With the U.S. Supreme Court considering same-sex marriage, President Barack Obama re-elected on a platform that included it, and the first openly gay lawmakers taking their seats in Tallahassee, gay voters say it’s been a winning year.
“We’ve made a lot of progress, but we still have a long way to go,” said Rep. David Richardson, a Miami Beach Democrat, and one of two openly gay lawmakers elected this year – the first in Florida’s Legislature.
The 2012 election saw Florida become one of seven states to break that barrier. Nationwide, lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender candidates were elected to the U.S. Senate and House, and dozens to state legislatures.
Richardson, a 55-year-old forensic accountant, credits redistricting and the open seat in House District 113 for his win. He said that for all the voters he met during the campaign, none asked him about his sexual orientation, although it was reported by local news media.
“In this area, people maybe don’t care so much about someone’s sexual orientation,” he said.
Richardson was sworn in on Nov. 20 along with Rep. Joe Saunders, an Orlando Democrat and the field director of Equality Florida, an LGBT advocacy group. Saunders had led the 2008 campaign against Florida’s Amendment 2, the constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and civil union, which passed 62 percent to 38 percent.