Sarah McBride, who is transgender, and
Eric Morrison, who is gay, won their Democratic primary races in
Delaware on Tuesday.
Delaware, along with Alaska, Louisiana,
Mississippi, and Tennessee, has never elected an openly LGBT person
to its state legislature. (Former Delaware State Senator Karen
Peterson came out while in office and did not seek re-election.)
McBride's win sets the stage for her to
become the first transgender person elected to a state senate seat in
the United States. She also made history in 2016 as the first
transgender person to address the Democratic National Convention.
“I'm overwhelmed with gratitude
tonight,” McBride said in a statement. “This victory would be
impossible without the incredible work of hundreds of grassroots
volunteers. It proves that Delaware can show America what is possible
when neighbors come together.”
Morrison, a longtime LGBT rights
advocate, beat Representative Earl Jaques, a six-term incumbent, by a
22 percent margin. Morrison's campaign questioned Jaques' commitment
to LGBT rights, noting he voted against a same-sex marriage bill in
2013 and abstained from voting on a bill that banned conversion
therapy for minors. (Such therapies attempt to alter the sexual
orientation or gender identity of LGBT youth.)
Morrison, who will face a Republican
and a Libertarian candidate in the fall, is considered a strong
favorite to win in Delaware's heavily Democratic 27th
House District, which includes parts of Newark.
The LGBTQ Victory Fund, which supports
openly LGBT candidates, endorsed both candidates.
“At a time when the Trump
administration, cynical politicians and too many state legislatures
are attempting to use trans people as political weapons, Sarah's win
is a powerful reminder that voters are increasingly rejecting the
politics of bigotry in favor of candidates who stand for equality,”
Annise Parker, CEO of the LGBTQ Victory Fund, said in a statement.
McBride is also running in a heavily
McBride previously worked as a press
secretary for the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest
LGBT rights advocate.
“Next year, as the first transgender
state senator in our nation, Sarah will show that any child can
achieve their dream, no matter their gender identity or sexual
orientation,” HRC President Alphonso David said in a statement.
In 2017, Virginia Delegate Danica Roem
became the first out transgender person elected to a state
legislature. Roem defeated Bob Marshall, a fixture in Virginia
politics and an outspoken opponent of LGBT rights. Transgender
candidates in Colorado and New Hampshire have since joined Roem,
bringing the total number of transgender lawmakers to four. The
Victory Fund has endorsed the state legislative campaigns of five
additional non-incumbent transgender candidates, including McBride of
Delaware, Stephanie Byers of Kansas, Madeline Eden of Texas, Jessica
Katzenmeyer of Wisconsin, and Taylor Small of Vermont.
Bob Marshall insists “sodomy is not a civil right” in explaining
vote against gay judge.)
“Three years ago there were zero out
trans state legislators anywhere in the country, but each win
reinvigorates a virtuous cycle that familiarizes voters with trans
people and encourages more trans people to run,” Parker said. “We
are optimistic we can double the number of trans state legislators in
2020 – from four to at least eight – and their impact will be
felt well beyond the boundaries of their districts.”