Politics

Openly LGBT Members Of U.S. Congress, Past And Present

These openly gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender Congresspeople have served both parties from multiple states.

The US Congress is composed of men, women, and people of various ethnic backgrounds and religions all elected to represent constituents from around the country. For many years, however, having a sexual orientation other than heterosexual was seen to be incompatible with the opportunity to hold public office. Indeed not long ago gay sex acts were illegal, and the idea of same-sex marriage was akin to science fiction. Slowly, however, times (and laws) have changed, and many brave Congress members have stepped out of the closet not only in support of gay rights but also to live a truthful life as a member of the LGBT community.

Democrats

Barney Frank

During his time as a representative for New Jersey Frank was known for being pro-choice as well as an advocate for civil rights, and a staunch supporter of Israel. Frank came out in 1987 and thus became the first member of Congress to do so voluntarily. In 2012, a year before retiring Frank married his partner, James Ready.

David Cicilline

Prior to being elected to Congress Cicilline was known for being the first openly gay mayor of a US state capital (Providence, Rhode Island). Throughout his career, Cicilline has concentrated on issues such as job creation, seniors, the anti-gun coalition, and Medicare.

Gerry Studds

Born in New York State Stubbs was involved in a 1983 scandal in which he was censured for having a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old male page. It was during the investigation into this matter that Studds publicly came out. He married his partner in 2004 but died just two years later.

Harris Wofford

This New York Congress member was rumored to have been up for consideration as Bill Clinton’s running mate in the 1992 election. Although Wofford was married to a woman from 1948-1992 in 2016, he announced plans to marry his same-sex partner. While in office Wofford was interested in issues relating to health care and the economy.

Jared Polis

According to The Huffington Post, this Colorado representative has the distinction of being the first openly gay parent in Congress. He and his partner have two children. Polis actively supports civil rights, education, as well as gay and lesbian issues.

Kyrsten Sinema

This Arizona representative has been acknowledged as being the first openly bisexual member of Congress. She has described herself as having bipartisan political views and non-theist in terms of religion.

Mark Pocan

Born in Wisconsin Pocan has been referred to as being a progressive Democrat. He serves on several government committees which focus on issues such as the budget, education, and workforce. In 2006 Pocan legally married his partner in Canada.

Mark Takano

This California representative has the distinction of being the first openly gay Asian Congress member.Takano serves on committees for veterans’ affairs, education, and the workforce.

Mike Michaud

Born in Maine Michaud came out in 2013. His political interests focus on issues pertaining to veterans and the environment.

Sean Patrick Maloney

Although Maloney was born in Canada, he was elected as a member of Congress for New York. While in office, he has been a member of numerous committees focusing on agriculture, transportation, and infrastructure. Maloney and his partner married in 2014 and have three kids.

Tammy Baldwin

As a liberal representative for Wisconsin Baldwin has served on a variety of government committees on subjects such as aging, the budget, homeland security, and healthcare.

Republicans

Jim Kolbe

Born in Illinois Kolbe was married to his wife from 1977 to 1992 but subsequently wed his male partner in 2013. In politics, he is known as a moderate Republican and came out after endorsing the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996.

John Hinson

While serving as a representative for Mississippi Hinson resigned from Congress in 1981after being arrested for performing same-sex sexual acts. It was later revealed that in 1976 Hinson had also been charged with what the Associated Press referred to as an “obscene act.” After divorcing his wife Hinson became a gay activist and from AIDS at the age of 53.

Michael Huffington

This Texas Congress member was married to The Huffington Post’s Adrianna Huffington from 1996 to 1997. He came out as being bisexual in 1998 and supported same-sex marriage rights in 2013.

Robert Bauman

As a representative for Maryland Bauman was known for his strong conservative beliefs and founded the Young Americans for Freedom and the American Conservative Union. After a 1980 arrest for soliciting a male prostitute Bauman lost his bid for re-election.

Steve Gunderson

This Wisconsin Congress member was publicly outed in 1994. Two years later he was the only Republican to vote against the Defense of Marriage Act

Stewart McKinney

McKinney became known for his 1986 McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act. Although he was married to a woman, it’s widely assumed that the Connecticut representative was bisexual and died of AIDS in 1987.

Openly LGBT Members Of U.S. Congress, Past And Present

U.S. Congress MemberYears in Office
Democratic Massachusetts Representative Barney Frank1981-2013
Democratic Rhode Island Representative David CicillineIncumbent
Democratic Massachusetts Representative Gerry Studds1973-1997
Democratic Pennsylvania Senator Harris Wofford1991-1995
Democratic Colorado Representative Jared PolisIncumbent
Republican Arizona Representative Jim Kolbe1985-2007
Republican Mississippi Representative John Hinson1979-1981
Democratic Arizona Representative Kyrsten SinemaIncumbent
Democratic Wisconsin Representative Mark PocanIncumbent
Democratic California Representative Mark TakanoIncumbent

Republican California Representative Michael Huffington1993-1995
Democratic Maine Representative Mike Michaud2003-2015
Republican Maryland Representative Robert Bauman1973-1981
Democratic New York Representative Sean Patrick MaloneyIncumbent
Republican Wisconsin Representative Steve Gunderson1981-1997
Republican Connecticut Representative Stewart McKinney1971-1987
Democratic Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin Incumbent

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