|Speaker Boehner (left) posing with Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (right) and his family|
The New York Times covers the new openly gay, lesbian and bi members of congress:
WASHINGTON — When Mark Takano ran unsuccessfully for Congress twice in the early 1990s, his opponents tried to smear him as a “homosexual liberal” and a “nutzoid.” One of them even had pink fliers printed that asked, “A Congressman for Riverside ... Or San Francisco?”
When he ran again last year, he won by almost 20 points. “Flash forward 18 years,” Mr. Takano said recently, “and the very macho building tradesmen are behind me. I’m getting pictures with them in their hard hats.”
For decades, the words “gay” and “Congress” were usually seen together only in stories of scandal and shame: an arrest after an illicit proposition in an airport bathroom, accusations of trawling for sex on a phone service. When Gerry E. Studds came out 30 years ago, the first congressman to do so, it was only after an affair with a 17-year-old Congressional page was revealed.
But in the 113th Congress there are six openly gay or bisexual members in the House — a small but tangible sign that their presence at the highest levels of government is no longer something only whispered about. The Senate has its first lesbian, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin. The lawmakers’ partners, no longer relegated to the shadows or introduced generically as “friends,” stood beside them on the House floor when they were sworn in this month. Their adopted children are attending Congressional retreats.