DOMA and Gay Rights Saw a Turning Point in 2012


2012 was a year of progress for LGBTQ rights. In sports, politics and religion, LGBTQ rights were recognized and obstacles were removed. Some of the notable accomplishments were well publicized and some went under the radar, but across the board, the LGBTQ community can look back at 2012 and say "Forward."

Here is a compilation of some of the important events that represented progress in the LGBTQ movement across various disciplines.


- “Seven state legislatures gained their first or only openly LGBT state lawmakers this year, including North Dakota, South Dakota, West Virginia, New Mexico, Texas, Pennsylvania and Florida, which went from zero to two gay legislators.

- Tammy Baldwin (D–Wis.) was elected as the first openly lesbian or gay U.S. Senator.

- Kyrsten Sinema (D–Ariz.) was elected to the House of Representatives, becoming the first openly bisexual member of Congress.

- Sean Patrick Maloney (D–N.Y.) became the first openly gay candidate elected to represent New York in Congress.

- Mark Takano (D–Calif.) became the first openly gay person of color to win election to the U.S. House.

LGBTQ Rights Advocacy and Recognition

- The first lesbian Super PAC, LPAC, was created to represent the interests of lesbians in the United States, and to campaign on LGBT and women's rights issues.

- The D.C. Office of Human Rights created America’s first government-funded campaign to combat anti-transgender discrimination.

- Liverpool was the first city in the world to officially mark IDAHO with a program of free events. IDAHO is the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.

- Berkeley, California became the first city in America to officially proclaim a day recognizing bisexuals. The city declared Sept. 23 as Bisexual Pride and Bi Visibility Day.


- Katie Ricks became the first open lesbian ordained by the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

- Ullet Road Unitarian Church, Liverpool, hosted the first UK civil partnership on religious premises.


- Liverpool Football Club became the first Premier League club to take a stand against homophobia and be officially represented at a UK 'Pride' event at Liverpool Pride.

- Orlando Cruz is the first openly gay professional boxer.

- Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo led a coalition of professional football players (NFL) in support of same sex marriage.


- Army Reserve officer Tammy Smith became the first openly gay, active duty general in American history.

- In two separate and distinct events:

           *The first same-sex marriage was held at a U.S. Military Academy.

           *The first same-sex marriage was held at the U.S. Military Academy's Cadet                       Chapel at West Point.

Same-sex marriage

- President Barack Obama became the first sitting U.S. president officially in favor of same-sex marriage.

- Taiwan held its first same-sex Buddhist wedding.

- Maine, Maryland, and Washington became the first states to pass same-sex marriage by popular vote.

- The Supreme Court of the United States announced it will hear arguments on same sex marriage in 2013.

Health care

- San Francisco voted to become the first U.S. city to provide and cover the cost of sex reassignment surgeries for uninsured transgender residents.

- Under the Affordable Care Act, victims of same-sex domestic violence cannot be denied health insurance as a pre-existing condition.

- The Transgender Law Center launched TransLine, “the nation’s first online medical consultation service providing health care professionals with up-to-date clinical information and case consultation on a broad range of transgender issues.”


- Judge Michael Fitzgerald was confirmed for U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. Fitzgerald is one of only four “openly gay lifetime tenured federal judges in American history.”

- William Thomas is a nominee awaiting confirmation for a judgeship on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. If confirmed, Thomas would be the “first openly gay black man to be a life-tenured federal judge.”

- Pamela Chen is a nominee awaiting confirmation for a judgeship U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. If confirmed she would be the “first out Asian-American judge to be seated on the federal bench.”

- Judge Nitza I. Quiñones Alejandro was nominated for a “federal judgeship with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.” If confirmed, she would become the “first out gay Hispanic woman to serve on the federal bench.”

- Judge Michael McShane was nominated to serve on the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon.


- The number of regular, full-time LGBTQ characters on the five USA television broadcast networks increased 50%. “This year’s increase of LGBT characters on television reflects a cultural change in the way gay and lesbian people are seen in our society,” said GLAAD president Herndon Graddick.