocan was elected to succeed her last night.
Pickup of Fair-Minded and Openly LGB Members of Congress
- This was a landmark year for the election of LGB members of Congress. In addition to Tammy Baldwin’s victory on the Senate side, at least 5 (and as many as 6) openly LGB people will be elected to the House of Representatives. This means that LGB representation in Congress will be at a record high of 6 and potentially 7. This is up from 4 members this Congress.
- Among these victorious candidates is California’s Mark Takano, the first openly gay person of color elected to Congress. And Arizona’s Kyrsten Sinema would be the first openly bisexual member of Congress, though most major networks have not yet called this race.
- LGBT voters are celebrating the victories of our straight allies as well. The United States Senate saw a net gain of four pro-marriage equality Senators—Chris Murphy in Connecticut, Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts, Angus King in Maine and Martin Heinrich in New Mexico. And Hawaii’s Mazie Hirono and Wisconsin’s Tammy Baldwin will continue the pro-marriage equality record of their predecessors.
Marriage Wins at Ballot Box for First Time
- Voters made history last night by affirming marriage equality in Maine, Maryland and Minnesota
- Marriage equality is currently leading in Washington State as well, with additional results expected later today.
- This is the very first time that marriage equality has been approved by popular vote at the ballot box. As a result, one victory for marriage equality would have been historic, three or more is nothing short of a sea change.
- In each of these four states, pro-equality advocates outworked our adversaries and dedicated ourselves to changing hearts and minds.
- According to the campaign disclosure reports for each of the states, the pro-equality coalitions raised $32.7 million to guarantee these victories, while anti-equality organizations raised $11.3 million, including $1.3 million from the Catholic Church.
- HRC has invested $8.4 million during the 2012 election cycle to legislative and electoral marriage efforts, including $5.5 million in these four campaigns.
- These victories were made possible because of enthusiastic and diverse faith coalitions, widespread business support from the likes of General Mills, Starbucks, Nike and Reuters and civic organizations of all stripes coming together to stand up for fairness. The President and Mrs. Obama’s steadfast support for marriage equality was a critical lynchpin.
Voters Retain Iowa Justice Who Decided for Marriage
- Fair-minded Iowa voters beat back an attempt led by the National Organization for Marriage to politicize and undermine Iowa’s independent judiciary.
- Justice David Wiggins—one of the Iowa Supreme Court justices who took part in a unanimous 2009 decision affirming marriage equality in the state—faced a campaign similar to those which successfully ousted three of his colleagues two years ago.
- This attempt was stopped in its tracks, dealing a blow to a dangerous precedent which would undermine independent judiciaries around the country.
LGBT Voters Flex Political Muscle, Break for President
- LGBT voters and fair-minded allies turned out in droves to support President Barack Obama’s re-election. The national exit poll found that lesbian, gay and bisexual voters increased their overall share of the electorate to 5%, and that this group increased its overall support for the President by 7% to a high of 77%.
- There are important fights still to come, and last night’s election laid the groundwork for our future progress.
- We celebrated the election of pro-marriage equality advocate and former New Hampshire Senate Majority Leader Maggie Hassan to the governor’s mansion in the Granite State. Her victory means attempts to roll back New Hampshire’s popular marriage equality law are dead in their tracks.
- And new Democratic majorities in the Colorado and Minnesota state legislatures provide real opportunities to win relationship recognition there in the months to come.