California representative Alan Lowenthal is believed to be the first member of Congress to present a gay pride flag outside his office, as it was placed out in the hallway of his Cannon House Office building headquarters the same day that Proposition 8 was challenged in the Supreme Court.
Congress members have permanent fixtures outside each office to accommodate three flags. Two spaces are reserved for the American flag and the member's state flag, and the third slot is often used for a personal selection of the member. Both the offices of the Architect of the Capitol and the House Historian believe that this is the first time a member of Congress has formally displayed a pride flag in one of those spaces.
In a statement late Tuesday afternoon, Lowenthal said that Proposition 8 and the so-called Defense of Marriage Act are "oppressive and regressive policies that label a large group of my constituents as second-class citizens and deny hardworking Americans the freedom to love and marry whomever they choose. It should not take a Supreme Court Justice to prove that love is love."
Lowenthal, whose district includes parts of southern Los Angeles, said he was displaying the flag not only in solidarity with his gay constituents, but for all LGBT Americans.
"If flying the Pride flag outside my office can make one person stop and think about the advancements that are needed in our country, then that is a victory."