The 113th Congress opened on
Thursday with the swearing in of new members, which include 6 LGBT
House members and a senator.
Senator Tammy Baldwin, a Democrat from
Wisconsin, became the Senate's first openly gay member.
“Now we can officially call her
Senator Tammy Baldwin,” Chuck Wolfe, president and CEO of the Gay &
Lesbian Victory Fund, a group which supports gay candidates, said in
an email to supporters. “LGBT Americans have finally broken
through a glass ceiling that held firm for more than two centuries.”
Baldwin sworn in as senator.)
In the House, a record six LGBT members
were sworn in, all of whom are Democrats.
Mark Pocan, a small business owner and
a former Wisconsin state representative, won his bid to fill the 2nd
Congressional seat being vacated by Baldwin. His Republican
challenger, Chad Lee, ran an unsuccessful bid against Baldwin in
2010. The 48-year-old Pocan married his husband Phil in Canada in
In Arizona, Kyrsten Sinema, 36, won her
race against Republican Vernon Parker to become the first openly
bisexual member of Congress.
In New York, Democrat Sean Patrick
Maloney, a former adviser to President Bill Clinton, derailed
incumbent Nan Hayworth, a moderate Republican with a record of
supporting gay rights. Maloney and his partner of 20 years, Randy
Florke, are raising three children.
Mark Takano won his race against
Republican John Tavaglione to become the first openly gay
Asian-American in Congress. Takano's newly created 41st
Congressional District includes the Inland Empire, a region located
east of Los Angeles.
Voters also returned two openly gay
incumbent House members: David Cicilline of Rhode Island and Jared
Polis of Colorado.
“Today LGBT Americans gained
powerful, authentic voices on Capitol Hill who will fight for true
equality for all, and Congress became more representative of our
country,” said Wolfe. “We could not be more proud of these seven
exceptional men and women.”