Voice for Equality: Patrick Kennedy

U.S. Representative Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) is serving his eighth term in Congress as the representative from the First District of Rhode Island. In June 2008, Kennedy said, "Discrimination against any individual because of their sexual orientation or gender identity is simply unacceptable. That's why I'm so proud to be a founding member of this caucus. The LGBT Equality Caucus will provide a crucial platform in our fight for comprehensive hate crimes legislation, marriage equality and an end to workplace discrimination. At this point in history, we have a unique opportunity to advance the cause of equality."

Congratulations Congressman Kennedy on being a Freedom to Marry Voice for Equality!

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Voice for Equality: Steve Cohen

When U.S. Representative Steve Cohen (D-TN) was in the Tennessee state Senate, he was the only vote opposing the constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. A staunch advocate for equal rights, he wrote in a guest blog, “American history is a study in the expansion of human freedoms. What began as equality for white, male landowners has over these centuries blossomed into a guarantee of civil rights for the poor, for women, for all races, creeds, and colors. It is the natural progression of this great expansion of freedom that equal rights now, without any further delay, are extended to the LGBT community.” Stephen I. Cohen is a Member of the House of Representatives for Tennessee's 9th District, roughly encompassing the City of Memphis. He serves on the Judiciary and Transportation committees where he is a fierce campaigner for civil liberties and human rights. Rep Cohen resides in Memphis with his cats and an enviable record collection.

Congratulations to Congressman Steve Cohen for being a Voice for Equality!

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Voice for Equality: Jim Moran

In April 2004, U.S. Representative Jim Moran's (D-VA) press secretary announced that the congressman, "...supports loving, monogamous couples getting married…"He believes that if two men or two women are in a loving relationship, who is to say they shouldn't?" (Source: Washington Blade). Congressman Jim Moran was elected to his tenth term in the U.S. House of Representatives in November 2008. He is a member of the Appropriations Committee, where he serves on the Defense, Interior and Labor Health and Human Services Subcommittees.

We salute Congressman Jim Moran for being a Voice for Equality!

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Voice for Equality: Steve Schmidt

This past Friday, April 17, 2009, Steve Schmidt, the architect of the John McCain Presidential campaign told an audience of Log Cabin Republicans, “…it cannot be argued that marriage between people of the same sex is un-American or threatens the rights of others. On the contrary it seems to me that to denying two consenting adults of the same sex the right to form a lawful union that is protected and respected by the state denies them two of the most basic national rights affirmed in the preamble of our declaration of independence – liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Schmidt joined the Bush administration as a Deputy Assistant to the President and Counselor to Vice President Dick Cheney. In 2004, he was a member of the senior strategic planning group, led by White House adviser Karl Rove, that ran President Bush's re-election campaign. Schmidt is a native of North Plainfield, N.J., the son of a school teacher and a business executive. His first campaign was handing out materials for Democrat Bill Bradley's 1978 Senate campaign. He and his wife Angela, a former Navy nurse, have two children 4 1/2 and 2.


Megan nominated Steve Schmidt to be a Voice for Equality. Thanks Megan


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Voice for Equality: David Paterson

David Paterson was sworn in as the first African-American governor of New York in March 2008, having served as Lieutenant Governor and as a New York State Senator.

He signed an executive order instructing the state of New York to recognize marriages of same-sex couples from other states and hosted a fund-raiser to oppose Proposition 8 in September, 2008. In April 2009, he formally announced plans to intreoduce legislation ending marriage discrimination in New York.

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Voice for Equality: Fabian Nuñez

A San Diego native, Nuñez started his political career as a labor leader. He was elected to represent California's 46th District in the State Assembly from 2002-2008, and he served as Speaker of the State Assembly from 2004-2008. As speaker, Nuñez co-authored the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act, which would have guaranteed marriage equality for all Californians.

Nuñez advocated powerfully for marriage equality as an opponent of Proposition 8:

"California used to ban people of different races from getting married under the law. It was wrong then and it's wrong now... Proposition 8 is a lot like that unfair ban on interracial marriage. And even though people may feel differently about marriage, everyone ought to agree that unequal treatment under the law is a bad thing."

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Voice for Equality: Jerry Sanders

The latest nomination for "Voices for Equality" is Jerry Sanders, the second-term Mayor of San Diego, California.

A former police officer and Chief of Police, Sanders was elected mayor in 2005. Mayor Sanders is active in community service, having left the police force to join the local United Way as CEO and the American Red Cross San Diego Chapter as a member of its Board of Directors.

In a now-famous 2008 speech, the former police chief tearfully explained why he supported marriage equality for same-sex couples and why it is important not to deny justice to people like his daughter, whom he loves and who is gay, and other gay members of his community.
"In the end, I couldn't look any of them in the face and tell them that their relationships, their very lives, were any less meaningful than the marriage I share with my wife, Rana."

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Voice for Equality: Dianne Feinstein

Dianne Feinstein is the current senior Senator from California (elected 1992).

A former member of the San Francisco County Board of Supervisors, she became the first female mayor of San Francisco, succeeding Mayor George Moscone after the 1978 Moscone-Milk assassinations. She was subsequently elected to two consecutive terms.
Feinstein was a leading opponent to California's Proposition 8 in 2008, recording television spots for the No on 8 Campaign: "I oppose it as a matter of equality and fairness," she said. "As a state, I believe we should uphold the ability of our friends, neighbors and co-workers who are gay and lesbian to enter into the contract of marriage."

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Voice for Equality: Nancy Pelosi

Pelosi is the current and first female Speaker of the US House of Representatives. She was the first woman to lead a major party in US Congress.

On May 15, 2008, Speaker Pelosi issued a statement supporting the California Supreme Court's decision in favor of marriage equality, calling it "a significant milestone for which all Californians can take pride." She condemned "any ballot measure that would write discrimination into the State Constitution."

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Voice for Equality: John Lewis

US Representative from Georgia since 1987, Lewis was a leader of the American Civil Rights movement and chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). In a 2003 Boston Globe opinion piece, he wrote:

"It is time to say forthrightly that the government's exclusion of our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters from civil marriage officially degrades them and their families."

Read more about John Lewis on his Voices of Equality page, including his 1996 speech before the House of Representatives opposing the Defense of Marriage Act.

Jim D. nominated Congressman Lewis as a Voice for Equality.

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