(House of Representatives - June 25, 2014)

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[Pages H5757-H5761]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []

                          NATIONAL PRIDE MONTH

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under the Speaker's announced policy of 
January 3, 2013, the gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr. Pocan) is recognized 
for 60 minutes as the designee of the minority leader.
  Mr. POCAN. Mr. Speaker, I am here today on behalf of both the 
Progressive Caucus and the Equality Caucus, as we are here today to 
talk about June being national Pride Month--Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and 
Transgender Pride Month--as we celebrate every June.
  This year has been an especially significant year. We have had a lot 
of victories. One year ago Thursday--tomorrow--is the year anniversary 
of the Supreme Court decision that ensured that people could have their 
marriages recognized by the Federal Government.
  We have also had a number of States in the last year--bringing us up 
to 19 States and the District of Columbia--where you can legally be 
married in this country and several others that have approved it, but 
are currently in the legal status, including my home State of 
Wisconsin. We have had a big year, in that Michael Sam was the first 
openly gay person to be drafted into the NFL.
  So we have had a lot of successes in the last year since our last 
Pride. We are here today to talk about that and what an important 
contribution to this country we have from our gay, lesbian, bisexual, 
and transgender citizens, but as much we have had all these successes, 
we have also had a number of projects that we still have to get done.
  Until everyone has access to full equality in this country, we have 
not provided equal treatment under the law to each and every person as 
we would expect.
  Mr. Speaker, we still have a number of States where you can be fired 
simply for being gay or lesbian. Michael Sam, as much as he has finally 
made it into the NFL, could be fired in a number of States in this 
country under the current law.
  We still have too many students and too many youth who attempt 
suicide who are bullied in school. We have to make sure they have equal 
access to a quality education, and we still have too much uneven 
treatment, depending on what State you live in, whether or not your 
family is recognized. Whether you are in Wisconsin or Massachusetts, 
the law is different, certainly, in the State level.
  We are here today to talk about the many successes we have had and 
the challenges we still yet have. I am very happy to be joined by a 
number of colleagues today, and I would like to yield, if I could, 
right off the bat, to one of my colleagues who has been an outspoken 
advocate for equality, Representative Al Green from the great State of 
  Mr. AL GREEN of Texas. I greatly appreciate your yielding the time, 
and I greatly appreciate your work in the Congress of the United States 
of America to bring equality to all persons, regardless of who they 
are, where they are from, or where they happen to be at a given point 
in time.
  Mr. Speaker, I believe that one God created all of humanity to live 
in harmony, regardless of sexuality. I believe that human rights are 
not conferred by a State. I don't think they are accorded by a 
constitution. I think that human rights are birthrights, and these are 
rights that one acquires simply by being born a child of God.
  As such, I believe that all human beings deserve dignity and respect 
and that all human beings deserve equality under the law, regardless of 
who you are, regardless of your race, creed, color, national origin, 
familial status, or sexuality.
  I believe that we, who hold ourselves out as people of goodwill, 
should do all that we can to make sure that every person on the planet 
Earth is treated fairly and with a great degree of dignity.
  To this end, I am proud to have filed in the Congress of the United 
States of America H. Res. 416, which recognizes the month of June and 
celebrates it as LGBT Pride Month.
  I am proud to say that this resolution has been cosponsored by 25 
Members of Congress, including all seven cochairs of the Equality 
Caucus. I am also proud to tell you that the Honorable Barney Frank, 
who was an openly gay Member of Congress and chaired the Financial 
Services Committee, is an honorary sponsor of this legislation.
  I would like to, if I may, my dear friend and brother, I would like 
to just give some indication as to what the resolution does, so that 
persons who may not be familiar, who may not have an opportunity to 
peruse certain records and documents, will at least hear some of what 
it does.
  This resolution specifically recognizes the protesters who stood for 
human rights and dignity at the Stonewall Inn, on June 28, 1968, as 
some of the pioneers of the movement.
  It celebrates the creation of gay rights organizations in major 
cities in the aftermath of the Stonewall uprising. It highlights the 
importance of the American Psychiatric Association removing 
homosexuality from its list of mental illnesses in December of 1973.
  It recognizes Elaine Noble as the first LGBT candidate elected to a 
State legislature in 1974 and Barney Frank as the first Representative 
to come out as an openly gay Member of Congress in 1987.
  It highlights the importance of the Civil Service Commission 
eliminating the ban on hiring gay persons in most Federal jobs in 1975.
  It celebrates Harvey Milk making national news when he was sworn in 
as an openly gay member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors on 
January 8, 1978.
  It praises the thousands of activists who participated in the 
National March on Washington for Lesbian and

[[Page H5758]]

Gay Rights to demand equal civil rights in 1979 and the National March 
on Washington to demand that President Reagan address the AIDS crisis 
in 1987.
  It highlights the importance of the 1980 Democratic National 
Convention, where Democrats took a stance in support of gay rights. It 
highlights the importance of the Supreme Court ruling in Romer v. 
Evans, in May of 1996, which found a Colorado constitutional amendment 
preventing the enactment of protection for gays and lesbians 
  It celebrates Vermont becoming the first State to legally recognize 
civil unions between gay and lesbian couples in 2000.
  It highlights the importance of the Supreme Court ruling in Lawrence 
v. Texas, in June of 2003, which found that, under the 14th Amendment, 
States could not criminalize the private, intimate relations of same-
sex couples.
  It goes on to do many other things, but I want to focus now on 
something that I think the resolution should do. It is my hope that I 
will live to see the day that this resolution will not only be spoken 
of in Congress in the month of June, but that it will actually come to 
the floor of the Congress of the United States of America and that it 
will pass the Congress of the United States of America because, on that 
day, we will have taken one more step toward equality for all of 
  Mr. Speaker, on that day, we will have taken another step toward 
making real the great and noble American ideal of liberty and justice 
for all.
  On that day, we will have taken a step toward making real the concept 
that all persons are created equal and endowed by their Creator with 
certain inalienable rights, among them life, liberty, and the pursuit 
of happiness.
  On that day, when we pass this resolution in the Congress of the 
United States of America, we will have said to the world that the 
United States of America understands and recognizes the human rights of 
persons, regardless of their sexuality.
  I thank the gentleman for the opportunity to give these expressions, 
and I pray to live to see the day that this resolution will pass the 
Congress of the United States of America.
  Mr. POCAN. Thank you, Representative Green, not only because you have 
been a veteran fighter for civil rights for everyone in this country, 
but I believe that is the first time that that resolution has been 
introduced in the body of Congress to recognize this month as Pride 
Month. We appreciate all the hard work you have done to make sure that 
  I agree with you. I look forward to the day that we actually get a 
chance to vote on that in the month of June and make sure we recognize 
everyone in this country, so thank you so much for your contributions.
  Mr. AL GREEN of Texas. I thank you very much, and I look forward to 
working with you and other Members of Congress to give us the 
opportunity to have a vote on the resolution.
  Mr. POCAN. Mr. Speaker, it is interesting that, when the gentleman 
talked about the historical aspect of why this month is so important, 
he mentioned the Stonewall riots.
  In fact, this Saturday--June 28--will mark the 45th anniversary of 
the Stonewall riots, which is often seen as the real birth of the 
movement for equality for the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender 
  The gentleman mentioned Harvey Milk from California, who just this 
year was recognized on a stamp by the U.S. Government, the U.S. Postal 
Service, so we can recognize the many contributions that Harvey Milk 
made for this country, so that so many people could be out and run for 
  Mr. Speaker, I like to remind people that, in my home State of 
Wisconsin, one of the things is we talk about each coast and the many 
things that have been done on our coasts for people for equality who 
are gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered.
  My State of Wisconsin--we were the State that sent the first person 
who ran out for Congress, Tammy Baldwin, to the U.S. House, the first 
person elected to the U.S. Senate, in Tammy Baldwin.
  With my election, Tammy Baldwin's, and a Republican's--Steve 
Gunderson, who came out while he was in office--we have sent more 
openly gay and lesbian people to Congress than any other State in the 
country--and that is from the heartland, the State of Wisconsin.
  So we are really proud of this entire country, from coast to coast 
and especially in the heartland. We are trying to do everything we can 
to make sure that everyone is treated with respect and dignity and they 
have the liberty to live their lives to the fullest, and that is 
exactly what this month is about.
  Mr. Speaker, I would like to yield to another one of my colleagues 
who has been a hardworking fighter on behalf of equality for every 
single person. In fact, I think he may have the distinction of being 
the first person to fly a rainbow flag outside of his office here in 
Washington, DC, have it outside of his door in his office.
  He has been a tremendous fighter from the Long Beach area of 
California and a very good friend of mine. I would like to yield to my 
colleague from the great State of California, Representative Alan 
  Mr. LOWENTHAL. Thank you, Congressman. It is an honor to be here. It 
is an honor to work with you on LGBT issues and all issues before the 
Congress, but as you point out, this is a historic time that we are 
living through.
  This month, as you point out, marks LGBT Pride Month, a time for all 
of us to come together and remember the struggles for inclusion and the 
steps we are taking together to promote equality today, tomorrow, and 
generations to come.
  Also, as you pointed out, it marks the 45th anniversary of the 
Stonewall riots in New York. The riots in June of 1969 were a turning 
point for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community and 
also for all its allies, friends, and family.
  This is a moment when the community came together and stood up and 
said no--no to intolerance, no to homophobia, and no to homophobic 
public policies.

                              {time}  1745

  So much has changed since that night at the Stonewall Inn. Today, the 
egregious Defense of Marriage Act has been overturned by the United 
States Supreme Court, and marriage equality has come to 20 States, 
including my home State of California.
  I am pleased to say two weekends ago I had the honor of being an 
affiant in the marriage of a loving couple of the LGBT community. The 
momentum for marriage equality is continuing, and we are living through 
a time when change is before us.
  As you pointed out, I was listening to the discussions before the 
United States Supreme Court on DOMA and on Proposition 8, and I was so 
caught up and offended by people not wanting to provide equality when 
they would testify before it that I said that I would fly the pride 
flag from that day forward until equality is attained by all people, 
and especially the LGBT community. And that flag still flies today. 
Although there have been great strides, equality is still not here.
  For example, there is no Federal law that explicitly protects the 
LGBT individuals from employment discrimination. Congress now has a 
unique opportunity to change that and make history. The Employment Non-
Discrimination Act, also known as ENDA, has 205 bipartisan cosponsors 
and will ban all workplace discrimination against the LGBT community. 
This bill is the next important step on the inevitable march towards 
equality, and it will change the way in which we deal with all of our 
brothers and sisters, and it will provide the dignity that the LGBT 
community deserves.
  I was pleased to hear that President Obama has indicated that he is 
soon to issue an executive order regarding LGBT discrimination, that he 
will ban all Federal Government contractors from discriminating against 
employees based on their sexual orientation and gender identity. Since 
taking office, the President has added critical protections to the 
Violence Against Women Act that protects the LGBT community and repeals 
the decades-old military policy of Don't Ask, Don't Tell.
  These are great steps, and we are living through a time of great 
change, but now it is Congress' turn to act so we can finally close 
this chapter of inequality. We must pass ENDA during the 113th Congress 
so we can take the

[[Page H5759]]

next step towards ending discrimination now and forever.
  Mr. POCAN. Mr. Speaker, I again thank the gentleman from California 
(Mr. Lowenthal). You have been an outstanding advocate for every single 
one of your constituents, including the LGBT community, and I can't 
thank you enough for all of the work you do.
  Mr. LOWENTHAL. I thank you very much.
  Mr. POCAN. As Representative Lowenthal mentioned, one of the things 
we need to get done yet is a bill called the Employment Non-
Discrimination Act, or ENDA. In 29 States in this country, you can 
still be fired simply because of your sexual orientation, and in 33 
States based on your gender identity. This is 2014. Our country has 
moved far beyond the fact that you can be fired simply because of who 
you love. In fact, most people assume this is already the law of the 
land, yet it is not the law of the land, and depending upon what States 
you live in depends on whether or not you can have discrimination 
against you. That is simply wrong.
  The ENDA bill has the support of virtually every Democrat in the 
House. Eight Republican Members have officially signed on as sponsors. 
And if that bill were to come to this floor, Mr. Speaker, there would 
be the votes to pass this bill. The problem is getting it to the floor 
of Congress.
  Right now we are not able to do that. The Republican majority has not 
allowed that bill to come to the floor, but we know and we feel 
confident that there are the votes to pass that in this House if we can 
only get it on the floor. We can join the 90 percent of Fortune 500 
companies that provide for equal treatment for their employees. And the 
fact that 82 percent of the U.S. public supports this, it is far past 
due to make sure that we protect each and every person with these 
  Another thing that Representative Lowenthal said that deserves extra 
recognition is that the Obama administration, President Obama and Vice 
President Biden, have been outspoken advocates for equal treatment 
under the law for each and every single person.
  In fact, when I think about 1 year ago tomorrow when that Supreme 
Court decision came out, I was outside the Supreme Court when the 
decision was declared. I remember going back to my office, and that day 
we were on the phone with the President and his administration telling 
us how they were going to make sure that the Supreme Court decision 
would be implemented in law as quickly as humanly possible. I can tell 
you, that has certainly happened. In fact, just last week, the Obama 
administration released a report on the implementation of the Windsor 
decision detailing exactly how Federal agencies have moved to implement 
the law, and we have had tremendous progress in virtually every area.
  While we still have some areas to move forward, specifically in 
Social Security and in veterans benefits, we are moving forward with 
that law, making sure that the Supreme Court's decision is implemented 
in the laws of the land in this country so that everyone is treated 
equally. I tell you, that President Obama and Vice President Biden have 
made it such a priority that everyone is treated with dignity and 
respect in this country has been amazing, and it is part of why we have 
the progress that we have. If only this Congress could get an employee 
nondiscrimination bill on the floor, I know this Congress would pass in 
a bipartisan way the very protections that we need. In fact, the 
President just within the last 2 weeks made sure that some of those 
protections are in place.
  The LGBT Equality Caucus has long asked the President could we 
possibly do an executive order to make sure that anyone who does 
business as a Federal contractor provides these protections to their 
gay and lesbian employees, just as should happen under the law. If this 
Congress can't act, it doesn't mean nothing should happen. If this 
Congress can't act, something has to happen to fill that vacuum. The 
White House says they will be drafting an executive order to make sure 
that any Federal contractor does not discriminate based on their sexual 
orientation. That is a tremendous step forward, but we still have to 
make sure that each and every one of those States that doesn't provide 
these protections does provide those protections under the law.

  Another area within the Federal Government where we need to do more 
is specifically on a number of bills that have been introduced by a 
number of Members from across this country to make sure that everyone 
is respected under that court decision--no matter what you do for a 
living, that you have that respect and dignity.
  The gentleman from New York (Mr. Nadler) has introduced the Respect 
For Marriage Act to ensure that those who live in States that aren't 
recognized can be recognized.
  For example, in the State of Wisconsin, my husband and I were married 
in 2006 in Toronto. My State still has hate in its constitution. By 
Federal law, we are recognized for the thousand rights and 
responsibilities that are afforded to marriage, but the 213 under State 
law are still in limbo. Despite the fact that a Federal judge recently 
ruled our marriage ban as unconstitutional, it is still back in legal 
limbo. Until that decision gets made, people who have been married, 
which is in the hundreds in Wisconsin who just got married, and before 
that hundreds and hundreds more, can still have recognition of their 
benefits so we have consistency in the law.
  There are other bills that I am going to talk about as we go through 
this hour, but I would like to yield to another one of my colleagues, 
someone who has been an outstanding Representative from the State of 
Rhode Island. First he served as the mayor of Providence, and he is an 
outstanding advocate for equality for each and every single person of 
this country, the gentleman from Rhode Island (Mr. Cicilline).
  Mr. CICILLINE. I thank the gentleman for yielding and for organizing 
this Special Order hour.
  We certainly have a lot to celebrate in terms of progress toward full 
equality for the LGBT community, and a lot to be proud of. We are now 
living in a country where, in 19 States and the District of Columbia, 
individuals are afforded full marriage equality. We have work to do 
here, as you were just mentioning, by passing the Respect For Marriage 
Act, to be sure that we repeal DOMA, and legislatively doing what the 
Windsor case requires.
  We have work to do in terms of passing the Employment Non-
Discrimination Act to ensure that no qualified worker in America loses 
his or her job because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
  I want to compliment the President on his executive order that will 
ensure that this kind of employment discrimination does not occur in 
the Federal workplace. This President has provided extraordinary 
leadership on our collective effort to bring full equality to our 
  I also want to talk about LGBT rights internationally because this is 
an issue in many places around the world where members of our community 
are subjected to imprisonment, physical violence, sometimes imposition 
of death sentences for certain criminal provisions, solely because they 
are gay or lesbian. So I think one of the things that we need to 
continue to do is promote the principle of equality around the world 
and ensure that no one is persecuted or imprisoned or beaten because of 
who they are. We are seeing in places around the world like Russia and 
other places in the world really an uptick in anti-LGBT legislation, 
anti-LGBT activities.
  So while we celebrate pride here in our country and the 
accomplishments of members of our community, we have to recognize that 
it is not the case for many of our brothers and sisters around the 
  We have made extraordinary progress, as you know. You are a member of 
the Equality Caucus. I just want to mention that we now have seven 
openly gay Members of Congress here in the United States, one Member in 
the United States Senate, so eight in total. We have for the first time 
in our history an executive director and a paid staff member who is 
responsible for helping to promote our agenda for equality for our 
community, to educate our colleagues about legislation important to our 
community, and who has really professionalized the Equality Caucus. 
That is historic progress. That would not have happened but for the 
work of a lot of individuals, a lot of great organizations, like the 

[[Page H5760]]

Rights Campaign, the Victory Fund, and others who have helped to ensure 
that members of our community are elected to public office and that the 
great Congress of the United States reflects the great diversity of our 
  You are an important cochair of the Equality Caucus, and I would say 
to the gentleman that you take on more than your share of the 
responsibility of advocating for equality for our community and taking 
a leadership role in events such as this Special Order hour. So thank 
you for the work you do in representing your constituents, and also 
bringing equality for our community.
  I think we all come here with our first responsibility to our 
constituents, and do everything we can to represent the people who sent 
us to Washington. At the same time, we come here with our 
characteristics and traits and our life experiences, and we all work 
hard to ensure that in America everyone is treated fairly and that we 
have access to the same responsibilities and privileges as everyone, 
and that is what the Equality Caucus does. I think this is a year for 
great celebration.
  I want to end by again thanking our President, who has, more than any 
President in the history of our country, helped to advance the equality 
of LGBT individuals in the workplace, internationally, and in the 
conduct of marriage by implementing the Windsor case in an aggressive 
way, and by advancing and supporting efforts to reduce bullying and 
promote respect for our community, ensuring that the LGBT community is 
reflected throughout his administration in important positions of 
responsibility. I think there is no question that President Obama will 
go down in history as the President who has done more than any previous 
President to advance full equality to our community. We should always 
be mindful of that, and I thank him for his leadership.
  With that, I thank the gentleman for yielding.
  Mr. POCAN. I thank Representative Cicilline. You are seen on so many 
issues as the point person in this Congress; specifically, making sure 
that we respect those who may be lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender 
in other countries. I think I heard a statistic this year that one out 
of six people who previously had rights lost them this year because of 
countries like Russia, India, and other countries across our globe. It 
is a real concern. While we are having progress here, it is leaving a 
lot of other people behind around the world. Thank you for all of your 
advocacy around that.
  In fact, one of those countries that is a country that has not gone 
forward in the area of equal treatment of their citizens is the country 
of Brunei. Brunei is a country that is currently part of the 
negotiations that we are having with the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a 
trade deal that is generally offered to countries that we have 
something in common with, that we want to be able to not only have 
increased trade with, but you actually want to make sure that they 
somehow reflect your values.

                              {time}  1800

  And unfortunately Brunei just recently implemented shari'a law, which 
includes the stoning of gays and lesbians, the stoning to death for 
gays and lesbians in their country. This is something that we have 
great concern about.
  There was a bipartisan letter recently signed by 119 Members of this 
body that went to both Secretary Kerry and the U.S. Trade 
Representative, Michael Froman specifically saying why are we rewarding 
something that is considered such a prize, to have status in trading 
with us as one of the countries that we are going to put into a trade 
agreement, when they have such terrible human rights conditions? 119 
people, in a bipartisan way in this body, sent that letter.
  So we are hoping that--as Representative Cicilline said, we are 
seeing us go backwards in Russia, and it looks like we may be going 
backwards in India and some other countries. Certainly, they have 
advocated the stoning of gays and lesbians. That is truly a backward 
idea and something that this country needs to do everything we can to 
change. I am glad that so many of our colleagues, in a bipartisan way, 
did that.
  Some of the other bills that Members of Congress have introduced to 
try to address some of the issues that we need to move forward on, 
Representative Titus from Nevada has introduced the Veteran Spouses 
Equal Treatment Act, specifically getting at some of the complexities 
that we haven't gotten to yet within the Veterans Administration to 
make sure that everyone has their family relationship recognized and 
that that treatment is extended to their spouses.
  Representative Walz also has Protecting the Freedoms and Benefits for 
All Veterans Act; Representative Adam Smith has Military Spouses Equal 
Treatment Act--all trying to make sure that if you serve this country 
and you are a gay or lesbian citizen, you have the same benefits and 
rights offered to your family as offered to the other members of the 
  There is also a bill Representative Ron Kind from Wisconsin has 
introduced, the Social Security and Marriage Equality Act, trying to 
address the other problem that we have within Social Security, to make 
sure that everyone has those benefits offered to their life partners, 
their husbands or wives in same sex-sex relationships. Right now that 
has not happened yet since that Windsor decision, and it needs to 
happen and we are moving forward on that.
  There is a bill that I have introduced that specifically is looking 
to--the Restore Honor to Servicemembers Act. One of the, I think, 
uglier parts of our Nation's history when it comes to treatment of 
folks who may be gay or lesbian has been the fact that we had for so 
long a policy--and previous to that, outright discrimination--against 
gays and lesbians who choose to serve this country in the military. 
Under President Clinton we implemented Don't Ask, Don't Tell, but that 
still didn't fix it so that you could serve openly in the military.
  And finally, when Don't Ask, Don't Tell was repealed and anyone was 
able to serve in the military regardless of sexual orientation, we 
found that 114,000 people since World War II in this country were 
discharged with something different than the honorable discharge they 
should have received for their service to this country because we so 
often let people go previously out of the military because they are gay 
or lesbian with a either dishonorable discharge, other than honorable, 
or some other status.
  Don't forget, a dishonorable discharge in some States is the same as 
a felony. It can take away your ability to vote; it takes away your 
ability to have veterans' benefits even though you served this country 
  There is a process now that people can get that status changed to the 
honorable status they should have received, but it is a complicated 
process. While it is in place under this current President, a future 
President could change it because it is not actually in statute. Often 
people have to go and hire a lawyer because it is a complicated 
  We have introduced a bill to make sure that we really treat all those 
veterans with the respect and honor they deserve for treating this 
country in the way they did by putting their life on the line to do 
everything they could to make sure that we have the liberty that we all 
have, that they should now have the liberty that they deserve and have 
that record changed. That is a bill that we are also trying to get done 
that we think is very important in moving forward.
  This is a historic month. When we have Pride Month, we try to 
recognize the many areas that not only have we moved forward on, but 
also what we still need to improve. I think by talking about some of 
the bills that still have to move forward to make sure that everyone 
has that equal treatment under the law--again, those things include 
equal treatment for employment, which is why we have the Employee 
Nondiscrimination Act. In 29 States in this country you can still be 
fired simply because of whom you love.
  We have too many students who are still being bullied in school, and 
the suicide rate among LGBT youth is much higher than youth in general, 
and we have to help restore that.
  It shouldn't matter what State you live in whether or not your family 
is recognized. So, if you live in Wisconsin

[[Page H5761]]

that unfortunately still has hate in our State constitution, the fact 
that I live there with my husband doesn't mean I should be treated any 
differently than if I lived in Illinois or Minnesota or Iowa, 
neighboring States that all recognize the relationships regardless of 
whom you love.
  Those are all things we still have to get done in this country. We 
need to do that in this body, Mr. Speaker, in this Congress. We need to 
get these bills to the floor and pass them and move on from what I 
think at one point in this history was a certain way to get out certain 
voters. There is a certain constituency that was built around hate. We 
need to move beyond that. I think many people have. While the 
Democratic Party certainly, I think, has been a party of inclusion and 
moved in a positive way, I think I am seeing that happen among 
Republicans, but we need to have the leadership of this House also 
  We had a Republican Member just yesterday who has been a strong 
supporter of equality for all people just win his Republican primary. 
That is important because he has been an outspoken voice for equality. 
Representative Hanna, I am glad you won your primary. You stood up for 
your values, and your constituents supported you.
  I think it is time that more of our colleagues, especially on the 
Republican side of the aisle, need to also stand up for what is right, 
because we all have colleagues and we all have constituents who are gay 
and lesbian, bisexual or transgendered. We can't pick and choose who we 
represent. You support and you represent every single person in your 
district, and when you don't support full equality, you are really not 
standing up for each and every constituent, and that is truly 
  To end, I really want to focus again on those successes. We have had 
a tremendous year. We have had so much progress from the Supreme Court 
decision exactly 1 year ago tomorrow, where we have now had a number 
of States just in the last year move towards full marriage equality, 
where we have had a country where Michael Sam could finally be the 
first openly gay person drafted into the NFL.

  We have been able to move forward in so many areas. This is because 
society has moved. A majority of people in this country support 
marriage equality. I believe the last I saw was 58 percent of the 
people. Even more important, 81 percent of people 30 and under support 
marriage equality. That is where this country is going. We want to 
treat everyone with respect and dignity and allow them the liberty to 
live their lives. Until we do that for every single citizen, we have 
not reached the goal of treating everyone with equality and equal 
treatment under the law.
  With this time that we have had, the Progressive Caucus and the 
Equality Caucus, I wanted to share some time with our members so we 
could make sure we celebrate this Pride Month and all of our 
constituents who may be gay or lesbian, bisexual or transgendered and 
say thank you for all you do. We are going to continue to fight for 
your equality, not only in this body in Congress, but throughout 
  With that, Mr. Speaker, I yield back.