Congress Gets 4th Openly Gay Member -- Rep. David Cicilline

January 6, 2011 /LGBT News/ Rhode Island's David Cicilline, 49, the former mayor of Providence, has become the fourth openly gay member of Congress. He was sworn in at 2:17 p.m. Wednesday as the new representative of Rhode Island's First Congressional District.

“I am thrilled to be the next congressman from Rhode Island’s First District and so grateful to the members of the LGBT community who supported my campaign,” Cicilline said on election night. “I look forward to going to Washington and fighting for the issues important to all of us — creating good jobs, protecting Social Security, working to fight global climate change and, of course, fighting for full equality for our community.”

Cicilline now joins a small group of high-profile openly gay politicians, such as U.S. Reps. Barney Frank, Jared Polis and Tammy Baldwin as well as Houston, Texas, Mayor Annise Parker.

"I have enormous respect for [each]," Cicilline said, according to Windy City Times. "They have done so much and have been the pioneers. I feel very honored to join them, and hopefully my presence here [in D.C.] will add to our success as a community and the work that still needs to be done to achieve full equality for all members of the LGBT community.

"We're continuing to make progress in our march toward full equality. We continue to make progress and, over time, we're going to, without question, reach a place in this country where there's full equality for members of our community, where we have all of the rights and responsibilities of every other person in this country.

"The repeal of DADT is really important, a very historic event. And that hopefully will set an example for other organizations and institutions that currently discriminate against people based on their sexual orientation, that is something that should not continue.

"We have work to do to pass ENDA and [on] a lot of other fronts, too. So long as we continue to push, work hard, and continue to make our case as a community then we continue to see more and more equality, and it eventually will get to the point where we've achieved full equality for our community in this country," he added.

Cicilline succeeds Rep. Patrick Kennedy, who retired. He ran in a Democratic stronghold and was a powerhouse fundraiser. According to Federal Election Commission reports, Cicilline raked in nearly $1.7 million over the course of his campaign.

He earned the endorsement of many national LGBT organizations, including the Human Rights Campaign and the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund.


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