Gay.com > News > Congressional caucus launched for LGBT rights

Reps. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., and Barney Frank, D-Mass. announced today the formation of the LGBT Equality Caucus. The 52-member bipartisan group, which includes two Republicans, is the first congressional caucus with the express purpose of advancing equal rights for LGBT people, repealing discriminat

Congressional caucus launched for LGBT rights

published Wednesday, June 4, 2008
Reps. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., and Barney Frank, D-Mass. announced today the formation of the LGBT Equality Caucus. The 52-member bipartisan group, which includes two Republicans, is the first congressional caucus with the express purpose of advancing equal rights for LGBT people, repealing discriminatory laws and educating lawmakers on gay issues.

Baldwin and Frank, both openly gay, co-chair the caucus.

Baldwin told The Advocate that the caucus' primary concern this session is "to educate and prepare for major legislative victories" once a supportive commander in chief steps in the White House.

She referenced the Matthew Shepard Act expanding hate-crimes legislation and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). President Bush had threatened to veto both, but neither made it to his desk.

Baldwin noted the significance of launching the caucus with bipartisan support.

"We have to have the most effective communication possible with both sides," she said. "Our Republican charter members will be great at educating and being role models for their side of the aisle."

The two Republicans are Connecticut's Chris Shays and Florida's Ileana Ros-Lehtinen; others are expected to join this week.

Shays sees another reason why this particular caucus will be successful. Unlike most caucuses, which are helmed by a Republican and a Democrat, "in this case, you have two co-chairs who happen to be one gay and one lesbian -- individuals who have experienced the very discrimination we're talking about." That, he said, will show other lawmakers firsthand that being gay is not a threat to the social fabric of the country.

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Corrective, I never cease to be amazed how the 'old guard' cling so stubbornly to their ancient beliefs and idiotic notions about how life really is.

Their 'belief system' is all they really have i…