Majority rule brings along new advocates for equality
by John Marble
Nancy Pelosi is the first Speaker of the House in history who supports full marriage equality for same-sex couples.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — With enthusiasm, the National Stonewall Democrats (NSD) responded to the establishment of Democratic majorities in the United States House of Representatives and Senate. As a result of the November elections, the House of Representatives has now elected the first Speaker of the House in history who supports full marriage equality for same-sex couples.
“Democrats provided American voters with an alternative to the divisive politics previously employed by Republicans to deflect attention from their failed agenda. Instead of a flurry of false social issues, Americans can now expect a Democratic Congress to turn its agenda towards safeguarding our troops, protecting our homeland and securing the American family,” said Jo Wyrick, NSD Executive Director.
“LGBT Democrats have now received a special obligation to ensure that the Democratic Party deepens its support for all families in this new capacity. Over the next two years, we must faithfully work to guarantee that the promise of our party is fulfilled in its practice.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was elected by her colleagues as Speaker of the House of Representatives shortly after noon on Jan. 4. Seventy-eight years after women were first guaranteed the right to vote, Pelosi becomes the first woman elected as Speaker of the House — a position third in line for the presidency after the vice president. House Speaker Pelosi has long been a champion of the American family, including families headed by same-sex couples. In 2004, Speaker Pelosi declared her support for the extension of civil marriage to same-sex couples. Subsequently, Pelosi voiced her support for the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act introduced by California Assemblymember Mark Leno (D-SF) that sought to extend civil marriage responsibilities to same-sex couples. The measure was approved by both chambers of the California legislature, but was later vetoed by Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Democrats took the majority this year with new advocates for equality. Newly-elected Congressman Patrick Murphy (D-PA) and Congressman Joe Sestak (D-PA) take their seats as decorated Iraq War veterans who have vocally spoken in favor of military readiness and in opposition to the failed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t Pursue” policy employed by the Pentagon. Freshman Congressman Keith Ellison (D-MN) becomes the first Muslim elected to Congress. Ellison has long been known as a strong supporter of LGBT families, and has used his prominence as an elected official and person of faith to advocate for marriage equality in mosques, churches and synagogues.