8 – Russia’s support for anti-gay laws

2012 was a year when Russia seemed intent on turning back the clock on LGBT rights. Its second largest city, St Petersburg, passed a draconian homophobic censorship law that banned the public discussion of LGBT issues in order to protect ‘minors’.

An unsuccessful attempt was made to prosecute Madonna, when the US singer allegedly violated the law during a concert in the city in August.

9 – US elections

America’s biggest ever White House advocate of LGBT equality was comfortably re-elected to a second term in November’s US elections. Despite it being a close, drawn-out and aggressive campaign, in the end, President Obama’s margin of victory against Republican Mitt Romney was decisive.

Of wider electoral significance were the decisions of Maine, Maryland and the state of Washington to approve equal marriage after voters supported the measure in public ballots. In Minnesota, where same-sex marriage is banned by statute, a referendum to cement this ban into the state’s constitution was also defeated.

10 – Barack Obama backs same-sex marriage

History was made on 8 May 2012 when Barack Obama became the first US president to endorse equal marriage. In an interview with ABC News, he said that his views had “evolved” over the past few years, based on conversations with staff members, gay and lesbian service members, and people in his own family.