Hawaii's much-loved Daniel Inouye, the second-longest serving Senator, died on Monday at age 88.
Inouye succumbed to a respiratory illness; his last word was "Aloha." Inouye began his political career as one of Hawaii's first congressmen (the state joined the union in 1959) and would move on to a very successful Senate career, serving nine terms. He would become the nation's highest-ranking Asian-American politician. Previously, Inouye fought for the United States in World War II and lost an arm in battle.
As a politician, the Democrat was very supportive of LGBT rights. He voted against the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996, endorsed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, and led the charge to repeal "don't ask, don't tell." Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin released the following statement on Inouye's passing:
“LGBT Americans across this country especially honor his unequivocal support for full LGBT equality — most notably, his 1996 vote against the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act, his support for marriage equality and his co-sponsorship of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and other pro-equality legislation. Senator Inouye was a trailblazing leader and he will remain in our memories for standing with his LGBT sisters and brothers from day one. We will miss him, and every American should be grateful to have been touched by the life of this remarkable man.”