They’re still counting to the very last vote in some places, but at this point it has become clear that some of the most dire predictions about this year’s midterm elections have not come to pass. Bucking historical trends, President Biden may end up with a slightly larger Democratic majority in the U.S. Senate, with the GOP poised to retake the House only by a razor-thin margin.
Considering what the outcome may have been, the Democrats are counting this as a major win.
For most of the LGBTQ+ community, it is a narrow escape from certain disaster.
This summer, after the conservative-leaning Supreme Court overturned decades of precedent protecting a woman’s right to choose to have a baby or not, Justice Thomas sent a clear signal that precedents protecting the right to privacy in our sex lives and the right to marriage equality were potential next targets. Having leaders in the executive and legislative branches of government dedicated to protecting those rights is crucial. Already this week, we’ve been pleased to see the Senate take initial action on a bill known as the Respect for Marriage Act, which would preemptively codify protections for people in same-sex marriages (and interracial marriages, like Justice Thomas) should the Obergefell decision be overturned. The bill has advanced with bipartisan support, though it’s very telling that every “No” vote was Republican (about 75% of their caucus).
Perhaps more importantly, the Democratic Senate majority makes it easier for President Biden to continue to nominate and appoint judges to the various federal and appellate courts through which cases like the one against the insidious “Don’t Say Gay” Bill in Florida or the efforts to protect transgender children and families in Texas will ultimately make their way. In addition, of course, to the possibility of another Supreme Court appointment.
Democracy held the line this time, but was a little too close for comfort. There were 2020 election deniers running for positions charged with overseeing elections in many states. Every single vote matters. Here in Connecticut, a long-held Republican State Assembly district flipped to Democrat by just one vote.
We heard from many advocates during the campaign that, with so much at stake, this would be the most important election of our lives. That was true. And it will be true again in 2024, and likely still true beyond that.
Every election from now on is the most important election of our lives.
Vote like your life depends on it.