Skip to comments.dies at 69: First openly gay congressman fought for civil rights, environment
Posted on 10/15/2006 5:21:19 AM PDT by billorites
Former U.S. Rep. Gerry E. Studds, the first openly gay person elected to Congress, died early yesterday, several days after being hospitalized for head injuries sustained while walking his English springer spaniel, Bonnie, in Boston.
Studds, 69, who salvaged his 12-term congressional career from near ruin in 1983 over a sex scandal involving a House page, was remembered as a devoted environmentalist and inspiration to the gay community for his openness and push for equal rights.
Gerry often said it was the fight for gay and lesbian equality that was the last great civil-rights chapter in modern American history. He did not live to see its final sentences written, but all of us will forever be indebted to him for leading the way with compassion and wisdom, said his husband, Dean T. Hara, 49, in a statement.
Studds represented Cape Cod and the Islands, New Bedford and the South Shore for 24 years. He was censured by former Speaker Thomas P. ONeill Jr. before the House of Representatives in 1983 for having a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old House page.
During the scandal, Studds revealed he was gay in a speech to Congress. A month later, he stood defiantly on the House floor with his back to his fellow lawmakers as the charges were read against him during censure proceedings.
The Studds scandal recently resurfaced amid the firestorm surrounding former U.S. Rep. Mark Foley, the Florida Republican who resigned this month after news reports that he sent sexually explicit communications to House pages.
U.S. Rep. Barney Frank (D-Newton), who announced he was gay four years after Studds disclosure, said yesterday his colleague didnt let the scandal get in his way.
It was very important to see, for young people in particular, somebody as capable and talented as he be openly gay, said Frank. That gave a lot people the courage to say, I can survive this business in being honest about who I am.
Despite the sex scandal, Studds was re-elected. After his 1997 retirement from Congress he became a lobbyist for the fishing industry and environmental causes. In 1996, Congress named the 842-square-mile Gerry E. Studds Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary.
His work on behalf of our fishing industry and the protection of our waters has guided the fishing industry into the future and ensured that generations to come will have the opportunity to love and learn from the sea, U.S. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) said in a statement.
Studds, who lived in the South End with Hara, fell unconscious on Oct. 3 because of a blood clot in his lung, his husband said. Studds regained consciousness and appeared to improve until Friday, when a second clot developed.
I will always be grateful to Gerry for the life we had together, Hara, who married Studds a week after same-sex marriage was legalized here in 2004, said in a statement. We truly were blessed to have what every married couple hopes for: to spend our days with the person we love.
I guess what is good for the goose isn't always good for the gander.
Wow. I question the timing...
How sweet. How do you know who the husband was as referred to in the article. Is that a rotating position?
Nothing became him in life like his leaving it.
Blood clot in the lung. Hillary's aim is getting worse. She shot Foster in the head.
Republican writes to intern ("Evil". "Must be removed". "Criminal").
Has there EVER been a clear indicator of two different treatments of the same thing?
Rove, you magnificent b@stard!
The word "Arkanside" springs to mind.
Now why would you suspect that? After all, "head injuries sustained while walking his English springer spaniel" is a common cause of death isn't it?
He was probably expecting "head injuries sustained while loping his Arkansas mule"?
If Foley were gay, they'd throw him a parade.
was Studds pitching or catching,
when the accident occured?
"After his 1997 retirement from Congress he became a lobbyist for the fishing industry and environmental causes. In 1996, Congress named the 842-square-mile Gerry E. Studds Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary."
---- and they wonder why the fishing industry in New England is in decline.
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