Tuesday night, Tammy Baldwin won her election to become the first openly gay U.S. senator, Maine and Maryland and possibly Washington became the first states to approve gay marriage by popular vote and Barack Obama won re-election after coming out in favor of gay marriage during the campaign. In the 2nd Congressional District seat now held by Baldwin, an openly gay state lawmaker was picked to succeed her.
But with a couple of exceptions, Baldwin’s sexual orientation did not receive much notice during her campaign. Despite her race being one of the most competitive and negative in the country, not a single television ad raised the issue and neither of the campaigns or major outside groups focused on it.
While gay marriage still isn’t legal in the state, the issue might be changing fast, according to the Marquette University Law School poll. That survey found that 44% of likely voters in the state now favor allowing gay marriage and 29% favor civil unions, compared with only 22% who feel gay and lesbian partners should receive no legal recognition.
A day after the election, experts attributed Baldwin’s victory to the coattail effect of the presidential race, her funding edge in the early going and her ability to exploit issues such as Thompson’s lucrative career in business built on government connections. Continue reading