Obama Wins Second Term as LGBT Advocates Hope to Maintain Momentum

Posted by Justin Snow
November 6, 2012 11:30 PM |

In what was a series of decisive victories for LGBT Americans on Election Day, President Barack Obama won re-election shortly after polls closed on the West Coast Nov. 6, securing wins in key battleground states and defeating Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

Thumbnail image for Official_portrait_of_Barack_Obama.jpgAt 11:18 p.m., CNN projected Obama would win Ohio, pushing him over the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency and sparking celebrations across the country.

Although Romney did not officially concede the race until 1 a.m., Obama continued to rack up 303 electoral votes and 50 percent of the popular vote before Romney formally admitted defeat. 

During his victory speech in Chicago shortly after 1:30 a.m. Eastern time, Obama expressed gratitude for his supporters and hinted at the theme of hope that branded much of his first campaign.

"For the United States of America, the best is yet to come," Obama said to cheers from supporters.

LGBT-rights activists immediately praised Obama’s re-election as continuing the momentum of his first term, during which Obama became the first sitting president to openly endorse marriage equality. 

Calling Obama the "Ally-in-Chief," Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin described the LGBT community as “elated” to send the president back to the White House for a second term.

"There is no doubt that we will continue to see tremendous progress toward full equality like we've made during his first four years," Griffin said in a statement. "His reelection after expressing support for marriage equality is further proof that the momentum is on the side of marriage for all families."

Griffin’s praise of Obama was echoed by Evan Wolfson, president and founder of Freedom to Marry, who credited Obama's support for marriage equality for galvanizing his base and independents.

"In reelecting President Obama, the American people chose a candidate who strongly and explicitly supports the freedom to marry – and rejected a challenger who had opposed the freedom to marry and criticized every step the president has taken to end discrimination against loving and committed gay couples and their families," Wolfson said in a statement. "The president's reelection further reflects and accelerates the momentum for marriage, which Freedom to Marry will transform into more victories in 2013."

Despite the praise lavished on Obama's success, some LGBT advocates indicated that work remains in Obama’s second term. 

OutServe-SLDN Executive Director Allyson Robinson, who was named the first transgender head of a major LGBT-rights organization late last month, said Obama knows that the successful repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" was the beginning of a larger struggle. 

"Now is the time to step on the gas to repeal the so-called Defense of Marriage Act and ensure that all service members and their families are treated equally by our military," Robinson said in a statement. "And now is the time to say once and for all that any qualified American who wants to serve our country in uniform should not face discrimination or harassment because of sexual orientation or gender identity." 

DOMA, which is currently facing review by the Supreme Court, prevents same-sex military couples from receiving federal benefits. And despite the repeal of DADT, transgender Americas are still barred from serving in the military.

Despite Obama's record as the most gay-friendly president in American history, not all were pleased with Tuesday’s election results, including the LGBT conservative group GOProud, which endorsed Romney.

"We congratulate Barack Obama on his win. The President performed a spectacular political sleight of hand in this election," said Jimmy LaSalvia, GOProud Executive Director, in a statement. "Instead of this election being a referendum on his failed record on jobs and the economy, Obama and his campaign successfully made this about side-show issues and the culture wars."

WATCH Obama's full victory speech here:

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