Does your representative defend LGBT rights? ThinkProgress identified the eleven most pro-LGBT U.S. representatives and compiled them into the following informative list. Use this information wisely in upcoming elections: change can happen starting at the ballot box!
Read an excerpt from the ThinkProgress.org story below:
Last week, ThinkProgress identified seven anti-LGBT Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives who sponsored or co-sponsored five or more of the ten most anti-gay bills introduced so far this Congress. But while they and 137 colleagues were promoting discrimination, 183 Representatives have signed on as backers of at least one of 27 pro-LGBT proposals over that time.
Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) has sponsored or cosponsored 23 of the bills, making her statistically the most pro-LGBT member of Congress. An eighth-term representative from the Bay Area, Lee authored the proposed Real Education for Healthy Youth Act of 2011 (an LGBT-inclusive sex education bill) and the Health Equity and Accountability Act of 2011 (a bill to improve tracking of health data for LGBT people and other minority groups). She is listed as a co-sponsor on 21 other proposals including measures to ban employment discrimination, to stop bullying in schools, and to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. Her official House website includes a page highlighting her support for LGBT equality and highlighting her status as a founding member of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus, of which she is currently a vice chair.
Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) equaled Congresswoman Lee’s score, also backing 23. But because residents of the District of Columbia are not given full representation in Congress, she is only permitted to vote in committees. All six non-voting delegates to Congress backed at least two pro-LGBT measures.
Ten other Representatives — all Democrats — signed on to at least 20 pro-LGBT proposals, putting them just behind Lee and Norton. They are:
- Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), a seventh-term Congresswoman currently seeking the open U.S. Senate seat in her state. The first openly-lesbian woman to serve in Congress, Baldwin is a co-chair of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus and author of the Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act of 2011, a proposal to provide employment benefits to the domestic partners of federal employees.
- Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), a third-term Congressman and a co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. On the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Rights page on his House website, Ellison notes that he is “proud to be vice-chair of the Congressional Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Caucus.”
- Rep. Bob Filner (D-CA), a tenth-term Congressman who recently proposed that the U.S. Navy should name a ship for the late Harvey Milk.
- Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ), a fifth-term Congressman and a co-chair of theCongressional Progressive Caucus. Grijalva is a vice chair of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus and praised a federal court ruling that there is no rational basis for banning same-sex unions, saying “I’m glad to see the importance of equal civil rights for all Americans reaffirmed by this ruling.”
- Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), a thirteenth-term Congressman who chaired the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee during the civil rights movement in the 1960s. On the LGBT Rights page on his House website, he says “I fought too long and too hard to end discrimination based on race and color, to not stand up against discrimination against our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters.”
- Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), a tenth-term Congresswoman and author of the Family and Medical Leave Inclusion Act, a proposal to provide same-sex couples with equal access to unpaid leave. The LGBT section on her Congressional website notes that back in 1986, she introduced the first domestic partnership legislation in New York State history, as a New York City Councilwoman.
- Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI), a fourth-term Congresswoman and author of the LGBT-inclusive Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2012. Her 2012 Pride Month statement and video highlighted her strong support for “equal rights for all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.”
- Rep. Fortney “Pete” Stark (D-CA), a twentieth-term Congressman and the author of the Every Child Deserves a Family Act, a proposal to ban discrimination against LGBT families in adoption and foster parenting. Upon received an award for outstanding service to the LGBT community from a group in his district, he noted “Significant strides have been made recently regarding LGBT rights, including the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and the Obama Administration’s refusal to defend the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act. Yet there is much more work to be done at the federal, state and local levels.”
- Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-NY), a fifteenth-term Congressman who will retire at the end of 2012. His House website includes an “It Gets Better” message to LGBT youth and a pride month proclamation that notes “The powerful movement for equal rights on behalf of the LGBT community has changed the course of our nation. LGBT Americans have done so much to advance the fundamental principles upon which our country was built – that all people are created equal and deserve equal rights and opportunities.
- Rep. Lynn C. Woolsey (D-CA), a tenth-term Congresswoman and the author of the Domestic Violence Leave Act and Balancing Act of 2011, two proposals which included provisions providing emergency leave for same-sex domestic partners. The Civil Rights page on her House website notes “As a founding member of the Congressional Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Equality Caucus, I strongly support equal protection under the law for all people, regardless of race, religion, national origin, gender, or sexual orientation.”
Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-IL), currently on a leave of absence from Congress, also signed onto 20 pro-LGBT bills and resolutions.
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) co-sponsored six pro-LGBT proposals, making her the most pro-equality Republican. She is the sole GOP backer of the Respect for Marriage Act, which would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. Just five other Republicans backed at least one pro-LGBT bill. . . .