Two new members of Congress were among those who spoke at a Human Rights Campaign event that took place at the Mayflower Hotel in Northwest D.C. on Thursday.
U.S. Rep. Donna Shalala (D-Fla.), who succeeds former Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, in her remarks said the Democratic-controlled U.S. House of Representatives will pass the Equality Act, which would add sexual orientation and gender identity to federal civil rights law. U.S. Rep. Greg Stanton (D-Ariz.), the former mayor of Phoenix who succeeds now U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) in the House, noted his state is turning “blueish and we ain’t going back.”
U.S. Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), who has previously introduced the Equality Act in the House, also spoke.
U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Tina Smith (D-Minn.) spoke alongside U.S. Reps. Mark Takano (D-Calif.) and Stephanie Murphy (D-Fla.). Arizona Secretary of State-elect Katie Hobbs, former Tempe (Ariz.) Mayor Neil Giuliano, Pennsylvania state Rep. Brian Sims and Arizona state Rep. Daniel Hernandez are among those who attended the event.
Nancy Pelosi was once again elected House speaker earlier on Thursday after the 116th Congress began.
“The Equality Act is on its way to passing soon and Nancy Pelosi is our speaker,” said HRC President Chad Griffin.
Takano in his remarks noted he will become the first openly LGBT person since former Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank to chair a House committee when the Democratic caucus chooses him to head the House Veteran’s Affairs Committee. Murphy, who represents portions of Orlando, pointed out she was elected to Congress a few months after a gunman killed 49 people inside the Pulse nightclub on June 12, 2016.
“Out of that tragedy, our community united behind a commitment to equality and to fighting back against hate,” said Murphy.