Why Texas needs an LGBT legislator

Posted on 29 Apr 2010 at 6:53am
Rep. Deborah Mell
Rep. Deborah Mell

Deborah Mell, 41, is an Illinois legislator.

This week, she got up on the House floor and announced her engagement to her girlfriend. From The Chicago Sun-Times:

“I know our governor and many of you on both sides of the aisle do not consider me equal to you and our relationship equal to the relationship you share with your spouse,” Mell said. “I think we are more alike than we are different.”

Other legislators got up to congratulate her and others applauded.

But they’ll get married in Iowa because Illinois does not have marriage equality.

According to the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, no state has passed significant pro-equality legislation without an openly LGBT legislator. Texas has had only one, Rep. Glen Maxey, who served from 1991 until 2003. In 2001, Maxey helped pushed through the James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Act, the only signficant pro-equality legislation in the state’s history.

Mell’s announcement hit home in the Illinois House chamber. Now let’s see if her colleagues do anything about it.

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