As last week’s elections incontrovertibly proved, 2012 will go down in history as The Year of the Queer. Welcome to your worst nightmare, homophobes.
Starting at the top, we re-elected a gay-friendly president. Decisively. (Fuck you, Karl Rove.) Obama’s support of same-sex marriage may well turn out to be the tipping point on the issue, much as it was with the elimination of the vile “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
Voters in Maine, Maryland and Washington all passed state referendums supporting same-sex marriage. In addition, Minnesotans defeated a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would have defined marriage as being between a man and a woman.
On Capitol Hill, Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D., Wis.) will be sworn in as the country’s first openly gay U.S. senator in history—but only, as Jon Stewart acerbically noted, if you don’t count Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. (Is ‘Graham cracker’ redundant?)
Baldwin will be joined by a record five “out” U.S. Representatives. That’s six if you include Arizona’s Kyrsten Sinema, the first openly bisexual member of Congress. No word if she’ll lobby to change Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address to “government of the people, bi the people, for the people.”
On the state level, the Pennsylvania legislature, being dragged kicking and screaming into the 20th century, elected its first-ever out lawmaker in Philadelphia’s Brian Sims, an activist lawyer and former Bloomsburg University football captain.
State houses in New Mexico, North and South Dakota, Florida, Texas and West Virginia all followed suit. Florida, though apparently incapable of conducting a national election in real time, voted in two gay state reps.
Media-wise, it was a huge night for homosexuals.
Out lesbian Rachel Maddow, MSNBC’s new rock star, co-anchored her network’s live coverage, as did her CNN counterpart, Anderson Cooper, who (finally) came out in July. Cooper’s out colleague, NBC10 alum Don Lemon, and NBC’s John Yang also got major face time on Election Night.
But the evening’s biggest winner, by a landslide, was uber statistician/geek Nate Silver, a gay lad whose New York Times blog, fivethirtyeight.com, has become the political gold standard.
Derided as “a thin and effeminate man” by conservative pollster Dean Chambers, Silver kicked serious ass Election Night, outperforming the so-called pundits. He nailed all 50 states, plus the District of Columbia, in the presidential race; a race he’d begun calling for Obama months ago.
Silver wins the gold. Two golds, actually. His new book, The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail, but Some Don’t, is on fire on amazon.com. In a prediction of its own, the New Yorks Times Book Review compared Silver to John Kenneth Galbraith and said Signal could be “one of the most momentous books of the decade.”
The question now is how gays will capitalize on this impressive political momentum. Once same-sex marriage becomes as quaint a notion as mixed-race husbands and wives, why not dream big and go for the presidency? Let’s get a gay in the Oval.
Hillary Clinton, an honorary lesbian if ever there was one, would do nicely in 2016. As they say in Philadelphia, vote early and often.