GLAA congratulates Rep. Kolbe on coming out

Friday, August 2, 1996

The Honorable Jim Kolbe
United States House of Representatives
205 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Congressman Kolbe,

On behalf of GLAA, I wish to congratulate you for the grace with which you have handled a difficult personal challenge in coming out as a gay man. I have read both your statement and your brother's column, and if he is any indication you are fortunate in having such a loving and supportive family. I wish you and your family well as you go through the process of adjustment.

I recognize that the circumstances were not to your liking, and have caused some anger on your part. I would only point out that as a public official whose decisions affect the welfare of millions of citizens -- including your fellow gay citizens -- you bear a special responsibility. As a signatory to the "Call to Conscience" ad that appeared in the July 26 issue of The Washington Blade, I am one of those who cannot reconcile your vote for DOMA with your status as a gay American. Your citing of states' rights in support of your position suggests that you think our equal protection under the U.S. Constitution should be subject to a majority vote. I urge you to reconsider this position, which has the effect of rendering gay men and lesbians second-class citizens.

You appear strong enough, both personally and politically, to bear the present burden. If and when you do, your success as an openly gay representative will strike a blow not only for the moderate wing of the Republican Party, but for the cause of equality for everyone in the American family -- including gay men and lesbians. We secure our freedom best by exercising it. Whatever your present pain and shock, I have no doubt that in the long run you will view this as a liberating event. Here's hoping you enjoy your new-found freedom in our fair city, whose legal protections for gay men and lesbians -- thanks to the efforts of GLAA and others -- are among the strongest in the nation.

Regards,

Rick Rosendall, President
Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington, DC


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The Congressman sent the following reply:

To: rick.rosendall@GLAA.ORG
Comment: MEMO 08/05/96 17:29:00

Dear Mr. Rosendall:

Thank you for your message of support.

I consider myself the same congressman today that I was last week. I intend to continue working on the same issues that I have been involved with for many years.

Thank you for your comments about DOMA. However, we will simply have to disagree on this issue. Were it to come up for a vote again in the same form, I would vote the same way.

Sincerely,

Jim Kolbe
Member of Congress

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