Assembly members in California are
expected to pick a gay assemblyman as speaker, the Sacramento Bee
The paper is reporting that Assemblyman
Kevin de Leon has agreed to step aside and allow openly gay
Assemblyman John A. Perez, a Democrat from Los Angeles, to be
selected Assembly speaker. Gay weekly Bay
Area Reporter is reporting that sources have confirmed that
Perez has the votes necessary to win the post.
De Leon was widely believed to be the
front-runner for the position, but had failed to gain sufficient
support from key Democrats.
If united behind a single candidate,
Democrats, who hold a majority in the chamber, do not need GOP
Gay activists in the state hailed
Perez's ascension from first-term Assemblyman to speaker.
“With California as well as the
lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community facing significant
challenges, including the decimation of HIV/AIDS services by the
governor, this possibility fills our community with great hope,”
Geoff Kors, executive director of Equality California, said in a
statement before De Leon's apparent concession.
“As the first LGBT Speaker in our
state, Assemblymember Perez would serve as an incredible role model
to LGBT youth and for every community member who has faced obstacles
simply because of who they are,” he added.
A timetable on selecting a new speaker
has yet to emerge but a vote is possible when Democrats meet on
If elected speaker, Perez would become
one of the nation's most powerful and visible gay politicians.