Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Voice for Equality: Gerry Studds

Gerry Studds was a twelve-term U.S. Congressman from Massachusetts 10th Congressional District. He has the distinction of being the first openly gay American to hold federal office. Studds received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Yale University. He then worked for the State Department as a foreign service officer before helping to found the Peace Corps as an assistant to the Kennedy Administration. In 1972, he was elected to the U.S. Congress, where he was a staunch defender of maritime environments as the Chair of the House Committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries.

In 1983, he was forced to come out when implicated in a congressional page scandal. After the scandal Studds was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives six more times. He was an outspoken supporter of many LGBT civil rights issues, including HIV/AIDS funding and marriage equality. Congressman Studds married his partner of 13 years, Dean Hara, a week after marriage equality was won in Massachusetts. Just 5 months later, he suffered a fatal pulmonary embolism. Due to DOMA, Gerry’s husband Dean is unable to receive the pension provided to all other surviving spouses of former members of Congress.

**Make your NOMINATION for a Voice for Equality today!

Freedom to Marry salutes the late Congressman Gerry Studds (left) with his husband Dean as a Voice for Equality

No comments: