There's a some truth to this joke circulating on Twitter from comedy account @LOLGOP: "The big winner tonight? Sodomy. #congratssodomy."
First of all, Republican Ken Cuccinelli lost the Virginia governor's race in large part because of his focus on social issues, especially a campaign to reinstate a law banning sodomy and oral sex. Cuccinelli's stated aim in reinstating the Crimes Against Nature law was to preserve convictions against child sex offenders. But the fact that he wanted to reinstate the law without amending it to allow consensual sex - and his well-known anti-gay stances - seem to have convinced the public he was simply waging a retrograde campaign against normal sex acts.
All of that gave Terry McAuliffe an opening to paint Cuccinelli as a crazed puritan who opposes sex and wages war on women. McAuliffe at one stage regaled his supporters with an email headed, "Why am I emailing you about sodomy?" The short answer being, "to make Cuccinelli look awful."
As a result, probably, exit polls show that McAuliffe did much better with moderates and women. Which is pretty amazing considering McAuliffe is a man who left his wife's hospital bed to go to a fundraiser.
Cuccinelli wasn't the only Virginia Republican who came unstuck over gay rights opposition. A.W. Jackson was soundly defeated by Democrat Ralph Northam. Jackson was notorious for his anti-gay stance. As recently as 2012 he called gay people "perverted" and "very sick people."
The final vote tally isn't in for Mark Obenshain, the Republican running for Virginia's Attorney General slot, who is up just 1,000 votes over his Democratic rival. Obenshain was widely known to have backed Cuccinelli's push to reinstate the anti-sodomy law.
Meanwhile in Alabama the anti-gay candidate fared no better, as establishment Republican Bradley Byrne beat Tea Party candidate Dean Young to the Republican nomination. Young made a national name for himself during the campaign as a staunch opponent of gay sexuality, not to mention as a birther. Back in 2002, when running for Mississippi Secretary of State, Young told voters that homosexuality "breaks the law of Alabama to have homosexual conduct and is against the laws of nature and nature's God."
One more bit of non-election-related win: Illinois will shortly allow gay marriage.