On another controversial issue, voters in Maine and Maryland approved same-sex marriage, and judging by exit polls, Washington State was expected to do so as well. It was the first time voters had approved gay marriage, which has been defeated in 31 states over the years.
“This is a landmark election for marriage equality and we will forever look back at this year as a critical turning point in the movement for full citizenship for LGBT people,” Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin said in a statement, referring to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community. “This is a milestone night for the simple truth that when Americans are presented with the real lives of their friends and neighbors, they have no choice but to vote for their equality. It is the momentum reflected in poll after poll that shows a growing majority for marriage equality across the country.”
Gay rights advocates also cheered the victory of US Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D) of Wisconsin, who defeated former Gov. Tommy Thompson (R) to become the first openly gay member of the US Senate. Senator-elect Baldwin replaces retiring Sen. Herb Kohl, a Democrat.