Distracted by yesterday’s insurrection at the Capitol? Us too. But we do have some good news to report: The future of pro-LGBTQ policymaking in America is looking a little more peachy.
Advocacy groups like GLAAD, NCLR, and HRC are celebrating the victories of Georgia Democrats Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock in a runoff Senate election that has captivated the nation. Both Ossoff and Warnock challenged anti-LGBTQ Republican incumbents in November, but their races were both too close to call, hence this week’s election. Their combined wins grant Democrats control of the U.S. Senate, which bodes well for the future of President-Elect Joe Biden’s political agenda, and pro-LGBTQ legislation like the Equality Act.
“We have not been able to move that piece of legislation forward because of the current configuration of the Senate,” GLAAD president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis told The 19th News earlier this week. “This is everything.”
Despite the violence in our nation's Capitol, it was still truly a historic day for GA & the nation as voters in the Southern state elected 2 pro-#LGBTQ Senators @ReverendWarnock & @ossoff to represent them in Congress. Statement from #NCLR E.D. @ImaniRG. https://t.co/xySFpGDcWp
— NCLR – National Center for Lesbian Rights (@NCLRights) January 7, 2021
Warnock’s race was called by most major outlets early in the morning on Wednesday, January 6. Votes from Ossoff’s race took longer to tabulate, although the prospective senator did declare victory Wednesday morning. Both candidates have expressed their support for the LGBTQ community, with Ossoff vowing to invest in health care and social services to combat houselessness among queer youth.
Warnock’s win also makes him the first Black senator from Georgia in the state’s history.
In a statement celebrating Warnock and Ossoff’s wins, Ellis said the results signal clear support of a “pro-equality agenda” from voters in the Peach State.
“We congratulate Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, and we look forward to working with them and President-elect Biden to secure comprehensive protections for LGBTQ people that an overwhelming majority of Americans already support,” she continued. “We are counting on their commitment to support The Equality Act, protecting LGBTQ people in Georgia and across the country from discrimination. The new Senate must turn the tide on issues that disproportionally impact LGBTQ Americans like COVID-19, health care, and racial justice. We must begin to repair the damage done to the LGBTQ community and so many others by the outgoing administration, and focus on ensuring our country is a place where all can be safe and have the same chances to succeed.”