At noon today in Washington, David Cicilline becomes “Congressman David Cicilline,” and just the seventh openly gay American to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives. Reps. Barney Frank, Tammy Baldwin and Jared Polis, all of whom were reelected in November, will also be sworn in to serve in the 112th Congress. All four are Democrats.
The former mayor of Providence, R.I., Cicilline is just the third openly gay candidate to be elected to Congress as a freshman. Baldwin became the first in 1998, and Polis was second in 2008. All other openly gay members of Congress came out while in office, including Frank, the late Rep. Gerry Studds, and former Reps. Jim Kolbe and Steve Gunderson.
“This is an historic day for LGBT Americans, and another step toward a government that truly reflects our country’s diversity,” said Chuck Wolfe, president and CEO of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, which endorsed Cicilline.
More than 500 openly LGBT officeholders serve at all levels of government in the U.S., up from just 49 when the Victory Fund was founded in 1991.