WASHINGTON - Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese issued the following statement on the passing of former Congressman Gerry Studds:
"As the first openly gay member of Congress, Gerry Studds was a pioneer. And one of the many lessons he left is that one can lead an open and authentic life and do good. Gerry was one of the first to understand the fear and inequity faced by gay and lesbian service members and he worked tirelessly on their behalf. Equally important, he was beloved by the constituents of his coastal district for his advocacy on behalf of the fishing industry and the ocean environment. Gerry Studds understood that the greatest contribution he could make to his community was to do an extraordinary job, and that his why he was resoundingly re-elected time after time until he chose to retire.
"To a younger generation who did not know Gerry Studds, we have an obligation to tell a story of courage, hard work and remarkable oratory whether delivered on behalf of the fisheries or the GLBT community.
"Gerry and his longtime partner, Dean T. Hara, married in 2004, shortly after same-sex marriage became legal in Massachusetts. We extend our deepest sympathies to Mr. Hara and to the other members of the family."
The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against GLBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.
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