What The Midterm Elections Mean For LGBT Equality

A Republican-controlled House will deal another set-back to long-standing LGBT policy priorities like repealing DOMA and the Employer Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), but yesterday’s midterm elections also contained some bright spots for advocates of equality.

The Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund announced that “at least 106 of the group’s record-breaking 164 endorsed candidates were winners as of Wednesday morning” and in the table below, I summarize some of the positive and negative results from last night as they pertain to equality issues:

Good News For LGBT Priorities Bad News For LGBT Priorities
– Rhode Island: David Cicilline will become the fourth openly gay member of the House of Representatives. Former Senator Lincoln Chafee (I), who supports marriage equality, was elected governor

– New York: Sen. Kirsten Gilibrand (D-NY) won re-election, Attorney General Andrew Cuomo won the gubernatorial race against anti-gay rival Republican rival Carl Paladino.

– California: Jerry Brown won California’s gubernatorial race. As the state’s attorney general, he declined to defend the state’s gay marriage ban in court this year. Alameda County in California made history last night, by electing the country’s first transgender trial judge, Victoria Kolakowski.

– Hawaii: Neil Abercrombie — the pro civil unions, but not necessarily marriage candidate — beat Republican challenger Lt. Gov. James ‘Duke’ Aiona.

– Massachusetts: Rep. Barney Frank managed to hold on to his seat against the GOP’s Sean Bielat.

– Kentucky: Lexington, KY elected an openly gay mayor, Jim Gray.

– Maryland: Gov. Martin O’Malley, who has vowed to sign a marriage equality bill, was re-elected.

– Pennsylvania: Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-PA), a strong advocate for Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell repeal, lost his re-election bid.

– Iowa: All 3 Iowa Supreme Court justices who ruled in favor of legalizing marriage equality were voted out of office.

– California: Openly gay dad Steve Pougnet lost to Rep. Bono Mack (R-CA)

– Maine: Paul LePage, a fiscal and social conservative who said that he wanted to overturn The Maine Human Rights Act — which prohibits employment, housing, public accommodation, credit, or educational discrimination on account of various sociodemographic characteristics of individuals including race, color, ancestry, sex, marital status and religion — will be that state’s next governor.

Over the short term, all attention will shift to the Senate where the Democrats will try to pass the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which contains an amendment to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Those votes will hopefully line up after the Pentagon’s Working Group releases its comprehensive study of the policy. Significantly, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) will have to bring up the measure during the body’s first week back in session to allow enough time to debate and pass the measure.