The state of Mississippi has elected Fabian Nelson as its first out gay lawmaker.
Fabian Nelson, a real estate professional who has campaigned for better funding for education, supporting small businesses and expanding the government-provided healthcare programme Medicaid, won a Democratic run-off election for House of Representative District 66 in south west Jackson in September.
And after facing no opposition in Tuesday’s (7 November) general election, Nelson, who was endorsed by the LGBTQ+ Victory Fund and the Human Rights Campaign, formally won won the seat.
Louisiana is now the only state with no out LGBTQ+ legislators.
Annise Parker, the president and chief executive of the LGBTQ+ Victory Fund, said: “At a time when bigotry in politics is on the rise, voters in Mississippi have chosen a different path.
“Fabian’s victory is a testament to his dedication to his community and his tireless work earning the support of voters on the campaign trail. Today, we celebrate with all Mississippians who long for a better future that’s free of discrimination and hate.”
Parker said Nelson will work to make “the Magnolia State a more welcoming place for all”.
GLAAD president and chief executive Sarah Kate Ellis added her congratulations, saying: “Voters for LGBTQ equality and everyone’s fundamental freedoms came out in force in the election, reflecting the reality that a supermajority of Americans support LGBTQ people and our right not to be discriminated against.”
In October, data released as part of the FBI’s annual Crime in the Nation report found that race and ethnicity remain the top motivator for hate crimes, at 56 per cent, followed by religion and sexual orientation.
The election result will “lead to a better lived reality for LGBTQ people in the south and midwest”, Ellis added.
“LGBTQ people are valued members of our communities, we value everyone’s freedom to be themselves and make their own healthcare decisions, and we embrace diversity in our elected officials,” she said.