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Mark Pocan Announced as Chair of Congressional Equality Caucus

Mark Pocan

The Equality Caucus promotes equality for LGBTQ+ people.

The Congressional Equality Caucus announced this week that Democratic U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan of Wisconsin has become its chair for the 118th Congress.

Founded in 2008, the Equality Caucus -- formerly the Congressional LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus -- promotes LGBTQ-inclusive legislation.

The chair, who is an out member of Congress and sets the caucus's agenda, rotates every Congress between the queer lawmakers based on seniority, according to a news release. Other LGBTQ+ members of the caucus serve as cochairs.

Democratic Rhode Island U.S. Rep. David Cicilline served as the chair for the 117th Congress. He'll return to the current Congress as a cochair.

In the announcement, Pocan said that the Equality Caucus would work to defeat anti-LGBTQ+ legislation brought by "extremist anti-LGBTQI+ politicians this Congress, especially those targeting our transgender and nonbinary community members."

"We are witnessing a dangerous increase in anti-LGBTQI+ hate, legislation, and violence that we must forcibly push back against and defeat," Pocan said in the statement. "As we push back on these attacks, we will also continue to push forward a positive vision for full inclusivity and equality of LGBTQI+ people in this country."

The caucus said in the announcement that Pocan has led on legislation targeting bullying and harassment on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Pocan said that he was grateful to Cicilline for his work as the previous chair. Likewise, Cicilline said the caucus was in "great hands" with Pocan as chair, specifically pointing to Pocan's experience on the House Appropriations Committee, "fighting for inclusive government funding legislation and his recent introduction of bills to create a National Museum of American LGBTQ+ History and Culture are a testament to his dedication to being a representative for all people in this country."

The announcement also highlighted the work of the Equality Caucus in the last Congress, including passing 10 Equality Caucus-endorsed bills in the House -- of which four became law. The caucus lauded Cicilline's leadership in supporting the Equality Act, introducing the Global Respect Act, and co-leading the introduction of the Respect for Marriage Act that codified federal protections for marriage equality, including same-sex and interracial marriages, and repealed the Defense of Marriage Act.

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