This year’s election is seminal to gay history and American history. Marriage equality was endorsed in four states, a lesbian was elected to the United States Senate, and Obama’s re-election means the Supreme Court will be kept from its dangerous rightward trend. Five percent of the voters identified as gay or lesbian, and in all the swing states, the percentage difference between Obama and Romney was due in part to our support. Without us, he would have lost them. No longer standing wistfully on the sidelines, gay men are equal partners protecting an America that honors differences and welcomes diversity in this adventure of democracy.
This election has special meaning for me. I joined the board of the Human Rights Campaign Fund (now the Human Rights Campaign) in 1980. The organization’s budget was $640,000. When I left seven years later as chairman of the board our budget was $3.2 million. The difference was not me being chairman; it was the energy of individual gay men who saw for the first time there was a way for gay men and lesbians to affect federal elections.
Over the course of its 29-year history, the Human Rights Campaign, and all its affiliates and permutations, has raised a minimum of $250,000,000. A cool quarter of a billion dollars. Together we made a difference big time, and gentlemen, we have come a long way. Congratulations to each of you!