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Gay Lawmaker David Cicilline Announces Resignation From Congress

Gay Lawmaker David Cicilline Announces Resignation From Congress

David Cicilline

Cicilline has served since 2011.

Democratic U.S. Rep. David Cicilline of Rhode Island announced he will leave Congress in June.

The out congressman has served since 2011. He will leave Capitol Hill to head the Rhode Island Foundation as president and CEO.

“For more than a decade, the people of Rhode Island entrusted me with a sacred duty to represent them in Congress, and it is a responsibility I put my heart and soul into every day,” Cicilline said in a prepared statement. “The chance to lead the Rhode Island Foundation was unexpected, but it is an extraordinary opportunity to have an even more direct and meaningful impact on the lives of residents of our state.”

Cicilline was the fourth out gay person ever elected to Congress, and before that was the first gay man elected as mayor of a state capitol, leading Providence, R.I., from 2003 to 2011.

“In my 12 years in the House of Representatives, we have seen significant advancements in LGBTQI+ rights – the repeal of ‘don't ask, don't tell,’ the landmark Bostock decision to protect individuals from employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, the signing of the Respect for Marriage Act into law, and the election of LGBTQI+ individuals at all different levels of government," Cicilline told The Advocate in a statement. "As schools try to ban books about our existence and states try to pass laws restricting our identities, with LGBTQI+ youth struggling through an unprecedented mental health crisis and violence against our community is on the rise, the fight for LGBTQI+ rights is far from over. It has been an honor and a privilege being a leader in this fight and seeing the progress we have made.

"We now have a record-breaking number of LGBTQI+ Members of Congress and candidates are being elected at all levels of government. This representation is key as our work continues. We cannot and will not stop until every person in this country can be free to live as they are.”

Over more than a decade in the U.S. House, Cicilline saw a dramatic expansion in LGBTQ+ rights that included a Supreme Court ruling making marriage equality the law of the land, something later codified by Congress. But he also leaves amid a new assault from the far right on LGBTQ+ Americans in the name of parents’ rights despite sometimes targeting even the parents of queer Americans.

Cicilline last fall led a charge in the House urging President Joe Biden to request sufficient funding in the next fiscal year's budget to promote LGBTQ+ rights globally. He also pushed in the last Congress for a transgender bill of rights. Cicilline introduced the Equality Act, legislation that would add LGBTQ+ protections to the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

“Congressman Cicilline is a tireless champion for the LGBTQI+ community. Our community has greatly benefited from his leadership, including his work as the lead sponsor of the Equality Act, and the victories he has secured on our behalf,” said Equality Caucus Chair Rep. Mark Pocan, a Democrat from Wisconsin. “David represents his district honorably. He is a mentor to many of our LGBTQI+ Co-Chairs and has become a close friend and colleague of mine during our time in Congress. I will miss serving with him, but I look forward to seeing all the great work he will continue to do for the people of Rhode Island in his new role with the Rhode Island Foundation.”

“As one of the longest-serving openly LGBTQ+ members of Congress, David Cicilline has used elected office to advance equality and ensure our community has a seat at the table,” read a tweet from the Human Rights Campaign. “Thank you for everything you have done, Rep. Cicilline.”

The congressman’s work has not been limited to the fight for equality, and he served as an impeachment manager during the second impeachment of former President Donald Trump after the presidential loser incited a riot to delay certification of Joe Biden’s victory.

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