HRC Blog

Republican Congresswoman Showcases Support for Equality

The following post is from Pete Webb, a member of HRC’s Board of Governors in New York City:

I recently had a wonderful opportunity to meet a true champion for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality during her visit to New York City. I attended a reception honoring Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) who has long been a crucial Republican voice for equality in Congress. I proudly shared a few words of thanks for her leadership on recent pro-equality legislation.

The event highlighted the Congresswoman’s work and commitment to LGBT equality, and Rep. Ros-Lehtinen expressed her thanks for the work of the Human Rights Campaign and other community organizations.

Ros-Lehtinen voted for the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr., Hate Crimes Prevention Act and for repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”  She is the lead Republican sponsor in the House of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and the Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen is also the only Republican cosponsor of the Respect for Marriage Act (RMA), which would repeal the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act.

“Getting the federal government out of playing favorites when it comes to marriage shouldn’t be a partisan issue. Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen is a longstanding advocate for our equality and has shown today that respect for our community, and our marriages, is a mainstream and bipartisan principle," said HRC President Joe Solmonese in September 2011 when Ros-Lehtinen signed on as a co-sponsor of the RMA in the House. Those words describe her zeal and mission for equality. I firmly believe that we will only achieve full equality with the support of fair-minded Democrats and Republicans.

Thank you, Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen, for standing up for freedom and equality.

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