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Saturday, January 26, 2013

Congress reflects progress for gay people

Posted By on Sat, Jan 26, 2013 at 7:05 AM

A New York Times story today reflects welcome progress in acceptance of gay people in society, if not necessarily movement in the battle for legal rights. But with acceptance in time will come much more as the slow but steady progress for non-discrmination laws, at least outside the South, indicates.

But in the 113th Congress there are six openly gay or bisexual members in the House — a small but tangible sign that their presence at the highest levels of government is no longer something only whispered about. The Senate has its first lesbian, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin. The lawmakers’ partners, no longer relegated to the shadows or introduced generically as “friends,” stood beside them on the House floor when they were sworn in this month. Their adopted children are attending Congressional retreats.

And this week they sat in President Obama’s presence as he insisted on equality for “our gay brothers and sisters,” words few of them ever expected to hear in a president’s Inaugural Address.

Congress has never been an accurate reflection of the country it serves. It remains far whiter, wealthier and more male than the nation’s population. But as their numbers in Congress gradually increase, there is a sense among these newcomers that they are forcing some of their colleagues to rethink gay rights and homosexuality.

Is that true, Reps. Griffin, Cotton, Womack and Crawford? Sens. Pryor and Boozman?

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