The Congressional LGBT Caucus Is Now Twice As Big

The caucus is led by the six openly LGBT members of the House.

The LGBT Equality Caucus has nearly doubled its membership since last year, rebounding after losing dozens of members when it instated a dues-based membership.

Leaders of the caucus announced Tuesday that it would be starting the 115th Congress with 102 members, which is up from 53 at the beginning of the last Congress.

A demonstrator waves a rainbow flag in front of the US Capitol in Washington on October 11, 2009 as tens of thousands of gay activists marched to demand civil rights, a day after President Barack Obama vowed to repeal a ban on gays serving openly in the US military.        AFP PHOTO/Maria Belen PEREZ GABILONDO (Photo credit should read Maria Belen Perez Gabilondo/AFP/Getty Images)
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The caucus is co-chaired by each of the six openly LGBT members of the House of Representatives: Reps. David Cicilline (D-RI) Jared Polis (D-CO), Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Mark Pocan (D-WI) and Mark Takano (D-CA).

“On behalf of the co-chairs, I thank my colleagues in both parties who have joined the LGBT Equality Caucus and pledged to stand for and with the LGBT community,” Sinema said in a statement. “While we’ve made significant process in recent years, we still have more work to do and must protect the progress we’ve made. Our caucus continues to work to ensure every American has the fundamental freedom and opportunity to pursue the American Dream.”

The number of members at the start of 2015 dropped from 113 to 53 after the caucus decided to start requiring its members to pay $400 in annual dues. Dues payment for congressional caucuses isn’t unusual, but the shift resulted in a decrease of membership nonetheless.

In addition to the leadership of the out representatives, the caucus has 11 vice chairs, including Reps. Ted Deutch (D-FL), Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), Joseph Kennedy III (D-MA), Dan Kildee (D-MI), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Ted Lieu (D-CA), Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Mike Quigley (D-IL), Linda T. Sánchez (D-CA) and Adam Schiff (D-CA).

Of the 102 members of the LGBT Equality Caucus, two are Republicans, Reps. Ileana-Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) both of whom support marriage equality and are considered to be advocates for LGBT rights.

h/t: Washington Blade

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