The Washington state Senate on Tuesday elected Ed Murray as its president.

The selection makes Murray, 57, the second openly gay person in U.S. history to lead a state Senate.

Murray, a Democrat, was the lead sponsor in the Senate of a marriage equality bill signed into law by Governor Chris Gregoire. The law was challenged at the polls by opponents but survived repeal on November 6.

In a press release, Murray said he looked forward to finding “solutions that work for all of Washington.”

The Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, which supports openly LGBT elected officials, lauded the choice.

“We congratulate Sen. Murray for this wonderful recognition of his leadership skills and dedication to the people of Washington,” Chuck Wolfe, president and CEO of the Victory Fund, said in a blog post. “He has proven that openly LGBT Americans have much to offer their communities as leaders and representatives, and his commitment to open and honest public service has set an example for LGBT youth.”

After serving 20 years in the Minnesota Senate, the late Allan Spears led the chamber from 1992 to his retirement in 2000. He announced he was gay in 1974.