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Louise Slaughter, Democrat and oldest member of Congress, dies at 88

Written by gaytourism

Louise Slaughter was a fierce fighter. | Photo: Wikimedia/US Congress

Louise Slaughter, a Democratic Representative from New York and the oldest sitting member of Congress, died on Friday (16 March) at 88. She served in Congress for more than three decades.

Liam Fitzsimmons, Slaughter’s chief of staff, confirmed her passing. She died in a Washington, D.C. hospital while being treated for a concussion after falling in her home.

Born in the coal mining town of Lynch, Kentucky, she went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in microbiology from the University of Kentucky and then a master’s degree in public health.

Her political career began in 1982 when she ran for the New York State Assembly. Slaughter defeated the Republican incumbent and served for four years.

In 1986, she won the midterm election for New York’s 30th District. She served in this Congressional seat until her death. She became the first woman ever to represent Western New York.

A progressive record

Slaughter used her voice and power to fight for both LGBTQ and women’s rights.

As listed on her website, she was a staunch supporter for these rights since the start. In 1996, she was one of only 67 members of Congress who voted against the Defense of Marriage Act. She supported marriage equality up to the Supreme Court’s 2015 decision and beyond. She also voted to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.

The longtime politician was also one of the original co-sponsors of the Equality Act.

The Act would add sexuality and gender identity as protective classes to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Even as Republicans block it with their own discrimination act, Democrats continue to fight to pass it.

Furthermore, she supported full adoption rights for LGBTQ people. Slaughter co-sponsored the Every Child Deserves a Family Act.

Remembering a hero

People recalled the contributions Slaughter made on Twitter. They also praised the strong advocate and ally she was.

A member of the Human Rights Campaign tweeted her accomplishments.

‘Congresswoman Slaughter was proud to be a strong champion for the LGBTQ community and was one of the earliest Members of Congress to support marriage equality,’ added HRC President Chad Griffin. ‘For three decades, Congresswoman Slaughter fought tenaciously on behalf of New Yorkers and all Americans, blazing a trail as one of the most powerful and influential women in Congress.’

People also remembered her personal victories.

And how she touched and inspired so many lives.

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