The caucus has promoted LGBTQ rights within Congress since 2008. It was relaunched for the current session of Congress on Monday (March 11) and is co-chaired by all eight LGB Representatives: Democrats David Cicilline, Angie Craig, Sharice Davids, Katie Hill, Sean Patrick Maloney, Chris Pappas, Mark Pocan, and Mark Takano.
For the first time in Congressional history, a majority of House Democrats have joined the caucus: 18 are vice chairs and 131 are general members.
“With a record number of LGBTQ Americans serving in Congress and the LGBT Equality Caucus experiencing its largest membership in history, we are on track to make remarkable progress in the fight for equality,” said co-chair Mark Pocan. “Representation is the key to ensuring that some of the most critical issues LGBTQ Americans face are front and center, and I’m excited to have so many allies who will fight for legislation and change throughout the 116th Congress.”
While this LGBT Equality Caucus is the largest ever, not a single Republican signed on to advocate for the LGBTQ community. The last session of Congress saw two Republican members of the caucus: Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Carlos Curbelo. Ros-Lehtinen retired in 2018 and Curbelo was defeated by Democrat Debbie Mucarsel-Powell.
Despite the lack of Republican representation, co-chair Sharice Davids said that the sheer size of the caucus provides “a unique opportunity to enact real change on LGBT issues and further expand and protect the rights of the LGBT community in the U.S. and around the world.”
Co-chair Chris Pappas noted that the historic number of LGBTQ members and allies within the 116th Congress allows the Representatives to “fundamentally understand that our strength and potential as a nation is rooted in our diversity.”
“No one should be discriminated against because of who they are or who they love,” he continued, “and it is our responsibility to ensure everyone can live an open and full life.”