The November 4 midterm election results saw the Republican Party taking control of the U.S. Senate, marijuana being legalized in Washington, D.C. and two states, and Republican candidates also sweeping many governor’s races.
Midterm voter turnout remained an issue in the U.S. as most states saw a drop in eligible voter population turnout this year compared to 2010. Only 36.6 percent of the eligible population voted in this midterm election compared to the 40.9 percent in the 2010 midterms.
National exit poll data reported the economy to be the most important issue to voters, but Ebola, marriage equality, and marijuana legalization do not fall far behind.
Brian Silva, executive director of Marriage Equality USA, said the fight for same-sex rights will continue to move forward, as an “overwhelming majority of voters support marriage equality.”
“Equality for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer people is not a partisan issue,” he said. “Large numbers of Americans across political beliefs, as well as legislators on both sides of the aisle, have come out in favor for things like marriage equality and employment non-discrimination.”
Silva said it is the goal of his group to continue to educate elected officials, and the public, on why LGBTQ issues matter.
This election saw the chance to have the first openly gay governor. Mike Michaud, of Maine, would have made national history, but fell to Republican Paul LePage. In Massachusetts, Martha Coakley, who would have been the state’s first female governor, ran with Steve Kerrigan, who is openly gay, as her running mate.
“We know that every elected official—from the top down—can have a positive effect on how citizens view their LGBTQ neighbors. We encourage governors to continue to join their colleagues in coming out in support of marriage equality to truly be representative of all their citizens,” Silva said. “While some governors have committed to continuing to waste taxpayer dollars to fight these rulings, this waste and the fight against individual freedom to marry who you love goes fundamentally against many of their core stated beliefs. All families in their states should enjoy the rights and security of marriage.”
Governor Rick Scott of Florida won reelection against his Democratic challenger Charlie Crist. Scott has said he only supports “traditional” marriage, but that marriage equality will ultimately be a question the courts will decide.
Recently, the governor of Idaho vowed to continue to fight a Supreme Court ruling allowing marriage equality in his state.
“We will continue to push for full marriage equality in all remaining  states,” Marriage Equality USA’s Silva pledged.