June 21, 2014 | by Chris Johnson
Gay N.Y. congressman weds longtime partner

Randy Florke, Essie Maloney Florke, Sean Patrick Maloney, Daley Maloney Florke, Reinel Florke, New York, United States House of Representatives, Democratic Party, U.S. Congress, same-sex marriage, gay marriage, marriage equality, gay news, Washington Blade

Randy Florke, Essie Maloney Florke, Sean Patrick Maloney, Daley Maloney Florke, and Reinel Florke (Photo courtesy of Sean Patrick Maloney for Congress)

One of the eight openly LGB members of Congress wed his longtime partner in New York on Saturday, becoming the third member of Congress in history to be in a same-sex marriage while in office.

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.), who represents New York’s 18th congressional district in the U.S. House, wed his partner of 22 years, Randy Gene Florke, at the Church of St. Mary-in-the-Highlands in Cold Spring, N.Y. Officiating over the ceremony was Rev. Fr. Shane Scott-Hamblen.

Maloney and Florke issued a joint statement on the day of ceremony in which they described the significance of the occasion.

“Even after 22 years together, we’re overwhelmed by how blessed we feel to celebrate this special day with our friends and family,” the joint statement says. “With our three kids by our side, this couldn’t have been a more perfect day. Thank you to all our friends near and far for their love and support as we continue to fight to ensure all families can experience the joys of a lifetime commitment.”

Maloney, 47, represents the lower Hudson Valley region of New York and is the first openly gay member of Congress from the state. Florke, 51, is a real estate and design executive in New York City for The Rural Connection, Inc., which he founded in 1996.

The couple resides in Cold Spring, N.Y., and have three children, Reinel, who’s 24, Daley, who’s 13, and Essie, who’s 11.

In a 2012 interview with the Washington Blade, Maloney took credit for helping draft a New York marriage equality bill under the Spitzer administration. He wasn’t involved in the process of moving the law through passage in 2011.

Maloney weds as he faces tough re-election prospects to retain his seat because of a challenge in the centrist district from former Rep. Nan Hayworth, whom he ousted in the 2012 election.

The other sitting member of Congress in a same-sex marriage is Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), who prior to his election to the U.S. House married Philip Frank in 2006.

The first sitting member of Congress to enter into a same-sex marriage was former Rep. Barney Frank, who wed his partner Jim Ready in Massachusetts in 2012 before retiring from Congress. The late Rep. Gerry Studds also married his partner Dean Herra, but that wedding didn’t take place until 2004, which was years after Studds left office.

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson attends the daily White House press briefings and is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

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