When gay Americans notched some of their biggest political victories in the last year for same-sex marriage and military service, opponents were already preparing an intense battle to roll back the new rights. That onslaught, in state legislatures and Washington, has raised the stakes in the 2016 election for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community,

which is trying to leverage its unprecedented political power to elect lawmakers who would extend federal protections at work and home to gay citizens, just as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protected race, religion and gender. “It was easy to forget how big the challenge still is,” said Representative Sean Patrick Maloney, the first openly gay congressman chosen by New Yorkers in 2012. READ MORE