Yesterday, I wrote about a Utah state representative who is lesbian and acting as surrogate mother for a gay couple. What I thought was interesting was that she was one of three openly gay legislators in that very red state. Yet Texas has none. How are other states doing?
According to the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, 79 LGBT legislators serve in state houses across the country. Here are some of the stats I came up with:
28 states have at least one LGBT legislator.
The state with the most is no surprise: Massachusetts has six. Marriage equality. Sky not fallen. Even has an openly gay Republican running for lieutenant governor. Elaine Noble was the first open gay or lesbian elected to a state legislature in the United States. In 1975, she was elected to the Massachusetts State House.
States with five LGBT legislators are mostly no surprise: Arizona, Connecticut, New York, Vermont, Washington state. Connecticut and Vermont have marriage equality. Washington has an equality law that gives domestic partners everything that marriage does, but with a different name. New York recognizes marriages performed elsewhere. Arizona is a purple state. John McCain is one of their senators. Republican John Kyl is the other. But Janet Napolitano was their governor and now serves in Obama’s cabinet. It’s only only state to have had three women governors in a row. (Jane Hull preceeded Napolitano and Jan Brewer is the current governor).
Three states have four LGBT legislators: California, Maryland and New Hampshire. New Hampshire has marriage equality. California has thousands of legally married couples and Prop. 8 currently is tied up in court. Maryland does not ban marriage equality and they tried but failed to pass it last session.
In addition to Utah, Rhode Island has three gay legislators. Despite a governor who killed marriage equality last year and vetoed a bill that would allow gays or lesbians to make funeral arrangements for their partners, the state is generally very blue. The legislature overrode the governor’s veto and the mayor of Providence is also gay.
Texas? Glen Maxey was one of the first openly gay state legislators nationally. But since he left office, we’ve had none.