Wisconsin congressional members celebrate LGBT Pride


U.S. Reps. Mark Pocan and Gwen Moore, D-Wis., are recognizing LGBT Pride, ushering in June with statements celebrating the rainbow-splashed month.

Pocan, co-chair of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus, stated, “Every June, our country marks Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month, when we celebrate and affirm the rights of LGBT Americans and commemorate the hard-fought battles on our path to full equality. As we reflect on the journey we’ve traveled — the struggles, the sacrifices, the stories of love and loss that have defined a decades-long crusade for justice — we recognize the tremendous progress that we’ve achieved, and look ahead to the obstacles that remain on our path toward full equality.

“There is still much work to be done. As a co-chair of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus, I will continue to fight to ensure that all Americans, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, are treated with basic dignity and respect.

“Just this past month, my husband Phil and I were proud and excited when he received a Congressional spousal ID — the first LGBT partner to receive such a designation. Yet my husband, and spouses of LGBT federal employees across the country, are still not entitled to the same federal benefits as the spouses of straight employees. I am working to guarantee domestic partners all the federal rights and benefits of married same-sex couples — no matter the result of this month’s Supreme Court cases. We must also pass important pieces of legislation that protect our students and our workers, such as the Student Non-Discrimination Act and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. We must ensure that service members dishonorably discharged under the military’s now-repealed Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy can have their records cleared.  And we must fight to eliminate discrimination in favor of acceptance — to replace hate-filled attacks on our streets and in our schools with love and respect.

“Today, we have a country that is ready to embrace change and a new generation that demands it. So this month, let us take pride in who we are and who we love, and recommit to making our country a place that is built, as our Constitution mandates, on the fundamental tenets of justice and equality.”

Pocan has been married to his husband Phil since 2006.

Moore stated, “LGBT Pride Month is a time to celebrate the progress we have made towards achieving equality for all Americans regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. 

“I was honored last Congress to join the NOH8 campaign in support of marriage equality, reaffirming my belief that love is love. Earlier this year, I fought tirelessly to help reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) that is inclusive of all victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, including LGBT victims. Standing behind President Obama during the VAWA signing is not a moment I will soon forget. 

“This month, I am also proud to celebrate my Wisconsin friends and LGBT Members of Congress – Senator Tammy Baldwin, the first openly gay United States Senator and Representative Mark Pocan, whose husband became the first LGBT partner to receive a Congressional spousal ID. 

“Since the Stonewall riots in June 1969, we have made great progress towards securing equal rights and opportunities for all Americans. While we recognize that there is more work to be done, I encourage all people to celebrate the achievements of the LGBT community and the diversity they bring to our great nation.”

President Barack Obama issued a Pride proclamation on May 31.