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Best of 2012 for LGBT Rights

The Best for Gay and Lesbian 2012

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2012 was a stellar year for LGBT rights. Here are some of the best moments for gays and lesbians and a look a a few celebrities who came out in 2012.

1. Gay Marriage Wins at the Ballot Box

Vote Ballot
© Steve Woods
Election night 2012 was unprecedented for LGBT rights. Voters in Maine, Washington and Maryland all voted to approve same-sex marriage in their states. Also, voters in Minnesota rejected a measure that would have defined marriage as only between a man and a woman. This is the first time that gay marriage has been approved by a majority of voters at the polls.

2. President Obama Announces Support for Gay Marriage

President Barack Obama
© John Moore/Getty Images
Earlier in his presidency he stopped defending the Defense of Marriage Act. When he ran for office the first time he said he supported civil unions and not same-sex marriage. But in May of 2012, President Obama acknowledged that his views on same-sex marriage have "evolved" and that he now supports full marriage equality. This is the first time a United States President has come out in support of gay marriage and it's quite possible that his change of heart helped win the support for same-sex marriage at the ballot box in 2012.

3. Tammy Baldwin Elected to the Senate

Tammy Baldwin
© TammyBaldwin.house.gov
Yes, 2012 was a big year for political gains and Tammy Baldwin winning her bid for the US Senate is quite an accomplishment. Tammy Baldwin served in the Wisconsin US House of Representatives and became the first openly gay or lesbian person to be elected to the United States Senate. She's out and proud and a fierce advocate for LGBT causes, but it was her strong voting record and representing the people of her district that won her election. Way to go Tammy!

4. Prop 8 Declared Unconstitutional, Heading to the Supreme Court

Protests against Prop 8 at San Francisco City Hall
© Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Back in February the The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld an earlier ruling that said restricting marriage to one man and one woman discriminates against same-sex couples by violating the Equal Protection Clause of United States constitution. Then in December we learned that the United States Supreme Court will take up the issue of same-sex marriage and the Defense of Marriage Act. Most LGBT activists are excited that this issue is heading to the Supreme Court. A ruling is expected in June 2013.

5. Out LGBT Olympians

Megan Rapinoe
© Koji Watanabe/Getty Images
The summer Olympics in 2012 was probably the best sporting event of the year and according to Out Sports there were 23 out Olympians, including Americans Megan Rapinoe (soccer), Seimone Augustus (basketball) and Lisa Raymond (doubles tennis). In addition, the US Women's soccer coach Pia Sundhage is also a lesbian.

6. Celebrity Outings 2012

Kristy McNichol
© Getty Images
2012 was a big year for celebrities coming out. Perhaps the biggest celebrity to come out in 2012 was Anderson Cooper. Plenty of lesbian celebrities came out in 2012 too. The normally private Kristy McNichol decided to come out if it could help stop bullying of LGBT children and youth. Other celebrities that came out in 2012 included Jillian Michaels who came out to announce she and her partner were becoming parents. Gillian Anderson who played Agent Scully on The X-Files, announced that she is bisexual and had a relationship with another woman while in high school. Astronaut Sally Ride died this year and after her death it was announced that she was in a long-term relationship with another woman.

7. Lesbians on TV 2012

Kate McKinnon
© NBC Universial
There certainly aren't as many lesbians characters on TV as there are gay men, but Glee and Grey's Anatomy continue to have the most lesbian and bisexual characters. Probably the biggest lesbian addition to network television is Kate McKinnon being selected as a cast member for Saturday Night Live. Cable and reality shows like The Real L Word are still probably your best bets to see real live lesbians and bisexual women on TV.

8. More Corporations Than Ever Support LGBT Rights

Boss
© Inti St Clair/Getty Images
There was a big uproar in 2012 about Chick-Fil-A and the company's stance against LGBT rights and against same-sex marriage. Despite this one company's homophobic stance, more corporations than ever are embracing equality and vying for a good score on HRC's Corporate Equality Index.
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