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LGBT Equality Caucus Expands, Constrains Members to Varying Effect

Since its re-registration as an official Congressional Member Organization of the 111th Congress, the LGBT Equality Caucus has expanded, welcoming additional members Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, Steve Israel of New York and Chellie Pingree of Maine. The caucus boasts 79 members now, nearly one out of five members of the House of Representatives. By the numbers this should be an imposing legislative bloc, but not all 79 members of the LGBT Equality Caucus are fully on board with the program of actual LGBT Equality, muting the caucus’ effect.

Let’s take a look at support within the caucus for four bills currently before the 111th Congress:

1. H.R. 1024, a bill to remove discrimination against same-sex couples in immigration law. Foreigners heterosexually married to citizens have a special priority in gaining immigration, one legally unavailable to same-sex couples. The Uniting American Families Act would end this status discrimination by amending various the immigration laws that discriminate against same-sex couples when one member of a couple is a citizen or permanent resident and the other is seeking citizenship or residency status.

2. H.R. 1283, a bill to end the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy of official discrimination against gays and lesbian in the military, the one that supposes American soldiers can stand up to enemy bullets and bombs but faint at the idea of fairies in the flight corps.

3. H.R. 2517, a bill to provide federal spousal benefits to same-sex domestic partners of federal employees.

4. H.Res. 433, a symbolic bill to recognize and commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall social movement.

Complete Cosponsors: The following members of the LGBT Equality Caucus have sponsored or cosponsored each one of the four gay-friendly index bills before the 111th Congress. If one of these members is your representative, call with sincere, hearty thanks for his or her diligence:

Rep. Tammy Baldwin. Contact Phone: 608-258-9800
Rep. Shelley Berkley. Contact Phone: 702-220-9823
Rep. Susan Davis. Contact Phone: 619-280-5353
Rep. William Delahunt. Contact Phone: 800-870-2626
Rep. Keith Ellison. Contact Phone: 612-522-1212
Rep. Barney Frank. Contact Phone: 508-999-6462
Rep. Raul Grijalva. Contact Phone: 520-622-6788
Rep. Luis Gutierrez. Contact Phone: 773-342-0774
Rep. Alcee Hastings. Contact Phone: 561-684-0565
Rep. Rush Holt. Contact Phone: 609-750-9365
Rep. Steve Israel. Contact Phone: 631-951-2210
Rep. Doris Matsui. Contact Phone: 916-498-5600
Rep. James Moran. Contact Phone: 703-971-4700
Rep. Jerrold Nadler. Contact Phone: 718-373-3198.
Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton. Contact Phone: 202-783-5065
Rep. Jared Polis. Contact Phone: 303-484-9596
Rep. Linda Sanchez. Contact Phone: 562-860-5050
Rep. Janice Schakowsky. Contact Phone: 847-328-3409
Rep. Nydia Velazquez. Contact Phone: 212-673-3997
Rep. Henry Waxman. Contact Phone: 323-651-1040
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Contact Phone: 954-437-3936

One Bill Unsupported: The following members of the LGBT Equality Caucus are on record supporting most of the gay-friendly slate of bills, but there’s one piece of the agenda on which they’re silent. Is your representative on this list? Make a call today and ask for that one more sign of support.

Rep. Howard Berman. Contact Phone: 818-994-7200. Uncosponsored: H.Res. 433
Rep. Lois Capps. Contact Phone: 805-546-8348. Uncosponsored: H.Res. 433
Rep. Michael Capuano. Contact Phone: 617-621-6208. Uncosponsored: H.Res. 433
Rep. Andre Carson. Contact Phone: 317-283-6516. Uncosponsored: H.Res. 433
Rep. Yvette Clarke. Contact Phone: 718-287-1142. Uncosponsored: H.Res. 433
Rep. Joseph Crowley. Contact Phone: 718-320-2314. Uncosponsored: H.Res. 433
Rep. Peter DeFazio. Contact Phone: 541-440-3523. Uncosponsored: H.Res. 433
Rep. Diana DeGette. Contact Phone: 303-844-4988. Uncosponsored: H.Res. 433
Rep. Eliot Engel. Contact Phone: 718-796-9700. Uncosponsored: H.Res. 433
Rep. Anna Eshoo. Contact Phone: 650-323-2984. Uncosponsored: H.Res. 433
Rep. Bob Filner. Contact Phone: 619-422-5963. Uncosponsored: H.Res. 433
Rep. Jane Harman. Contact Phone: 310-549-8282. Uncosponsored: H.Res. 433
Rep. Dennis Kucinich. Contact Phone: 216-228-8850. Uncosponsored: H.Res. 433
Rep. Nita Lowey. Contact Phone: 914-428-1707. Uncosponsored: H.Res. 433
Rep. Carolyn Maloney. Contact Phone: 718-932-1804. Uncosponsored: H.Res. 433
Rep. Jim McDermott. Contact Phone: 206-553-7170. Uncosponsored: H.Res. 433
Rep. James McGovern. Contact Phone: 508-460-9292. Uncosponsored: H.Res. 433
Rep. Mike Quigley. Contact Phone: 773-267-5926. Uncosponsored: H.R. 1024
Rep. Steven Rothman. Contact Phone: 201-646-0808. Uncosponsored: H.Res. 433
Rep. Jose Serrano. Contact Phone: 718-620-0084. Uncosponsored: H.Res. 433
Rep. Brad Sherman. Contact Phone: 818-501-9200. Uncosponsored: H.Res. 433
Rep. Pete Stark. Contact Phone: 510-494-1388. Uncosponsored: H.Res. 433
Rep. Betty Sutton. Contact Phone: 330-865-8450. Uncosponsored: H.Res. 433
Rep. Anthony Weiner. Contact Phone: 718-743-0441. Uncosponsored: H.Res. 433
Rep. Peter Welch. Contact Phone: 888-605-7270. Uncosponsored: H.Res. 433
Rep. Robert Wexler. Contact Phone: 561-988-6302. Uncosponsored: H.Res. 433
Rep. Lynn Woolsey. Contact Phone: 707-542-7182. Uncosponsored: H.Res. 433
Rep. David Wu. Contact Phone: 800-422-4003. Uncosponsored: H.Res. 433

Two Bills Unsupported: These members of the LGBT Equality Caucus are only half there when it comes to LGBT rights, supporting just two out of the four bills that mark friendship to the cause of same-sex equality. Get on the horn and ask these folks to step up:

Rep. Neil Abercrombie. Contact Phone: 808-541-2570. Uncosponsored: H.R. 2517, H.Res. 433
Rep. Timothy Bishop. Contact Phone: 631-696-6500. Uncosponsored: H.R. 2517, H.Res. 433
Rep. Earl Blumenauer. Contact Phone: 503-231-2300. Uncosponsored: H.R. 2517, H.Res. 433
Rep. Rosa DeLauro. Contact Phone: 203-562-3718. Uncosponsored: H.R. 2517, H.Res. 433
Rep. Phil Hare. Contact Phone: 309-793-5760. Uncosponsored: H.R. 2517, H.Res. 433
Rep. Mazie Hirono. Contact Phone: 808-541-1986. Uncosponsored: H.R. 2517, H.Res. 433
Rep. Michael Honda. Contact Phone: 408-558-8085. Uncosponsored: H.R. 2517, H.Res. 433
Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee. Contact Phone: 713-227-7740. Uncosponsored: H.R. 2517, H.Res. 433
Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson. Contact Phone: 214-922-8885. Uncosponsored: H.R. 2517, H.Res. 433
Rep. Patrick Kennedy. Contact Phone: 401-729-5600. Uncosponsored: H.R. 1024, H.Res. 433
Rep. Barbara Lee. Contact Phone: 510-763-0370. Uncosponsored: H.R. 2517, H.Res. 433
Rep. John Lewis. Contact Phone: 404-659-0116. Uncosponsored: H.R. 2517, H.Res. 433
Rep. Zoe Lofgren. Contact Phone: 408-271-8700. Uncosponsored: H.R. 1024, H.Res. 433
Rep. Carolyn McCarthy. Contact Phone: 516-739-3008. Uncosponsored: H.R. 2517, H.Res. 433
Rep. Bill Pascrell. Contact Phone: 973-523-5152. Uncosponsored: H.R. 2517, H.Res. 433
Rep. Chellie Pingree. Contact Phone: 207-774-5019. Uncosponsored: H.R. 2517, H.Res. 433
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. Contact Phone: 305-668-2285. Uncosponsored: H.R. 1024, H.Res. 433
Rep. Joe Sestak. Contact Phone: 610-892-8623. Uncosponsored: H.R. 1024, H.Res. 433
Rep. Jackie Speier. Contact Phone: 650-342-0300. Uncosponsored: H.R. 2517, H.Res. 433
Rep. Ellen Tauscher. Contact Phone: 707-428-7792. Uncosponsored: H.R. 2517, H.Res. 433
Rep. Edolphus Towns. Contact Phone: 718-272-1175. Uncosponsored: H.R. 2517, H.Res. 433
Rep. Niki Tsongas. Contact Phone: 978-681-6200. Uncosponsored: H.R. 2517, H.Res. 433

Three Bills Unsupported: Oh, really now. These members of Congress may call themselves members of the LGBT Equality Caucus. They may say they support equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans. But they’re all talk. When it comes to action, they might as well sign up for the Moral Majority Caucus, because they’re pretty darned inactive. If the following Representatives wish to keep some semblance of standing with the queer community, they’d better do better than this. Pick up your phone today and ask what gives. Then let them know, with specificity, which bills they ought to be supporting.:

Rep. Robert Andrews. Contact Phone: 856-546-5100. Uncosponsored: H.R. 1024, H.R. 2517, H.Res. 433
Rep. Xavier Becerra. Contact Phone: 213-483-1425. Uncosponsored: H.R. 1283, H.R. 2517, H.Res. 433
Rep. Robert Brady. Contact Phone: 610-874-7094. Uncosponsored: H.R. 1024, H.R. 2517, H.Res. 433
Rep. Kathy Castor. Contact Phone: 813-871-2817. Uncosponsored: H.R. 1024, H.R. 2517, H.Res. 433
Rep. Charles Gonzalez. Contact Phone: 210-472-6195. Uncosponsored: H.R. 1024, H.R. 2517, H.Res. 433
Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy. Contact Phone: 614-294-2196. Uncosponsored: H.R. 1024, H.R. 2517, H.Res. 433
Rep. Patrick Murphy. Contact Phone: 215-826-1963. Uncosponsored: H.R. 1024, H.R. 2517, H.Res. 433
Rep. Frank Pallone. Contact Phone: 732-249-8892. Uncosponsored: H.R. 1024, H.R. 2517, H.Res. 433

Newness to the Congress is no excuse. Mike Quigley was just elected to Congress in a special election in the middle of last month, and he’s on board with the LGBT Equality agenda to an impressive extent. On the other hand, my representative for the 15th District of Ohio, Mary Jo Kilroy, is in that last list. What a disappointment.

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