November 6, 2012 | by Michael K. Lavers
Gay man to succeed Baldwin in Wisconsin

Mark Pocan (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

According to the Associated Press, Wisconsin voters on Tuesday elected a gay lawmaker to succeed lesbian Rep. Tammy Baldwin in Congress.

Wisconsin State Assemblyman Mark Pocan in August defeated fellow lawmaker Kelda Helen Roys in the Democratic primary to represent Wisconsin’s 2nd congressional district that includes Madison, the state capital.

Pocan, who told the Washington Blade last November he played what he described as a key role in the extension of domestic partner benefits to state employees and the passage of other pro-LGBT measures during his seven terms in the Wisconsin Assembly, received the backing of the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund. The Human Rights Campaign and Fair Wisconsin, a statewide advocacy group, also endorsed his campaign.

“Mark Pocan is an outstanding public servant who will be a strong and authentic voice for LGBT Americans in Congress,” said Victory Fund CEO Chuck Wolfe after Pocan defeated Roys in the Democratic primary. “It’s fitting that as Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin fights to win a historic victory in the Senate, Mark Pocan will follow in her footsteps as one of the most powerful voices for LGBT equality in America.”

He told the Blade he supports repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act and the passage of both the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and the Uniting American Families Act that would allow gays and lesbians to sponsor their partners for immigration purposes.

“It’s working with the community groups in deciding what we need to move at the right time,” said Pocan, when the Blade asked him which specific bills he would pursue if elected to Congress. “Because clearly, in some congresses, you’re not going to able to move bills, you’re going to be fighting any bad legislation that could happen.”

Pocan announced his campaign to succeed Baldwin after she announced her candidacy to succeed retiring Wisconsin Sen. Herb Kohl.

Michael K. Lavers has been a staff writer for the Washington Blade since May 2012. The passage of Maryland's same-sex marriage law, the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the burgeoning LGBT rights movement in Latin America and the consecration of gay New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson are among the many stories he has covered since his career began in 2002. Follow Michael

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