Oregon Democrats on Thursday elected
Rep. Tina Kotek to be the next House speaker.
Kotek, who represents Portland, makes
United States history by becoming the first openly lesbian lawmaker
to lead a state legislative chamber.
In the coming legislative session, four
gay men will control a state chamber. Elected to their posts this
year are Senator
Ed Murray of Washington and Representative
Mark Ferrandino of Colorado. Returning are Assemblyman John
Perez of California and Representative Gordon Fox of Rhode Island.
Gay leaders will control five state
chambers, a new record.
Kotek's vote needs to be formally
ratified in January.
She told the AP that she knows she has
inspired other LGBT people.
“We all look for people out there who
look like us,” she said. “I have had emails and text messages
from people who are very excited.”
According to her Oregon
House biography, the 46-year-old Democrat lives with her partner
While gay rights activists have started
looking to Oregon for their next marriage equality victory, Koteck
has already dismissed a legislative approach.
“It will not be a legislative
referral,” Kotek told told The
Oregonian. “At the end of the day, this is a community