Tuesday’s vote in the US was about much more than the White House and Capitol Hill. Across the country Americans were called on to cast their ballot in a wide range of referendums – and the results indicat the US is far more liberal than many thought.
Maine and Maryland made history by becoming the first two states to approve same-sex marriage by popular vote – breaking a losing streak that has seen 30 states vote down such bills.
Gay weddings are already legal in six other states and Washington D.C., but that was down to legislators and the courts rather than the public.
The results follow recent polls showing for the first time the majority of Americans support marriage equality. And in Wisconsin, Democrat Tammy Baldwin became the first openly gay woman to be elected to the Senate.
Baldwin’s sexuality barely featured in her campaign and after victory she said she had not run to make history but to make a difference.
Obama secured the majority of the female vote. But more and more women are doing it for themselves with the number of female senators rising to a historic 20 per cent. That is just slightly less than in France which has a similar system.
In another sign of change in the Senate, Tea Party-backed Republican Ted Cruz becomes the first Hispanic to represent Texas.
One name that has been a constant on Capitol Hill for the last half a century is Kennedy – at least until the death of JFK’s youngest brother, Ted Kennedy in 2009. But the election of Joe Kennedy III – JFK’s great nephew – ends the hiatus.
He goes to the House of Representatives for
Massachusetts 4th District.
It has been an electoral marathon, to say the least. And for those who are finding it all just a bit too much, Washington State and Colorado became the first states to approve the recreational use of cannabis in a referendum.
Marijuana is already allowed for medicinal purposes in other parts of the country.
There is no doubt the 2008 presidential vote was historic – but it looks like quite a few taboos have been broken this time round too.