Barack Obama re-elected US President
Barack Obama has reached the projected magic number of 270 electoral college votes needed to be re-elected President of the United States of America.
The president, who made LGBT rights, a key part of his re-election campaign, has been in his native Chicago, the home of his political career, where he was awaiting the result.
Mitt Romney officially conceded the election to President Obama just before 6am GMT.
In Chicago, Mr Obama greeted cheering supporters and congratulated Mr Romney and Republican Vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan on their hard-fought campaign.
“We have picked ourselves up, we have fought our way back and we know in our hearts that for the United States of America the best is yet to come,” he said:
“As long as we have the courage, to keep reaching, to keep working, keep fighting. Everyone can make it in America. Black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, young, old, rich, poor, gay, straight, diasbled, abled. You can make it here in America”.
Making hate crime a federal offence, overturning Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (the ban on openly gay soldiers), abandoning federal approval of the Defence of Marriage Act, extending hospital visitation and care rights to gay spouses, and appointing a record number of gay officials, have all been substantial achievements of the president’s first term in office.
Throughout the 2012 presidential race Republican challenger Mitt Romney repeatedly stated his opposition to equal marriage and civil unions and said same-sex marriage should be banned with an amendment to the US Constitution.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) had said the Republican hopeful and his running mate, Paul Ryan, represented a “devastating leap backwards for LGBT Americans seeking full equality”.
Last week, President Obama was endorsed by both the New York Times newspaper, as well as the city’s popular and influential mayor, Michael Bloomberg, who cited the president’s support for equal marriage as a key reason.