One of two Senate Democrats up for reelection in Michigan, a state won by Donald Trump in 2016, Sen. Gary Peters has declared victory against Republican challenger John James. In a very tight race, Peters finally earned 50% of the vote to James' 48%.
A longtime supporter of LGBTQ causes, Peters has been working as a politician since 1995, first earning his seat on the U.S. Senate when he won against Republican Terri Lynn Land in the 2014 general election. While in office, Peters has focused on being a pro-equality candidate, and he said in a previous BTL op-ed that he intends on making further steps toward ensuring LGBTQ equality.
"I'm proud to be part of the progress toward equal rights in our country. As a former lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy Reserve, I was active in the repeal of 'don't ask, don't tell,' because no patriot should be turned away from serving their country because of who they are," Peters said. "And I have been an advocate of marriage equality, including signing the amicus brief to support the overturning of the DOMA. But there is still so much more work to be done and that includes passing the Equality Act."
The Equality Act would allow for protections for sexual orientation and gender identity to be enshrined in U.S. law, to ensure that LGBTQ people enjoy the same rights as their fellow Americans in the realms of housing, access to services and more.
"It couldn't be more clear how much is at stake and how critical it is that we elect people who are going to fight for the equal rights of all Americans," he said. "We have a lot of work ahead, but I know that together we can rise above the challenges to make historic change."