The 113th Congress opened on Thursday with the swearing in of new members, which include 6 LGBT House members and a senator.
Senator Tammy Baldwin, a Democrat from Wisconsin, became the Senate’s first openly gay member.
“Now we can officially call her Senator Tammy Baldwin,” Chuck Wolfe, president and CEO of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, a group which supports gay candidates, said in an email to supporters. “LGBT Americans have finally broken through a glass ceiling that held firm for more than two centuries.”
In the House, a record six LGBT members were sworn in, all of whom are Democrats.
Mark Pocan, a small business owner and a former Wisconsin state representative, won his bid to fill the 2nd Congressional seat being vacated by Baldwin. His Republican challenger, Chad Lee, ran an unsuccessful bid against Baldwin in 2010. The 48-year-old Pocan married his husband Phil in Canada in 2006.
In Arizona, Kyrsten Sinema, 36, won her race against Republican Vernon Parker to become the first openly bisexual member of Congress.
In New York, Democrat Sean Patrick Maloney, a former adviser to President Bill Clinton, derailed incumbent Nan Hayworth, a moderate Republican with a record of supporting gay rights. Maloney and his partner of 20 years, Randy Florke, are raising three children.
Mark Takano won his race against Republican John Tavaglione to become the first openly gay Asian-American in Congress. Takano’s newly created 41st Congressional District includes the Inland Empire, a region located east of Los Angeles.
Voters also returned two openly gay incumbent House members: David Cicilline of Rhode Island and Jared Polis of Colorado.
“Today LGBT Americans gained powerful, authentic voices on Capitol Hill who will fight for true equality for all, and Congress became more representative of our country,” said Wolfe. “We could not be more proud of these seven exceptional men and women.”
by Carlos Santoscoy
Source – On Top Magazine