Human Rights Campaign Salutes Retiring Rep. Jim Kolbe

by HRC Staff

'Congressman Kolbe's remarkable career of public service inspired millions of people across the nation,' said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese.

WASHINGTON - Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese released the following statement today following the announcement that Rep. Jim Kolbe, R-Ariz., is retiring from Congress. Kolbe is currently the only Republican member of Congress to serve as openly gay.

"Congressman Kolbe's remarkable career of public service inspired millions of people across the nation. Together with openly gay Representatives Tammy Baldwin and Barney Frank, he sends a message of hope to GLBT young people that any American can achieve their dreams regardless of their sexual orientation.

"At a time when equality can spark fierce partisan battles, Jim Kolbe continues to prove that fairness for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans has no party boundary. He made history in 2000 as the first openly gay speaker at the Republican National Convention. His continued leadership is paving the way for more fair-minded Americans to be open and honest.

"Among his many accomplishments, Congressman Kolbe was instrumental in overturning the ban on domestic partner benefits for District of Columbia government employees and in the mid-1990s he led the bipartisan effort to preserve President Clinton's sexual orientation non-discrimination policy for federal workers. We are proud of our years working with him in Congress and salute his service to this country."

The Human Rights Campaign is the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender political organization with members throughout the country.It effectively lobbies Congress, provides campaign support and educates the public to ensure that LGBT Americans can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.

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