On November 6, 2012, the American people reelected 44th President of the United States Barack Obama, the first US President of color, to a second four-year term; voters in Wisconsin chose Tammy Baldwin as America’s first openly lesbian US Senator; and same-sex marriage passed by public referenda, for the first times ever, in Maine, Maryland, and possibly the State of Washington, while a ban on it remains in place in Minnesota.
Mitt Romney, Republican candidate for President, conceded defeat, in Boston, Massachusetts, shortly 1 a.m. on November 7. In his victory speech, in Chicago, Illinois, just past 1:30 a.m., Barack Obama declared, “We know in our hearts that, for the United States of America, the best is yet to come” and “We want … a country … that is not weakened by inequality.” “I return to the White House more determined and more inspired than ever,” he continued; called this “the most diverse nation on earth;” and, close to 2 a.m., added, “It doesn’t matter if you’re … gay or straight, you can make it here in America if you try.”
Election figures at that hour found Obama leading by 50 percent, or more than 53,600,000 votes, to Romney’s 49 percent, more than 52,881,000, and with 303 electoral votes to Romney’s 206. The number of electoral votes needed for a victory is 270.
In Wisconsin, seven-term openly lesbian Congresswoman Baldwin defeated Tommy Thompson, with 51 percent of the popular vote to his 47 percent, to replace Democrat Herb Kohl in the US Senate, and became the first-ever US Senator to come, openly, from the LGBT community. In New York State, incumbent Kirsten Gillibrand, endorsed by LGBT organizations, defeated Republican opponent Wendy Long, garnering approximately 70 percent of the popular vote. There are now 19 women in the US Senate.
Put to public referendum, same-sex marriage had never before passed until this election, when voters in Maine and Maryland approved it, by votes of 52 to 48 percent. In Washington, with the full vote still not counted by the end of Election Day, chances for passage looked good, with 51.8 percent of voters appearing to favor same-sex marriage, against 48.2 percent opposed. While a Minnesota state statute banning same-sex marriage remains in place, voters did reject a constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman.
As for Republican Senate candidates who made notoriously offensive comments about rape during their campaigns, in Missouri, Todd Akin was defeated by Democratic Senator Claire McGaskill, who won 53 percent of the vote to his 41 percent, and in Indiana, Richard Mourdock was defeated by Representative Joe Donnelly, who won 50 percent of the vote to Mourdock’s 47 percent.