President Obama won re-election to the White House for a second term on Tuesday evening, according to major media outlets, bringing to an end a tumultuous campaign against Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
Media outlets, including NBC News, CBS News and Fox News, declared Obama the winner at about 11:15, around 15 minutes hours after the polls closed on Pacific Coast. The win was the result of Obama picking up wins in Ohio and Iowa, although other swing states remained too close to call.
In a tweet just as the election was called, Obama thanked his supporters, saying “This happened because of you. Thank you.”
In his first term, Obama took numerous steps to benefit the LGBT community, including repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” dropping the U.S. government’s defense of the Defense of Marriage Act in court and passage of hate crime protection legislation. In May, he ended his 19-month evolution to come out in favor of same-sex marriage. LGBT advocates are waiting to see how he’ll tackle the issue of LGBT workplace discrimination and the advancement of marriage equality over the course of his second term.
In contrast, Romney said he opposes discrimination, but signed a pledge from the anti-gay National Organization for Marriage pledging to support a U.S. constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage throughout the country, defend DOMA in court and establish a commission on religious liberty to investigate the harassment on opponents of same-sex marriage.
Despite the difference between Obama and Romney on these issues, discussion about LGBT issues or same-sex marriage was virtually invisible over the course of the presidential campaign. Not one question on LGBT rights or same-sex marriage came up in the three presidential debates or the vice presidential debate, and the candidates didn’t take the time to discuss them over the course of the general election.
The exception was when Obama and Democrat were seeking to rally their progressive base. References to LGBT issues permeated Democratic National Convention, where speakers voices support for the LGBT community and chided the Republican Party for opposing same-sex marriage. Additionally, when making appearances at campaign rallies Obama made references to “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal and mentioned gays as among the groups he supports.