Friday, June 06, 2008

LGBT Equality Caucus in the House

Sapphocrat posted news about the formation of a LGBT equality caucus chaired by Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) in the House of Representatives. What are their plans?

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 for Members of Congress, their staffs, and the public on LGBT issues. Congressional action this session on legislation combating hate crimes and employment discrimination based highlighted the need, and the desire people had, 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. 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 our nation’s foreign policy to safeguard the human rights of LGBT people in all parts of the world.

I counted 19 vice chairs and 31 members plus co-chairs Baldwin and Frank in the caucus. With two exceptions, all are Democrats, names to know and more expected to join. Of course, same-sex marriage advocate and former presidential candidate Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) is a member.

Visit Sapphocrat at Lavendar Newswire for the complete list of vice chairs and members. She says, "Reads like a checklist of 'Who’s On Our Side.'”