There were some major advances on social issues on election night.
It looks like all three referenda in favor of same-sex marriage passed in Maryland (~53-48%), Maine (~53-47%), and Washington (~52-48%) with the constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage losing in Minnesota (~51-48). After 32 straight ballot defeats, this was the first time any ballot initiative approving of same-sex marriage has passed in any state and such a clean sweep in all four states represents a huge advance for equal rights for gays. Furthermore, Tammy Baldwin was elected US senator in Wisconsin making her the first openly gay person to serve in that body.
This is a major step forward in public acceptance of equal rights for the gay community. Albert Mohler, head of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and hugely influential in the evangelical community, sees the writing on the wall, saying, “If the marriage votes in ME, MD, MN, WA go as now trending, we are witnessing a fundamental moral realignment of the country” and again later, “There is no evidence in voting patterns that President Obama’s “evolution” on same-sex marriage cost him anything.”
Furthermore, if Heidi Heitkamp wins in the US senate seat North Dakota (she is leading but the race is still too close to call), there will be 20 women in that body, the largest number ever.
In other good news, Florida defeated (~55-45%) a move to repeal the ban on state revenues to aid churches, sects, religious denominations, or sectarian institutions and Colorado legalized (~55-45%) marijuana possession for a person 21 years old or older.
Unfortunately a California ballot initiative that would have outlawed the death penalty as the maximum punishment and replacing it with life imprisonment without parole, failed to pass (~53-47).
So all in all, I think we can say that this election represented a huge advance on social issues.