Wednesday, November 7, 2012


Rochester, N.Y. -- With such remarkable marriage victories occurring in four states and the defeat of anti-equality candidates across the nation, it's no stretch to say this was probably one of the most consequential years ever in American political history with respect to civil rights. Decision 2012 was a huge leap forward for equality and workplace rights and the effect will be tangible and long lasting.

It's also clear our support this year helped elect the largest number of out federal lawmakers in our country's history. There is also a record number women elected to the the U.S. Senate-- 20.

Additionally, in 2012, it is widely believed that more self-identified LGBT union members than ever volunteered on political campaigns coordinated by progressive candidates and coalitions.

Throughout our state, LGBT and labor activists spoke with their co-workers, knocked on hundreds of thousands of doors, and most of all made sure their voice was heard at the polls.  CSEA delegates to the annual convention passed pro-equality resolutions, with no debate whatsoever. That was unthinkable just a few short years ago. We proved once again that when the progressive community comes together to fight for the issues that matter to most of New York’s hardworking families, we can accomplish great things as a movement. 

Progressive candidates were overwhelmingly successful this year and as a result, our working families are the real winners.

And, it’s also worth mentioning U.S. Senator-Elect from Wisconsin Tammy Baldwin. She shattered a sturdy glass ceiling that's been in place for more than two centuries. At long last, LGBT Americans will see one of our own take the oath of office in the United States Senate. I am extremely proud to share that news with anyone who will listen.

Other developments that went our way include the re-election of two former Congressman who should have never left office in 2010. That would be Central New York Congressman Dan Maffei and Florida Rep. Alan Grayson. Both are progressive  firery lawmakers-- who completely understand the needs of America's working class. 

With a broad coalition that spanned across America, seven states elected their first or only openly LGBT state lawmakers – even in places where some said it couldn't happen. Now LGBT young people in Arizona, North Dakota, South Dakota, West Virginia, New Mexico, Texas, Florida and Pennsylvania will see themselves reflected in government, and they'll dream of brighter futures.

In Colorado and Oregon, openly gay and lesbian state lawmakers are poised to win election as Speakers, which would add real power to efforts to expand partnership rights and make their states more welcoming for LGBT families.

A record number of pro-equality candidates have won this year because of supporters like us-- people who refuse to accept an America that treats some of us as less than equal because of how we identify or who we love.

Locally speaking, I’m particularly proud of Democratic lawmakers Rep. Louise Slaughter (NY25), NYS Senator-Elect Ted O’Brien and NYS Assemblymember Harry Bronson. We not only have elected officials that fully embrace equality, we have a local delegation that will champion equal rights for years to come.

Again, it has been a truly remarkable year—a year that has yielded positive results for working people. I'm incredibly proud to be part of it, and I'm incredibly grateful to all my colleagues and family for believing in me and supporting this work.

It was truly an election cycle for the ages. And, it’s still hard to digest everything that has happened these past few months. However, one thing is for sure-- there is nothing that can stop equality now.

-Ove Overmyer

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