Thursday, February 11, 2010

Rhode Island Elects Openly Gay (and Black) House Speaker

Now there are two! Two openly gay, people of color who are the elected heads of state legislative bodies, that is. Earlier this year, MadProfessah's friend John Pérez was elected by the California Assembly Democratic caucus to become the first openly gay, Latino head of a state legislative body (and second openly gay person in history, following Minnesota's Allan Spears).

Now, Gordon Fox, has been elected Speaker of the House in Rhode Island. From the Providence Journal's blog:
Gordon D. Fox was elected as the state's first black and openly gay House Speaker, moments after West Warwick Democrat Willliam J. Murphy relinquished the helm on Thursday.

Fox was elected House Speaker with 51 votes; another 14 went to Rep. Gregory Schadone, D-North Providence, and five to House Minority Leader Robert Watson, R-East Greenwich.

He was sworn in by William R. Guglietta, chief magistrate of the state's Traffic Tribunal.

In his first speech from the rostrum, Fox told colleagues "change is absolutely necessary. We cannot continue [to conduct] business as usual. We must think anew and act anew.''

Fox is the 222nd Speaker in the history of Rhode Island. Rod 2.0 points out that Fox is in a long-term relationship but not married, since Rhode Island and Maine are the only two states in New England where marriage equality is not the law of the land (yet!):
Fox said in an interview with The Providence Journal that he is "in a long-term relationship, but not officially married. ... When I get married, I would like to do it in my home state." Rhode Island and Maine are the only New England states that have not approved marriage equality. Fox says he is "reluctant" to make a commitment to bring the issue to the House floor for a vote after Murphy leaves. Rhode Island's anti-gay Republican governor Donald Carcieri has tried to block even basic rights for LGBT couples.

Fox is biracial—his father is Irish, his mother Cape Verdean—and considers himself black. He does so, the Providence Journal writes, because he hopes to be a role model for black youngsters and black gay youth.
An example of another multiracial politician who is succeeding in America, but who identifies with the marginalized parts of his identity. I also find it fascinating that the two openly gay Speakers of the House currently serving are both people of color.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very Interesting!
Thank You!

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