By Anna Peirano
On Tuesday, the Washington state Senate elected openly gay politician Ed Murray (D) as Senate president.
With the election, Murray becomes the second openly gay person in U.S. history to lead a state senate chamber. The first was Allan Spears who served 20 years in the Minnesota Senate, eventually leading the chamber from 1992 till 2000. Spears announced he was gay in 1974.
Murray has been a senator in Washington state since 2006, serving 11 years in the state House of Representatives before that.
He was the lead sponsor of the marriage equality bill signed into law by Governor Chris Gregoire, which remained intact after an attempted appeal during the November 6th election.
According to Chuck Wolfe, president and CEO of the Victory Fund, Murray, “…has proven that openly LGBT Americans have much to offer their communities as leaders and representatives, and his commitment to open and honest public service has set an example for LGBT youth.”
Murray joins fellow LGBT leaders such as California Assembly speaker John Perez, Rhode Island House speaker Gordon D. Fox, and incoming Colorado House speaker Mark Ferrandino. In Oregon, Representative Tina Kotek is expected to be elected as speaker of the House later this week.
On the heels of a momentous election season for LGBT equality, Murray is one of many victories, including the election of the first out U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin along with other LGBT politicians elected to office, and marriage equality wins in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington state.