Record number of gays seeking seats in US election

Nine openly gay candidates are running as major-party nominees for the House of Representatives or the Senate in November's US election

Record number of gays seeking seats in US election
03 October 2012

A record number of gays and lesbians are seeking seats in the US Congress and a surge of positive encouragement has followed.

Of the four openly gay members of Congress, the two longest-serving stalwarts are leaving their seats and their activist admirers are excited about a large number of gays hoping to win them and make history.

Now it all comes down to election day on 6 November.

The oaths of office, taken in January, could see its first openly gay Asian-American, Mark Takano of California in the House of Representatives which may also have its first openly bisexual member, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona.

Congress could even have its first openly gay senator, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin.

In all, eight openly gay candidates are running as major-party nominees for the House of Representatives, which is the most ever, including two hot favorites, Democrats Jared Polis of Colorado and David Cicilline of Rhode Island.

There’s one gay Republican in the group from Massachusetts, Richard Tisei, who is displaying a competitive campaign for a House seat.

Democrat Sean Patrick Maloney, a former adviser to President Bill Clinton who is trying to oust one-term Republican Nan Hayworth from New York’s 18th District in the Hudson Valley, said: ‘People know that bigotry is bad politics.’

Maloney, who could be the first openly gay member of Congress from New York, has assailed Hayworth for not supporting federal recognition of same-sex marriage, but says voters are focused on economic and health care issues, not on gay rights.

‘The voters in my district care more about why my opponent wants to end Medicare and defund Planned Parenthood than about who I love,’ said Maloney, who is raising three children with his partner of 20 years.

The two veterans leaving the House are Barney Frank, Democrat, Massachussets, who is retiring after 16 terms and Baldwin, who is vacating her House of Representatives seat after seven terms to run for the Senate.

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