It has taken a while to get there, but Joe Biden has now been elected president of the United States.
The Democratic nominee went over the needed 270 votes in the Electoral College after being declared the winner of Pennsylvania on Saturday morning. Biden is also ahead in Nevada, Arizona, and Georgia, though those states have not yet been called by the Associated Press.
For many Americans, including LGBTQ+ ones, it means the end of the long national nightmare of Donald Trump’s presidency — at least that the end will come with Biden’s inauguration January 20. Trump has sowed hatred against LGBTQ+ people, people of color, immigrants, and many other groups, while demeaning women and taking grossly insufficient action against the COVID-19 pandemic. It means a welcome return to normality, with relief from Trump’s Twitter tantrums and vitriol-filled rallies, and a chance to reverse the many harmful policies enacted by his administration.
It also means history has been made with the election of Kamala Harris as vice president. Harris, the daughter of immigrants from Jamaica and India, is the first woman elected vice president as well as the first Black vice president and first one of South Asian descent. There has, of course, been one Black person in the top post, President Barack Obama, for whom Biden served as vice president.
Both Biden and Harris are longtime LGBTQ+ allies and ran the most pro-LGBTQ+ campaign in history. They have promised to lobby Congress for passage of the Equality Act, address the epidemic of violence against transgender Americans, appoint equality-minded judges, and more. On other issues, they support reproductive rights, expansion of the Affordable Care Act to make health insurance more widely available, environmental protections, and other progressive moves. The Advocate endorsed Biden for president.
Biden was a U.S. senator from Delaware from 1973 until becoming Obama's vice president in 2009. While he took some negative positions on LGBTQ+ rights at some points, such as voting for the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996, he became a strong supporter of LGBTQ+ equality. He notably came out for marriage equality as he and Obama were seeking reelection in 2012, a few days before Obama did the same. As vice president, he successfully pressed Congress to pass a hate-crimes law that covers crimes against LGBTQ+ people. As a senator, he supported the Equality Act's predecessor, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, although it never became law.
Harris is currently a U.S. senator from California, having previously been the state's attorney general and, before that, San Francisco district attorney. As San Francisco DA, she established a hate-crimes unit, and as attorney general, she led efforts to abolish gay and trans "panic" defenses in criminal trials. In the latter position, she also refused to defend Proposition 8, the voter-passed measure that revoked marriage equality in California, and her position was key to it being struck down in court.
Story developing …