Gay Rights
1:00 pm
Wed November 14, 2012

Florida Elects Two Openly Gay State Lawmakers For The First Time

Two openly gay men won seats in the Florida House this election.
Two openly gay men won seats in the Florida House this election.
Credit ep_jhu / Flickr

On Election Day this year, Florida went from having zero openly gay lawmakers in the state Legislature to two.

David Richardson won a seat in the Florida House representing Miami Beach and Joe Saunders won a seat representing a part of Orlando. Both men are openly gay.

Up until last week, Florida was the biggest state in the U.S. to have never elected an openly gay person to office in their state legislature. 

Chuck Wolfe, president of the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, says that Florida was actually part of a national trend.

The Victory Fund endorses openly gay candidates and helps get them elected. They endorsed 180 candidates all over the country this year -- ranging from city council seats to U.S. Senate races -- and 122 of these candidates actually won.

"I mean, the entire country is shifting. On this issue, Florida seems to be shifting a little later than the rest of the country," says Wolfe.

He says the late shift is because Florida has people from all over the country living here. The state also has a significant elderly population, which tends to vote less pro-gay rights.