While Barack Obama has made history by being elected the first black US president, voters have chosen to limit LGBT rights in at least three state referendums.
Obama (47), who has promised to fight for gay and lesbian equality, is projected to win the presidency as the final election results were announced on Wednesday morning.
His opponent, Senator John McCain, has admitted defeat and congratulated Obama on being chosen as the 44th US president.
“If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer,” Obama said to over 100,000 emotional supporters in Chicago’s Grant Park.
While most lesbians and gays have welcomed Obama’s election, the results of four state referendums on LGBT issues, held alongside the presidential contest, have tempered their celebrations.
Citizens of Arizona and Florida have voted to amend their states’ constitutions in order to bar same-sex marriage by constitutionally defining marriage as only being between a man and a woman.
In Arkansas, Initiative 1, which aimed to stop lesbian and gay couples from adopting children, was passed by 62 percent of the voters (based on results from 98 percent of precincts).
The momentous battle over Proposition 8, which also sought to amend California’s state constitution to bar same-sex marriage, remains undetermined as results from some larger precincts, such as Los Angeles County and San Francisco, are still to be announced.
While Obama has said that he does not support same-sex marriage, he does approve of same-sex civil unions similar to marriage with equal legal rights and privileges as married couples. He has also publicly opposed federal or state constitutional amendments to limit same-sex marriage.