Election night firsts: Who made history Tuesday night?


WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 22: NARAL policy aide Kate Vlach participates in a protest outside of the Hyatt Regency where Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was scheduled to attend a fundraiser on March 22, 2012 in Washington, DC. Supporters of Planned Parenthood, and the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws (NARAL), participated in the protest against Romney's position on women's health care. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)


Mark Wilson

This election pitted the United States' first black president against Mitt Romney, who, had he won, would have become America's first Mormon president. What else made history Tuesday night?

1. Marijuana

Colorado was the first state in the US to legalize recreational use of pot. A state amendement legalizing marijuana gained approval Tuesday night with 53 percent of the vote, according to Reuters. Washington state soon followed, with a pot legalization initiative getting 55 percent of the votes with about 60 percent of the ballots tallied. Both states, which already allow people to smoke pot for medical purposes, are defying federal marijuana laws with the new initiatives, so there's a chance that the Obama administration may challenge them. 

2. Gay rights 

Wisconsin Democrat Tammy Baldwin became the first openly gay US senator on Tuesday after she defeated popular former Governor Tommy Thompson. "Now, I am well aware that I will have the honor of being Wisconsin's first woman senator. And I am well aware that I will be the first openly gay member," Baldwin said during her victory speech. "But I didn't run to make history. I ran to make a difference." 

More from GlobalPost: When the BRICs Crumble

Tuesday was also historic for gay marriage, with Maine and Maryland becoming the first states to approve same-sex marriage by popular vote, the Associated Press reported. While gay marriage is legal in other states, before Tuesday gays and lesbians had only been granted marriage rights by courts and state legislatures, the Washington Post explained

3. Women in the Senate

After last night's Senate elections, nineteen women now hold seats in the Senate, a record-breaking number.