Donald Trump is next President of the United States in shock defeat for Clinton

The US Presidential election has been called for Donald Trump, who has won a shock victory over rival Hillary Clinton.

Secretary Clinton had held a narrow lead in polls ahead of the vote, but Mr Trump built up a lead in the electoral college system by taking swing states of Florida and North Carolina.

As Mr Trump inched towards the 270 electoral college votes required to secure a majority, Associated Press called the election for Mr Trump.

Hillary Clinton has called Mr Trump to concede the race, according to reports.

Mr Trump confirmed: “I’ve just received a call from Secretary Clinton. She congratulated us on our victory, and I congratulated her and her family on a very, very hard-fought campaign. Hillary has worked very long and hard over a long period of time, and we owe her a major debt of gratitude for her service.

“Now it’s time to bind the wounds of divisions. To all Republicans and Democrats and independents, it is time to come together as one united people. I pledge to be President for every citizen.”

Barack Obama, who has prevailed over many historic victories on LGBT rights, has two months left in his term, with the President-elect Trump expected to take over after the official inauguration on January 20, 2017.

Though LGBT rights were not often a focus of the election campaign, there were stark differences between the candidates during the battle – with Secretary Clinton pitching herself as a progressive, while President-elect Trump adopted hardline Republican values

With the Republicans retaining control of the House and the Senate and winning the presidency, the election results is likely dire news for hopes of LGBT rights reforms.

Once a moderate on  LGBT issues, Trump’s wholesale adoption of a number of hardline evangelical policy planks went largely unremarked-up outside of the LGBT press, drowned out by the candidate’s explosive gaffe-prone media profile and a string of scandals.

Trump had pledged to sign the ‘First Amendment Defence Act’ to permit religious homophobic discrimination, promised to “consider” appointing ultra-conservative Supreme Court justices to repeal equal marriage, and come out in favour of North Carolina’s anti-trans law – while running mate Mike Pence confirmed a plan to dismantle Barack Obama’s protections for LGBT people.

The Republican Platform passed earlier this year contained some of the most anti-LGBT provisions in decades, opposing a ban on ‘gay cure’ therapy and attacking same-sex adoption and parenting.

A hardline evangelical, the Governor of Indiana stirred up international outrage last year when he signed Indiana’s controversial ‘Religious Freedom Restoration Act’, which gave businesses the right to discriminate against gay people on the grounds of religion.

Governor Pence previously suggested that HIV prevention funding be drained in order to fund state-sponsored ‘gay cure’ therapy, and earlier this year appeared unable to answer when asked whether it should be legal to fire people because of their sexuality.

An investigation last month found that Pence approved extreme anti-LGBT articles when he was the head of the Indiana Policy Review journal in the 1990s.

In an item published under his editorial tenure in the December 1993 issue, Pence’s journal criticised The Wall Street Journal for taking part in a job fair for gay journalists – suggesting that “gaydom” was a “pathological condition”, and arguing that gay journalists would be biased in their coverage because of their sexuality.

It claimed: “The more extreme of the gay movement consider themselves members of a sexual determined political party.”

Another edition published in 1993 attacked Bill Clinton for reforms to permit closeted gay people to serve in the army.

It claimed: “Homosexuals are not as a group able bodied. They are known to carry extremely high rates of disease brought on because of the nature of their sexual practices and the promiscuity which is a hallmark of their lifestyle.”

The pair’s platform stood in contrast to Clinton’s policies.

LGBT groups had largely rallied round Clinton, who had vowed to continue progress made under Barack Obama and Joe Biden on LGBT rights, releasing a detailed policy document of proposals she would enact as President.

The Democratic candidate promised to veto the First Amendment Defence Act, and pledged to sign the Equality Act – a bill that would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to outlaw discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation across all areas, including employment, housing, schools, access to credit, public education, jury service, and public accommodations.

However, as Republicans have control in both the House and the Senate, the Equality Act is now effectively dead in the water.

President-elect Trump will take office in January.