Gay rights groups buoyed by election day victories

Wed. November 7, 2012 1:50 PM by Carlos Santoscoy

After years of heartbreak at the polls, gay marriage advocates are cheering marriage wins in as many as four states.

Voters in three states, Maine, Maryland and Minnesota, helped turn the tide on Tuesday.

Maine became the first state to legalize gay nuptials by referendum. Maryland voters upheld a marriage law approved by lawmakers. And Minnesotans rejected a constitutional amendment limiting marriage to heterosexual couples, though same-sex couples remain barred from marrying in the state due to state law.

In Washington state, a referendum upholding a marriage law approved by lawmakers was leading 52% to 48% with 52% of precincts reporting.

In a video message sent to supporters, Human Rights Campaign (HRC) President Chad Griffin called Tuesday's election the "most important and historic in the history of the LGBT movement."

"After a 2-year effort, $20 million dollars raised and contributed, and HRC's largest mobilization effort in our history, we've won a landslide victory for equality at the ballot box. We've secured the first-ever electoral victories for marriage equality in Maine, Maryland and Minnesota, and we're optimistic about the results still to come in Washington," Griffin said in the 2-minute video.

Election night also brought victories for 6 out of 8 openly LGBT Congressional candidates. A seventh, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, holds a narrow lead against her Republican rival.

Griffin said the victories are a reminder of the work left to do.

"We've got to seize the mantle and continue to push forward, because at a moment like this, when momentum is at our back, we don't slow down, we double down," he said. (The video is embedded on this page. Visit our video library for more videos.)

GLAAD President Herndon Graddick echoed that sentiment.

"Visibility and progress for LGBT people have grown under President Obama and now that momentum must continue. LGBT people deserve full equality in every aspect of American life and President Obama, in his second term, should take every concrete step within his power to make it so."

Evan Wolfson, founder and president of Freedom to Marry, the nation's largest group advocating for marriage equality, said voters proved foes "wrong."

"Our huge, happy, and historic wave of wins last night signaled irrefutable momentum for the freedom to marry, with voters joining courts, legislatures, and the reelected president of the United States in moving the country toward the right side of history. The anti-gay opposition kept moving the goalposts and had as their last talking point that we could not win a popular vote on the freedom to marry. Last night, voters in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and, all signs suggest, Washington proved them wrong, wrong, wrong and wrong."

Chuck Wolfe, president and CEO of the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, a group which supports openly LGBT candidates, called Tuesday's results a "breathtaking leap forward" in an e-mail to supporters.

Article provided in partnership with On Top Magazine