Arts & Entertainment
House members form LGBT Equality Caucus
Goal is equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans
Originally printed 6/12/2008 (Issue 1624 - Between The Lines News)
In a Capitol Hill press conference today, Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA) announced the formation of the House of Representatives LGBT Equality Caucus. Baldwin introduced the bipartisan caucus and its founding members, saying, "We represent different races, different genders, different sexual orientations, different geographic regions, different generations and different parties, but we share a common mission: to promote lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality."
Congressman Barney Frank, who is co-chairing the caucus with Baldwin, said, "With a Democratic majority in the House, we now have both the opportunity and the responsibility to move towards legal equality for people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender. This caucus will play an important role in helping shape the strategy by which we do this."
The mission of the LGBT Equality Caucus is to achieve the extension of equal rights, the repeal of discriminatory laws, the elimination of hate-motivated violence and the improved health and well being for all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.
The caucus will serve as a resource on LGBT issues for members of Congress, their staffs and the public. Congressional action this session on legislation combating hate crimes and employment discrimination highlighted the need and the desire people have for more information on LGBT issues. The LGBT Equality Caucus is one result of those successful efforts.
Baldwin described the purpose of the caucus as both symbolic and substantive. "...symbolic because, historically, of all the member caucuses organized in the Congress over the years, none has ever been dedicated to equality for LGBT Americans," he said. "The very existence of an LGBT Equality Caucus in Congress makes a strong statement about the values this Congress and this nation hold dear."
The Caucus will address not only U.S. domestic policies, but the nation's foreign policy, to safeguard the human rights of LGBT people in all parts of the world.
At its founding today, the Equality Caucus is comprised of the following members with more expected to join in the coming months:
Co-Chairs: Reps. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Barney Frank (D-MA)
Vice Chairs: Reps. Rob Andrews (D-NJ), Xavier Becerra (D-CA) Lois Capps (D-CA), Yvette Clarke (D-NY), Joseph Crowley (D-NY), Diana DeGette (D-CO), Keith Ellison (D-MN), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Mike Honda (D-CA), Barbara Lee (D-CA), James McGovern (D-MA), Jerry Nadler (D-NY), Linda Sanchez (D-CA), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Hilda Solis (D-CA), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Henry Waxman (D-CA), Anthony Weiner (D-NY), Peter Welch (D-VT)
Members: Reps. Howard Berman (D-CA), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Robert Brady (D-PA), Michael Capuano (D-MA), Susan Davis (D-CA), Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Eliot Engel (D-NY), Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), Phil Hare (D-IL), Rush Holt (D-NJ), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), Patrick Kennedy (D-RI), Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Doris Matsui (D-CA), James Moran (D-VA), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Frank Pallone (D-NJ), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Steven Rothman (D-NJ), Jose Serrano (D-NY), Chris Shays (R-CT), Pete Stark (D-CA), Betty Sutton (D-OH), Ellen Tauscher (D-CA), Niki Tsongas (D-MA), Robert Wexler (D-FL), Lynn Woolsey (D-CA)