PHOENIX — Openly bisexual Arizona state Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-Phoenix) has announced she’s resigning her Senate seat to launch a campaign for U.S. House, representing Arizona’s newly drafted Ninth Congressional District.
Sinema would be the first out, bisexual member of Congress — in previous legislative races, she has been endorsed by the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, an organization that works to elect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
“I will fight for the forgotten middle class and stand up to a system that is rigged against them,” Sinema said.
Born to conservative Republican parents in Tucson, Sinema, 35, graduated from Brigham Young University at the age of 18, and after working for a nongovernmental organization in Kenya, she moved to Phoenix to work as a public school social worker. She went on to earn a master’s degree in social work and later a law degree, both from Arizona State University.
In 2006, Sinema chaired Arizona Together, the statewide campaign that defeated Proposition 107, which would have banned the recognition of same-sex marriage and civil unions in Arizona — Sinema reportedly raised $2.5 million toward the effort, according to Roll Call.
In 2008, she also led the campaign against Proposition 102, a more narrow version of Proposition 107 that exclusively targeted same-sex marriage. Proposition 102 was approved by 56 percent of voters in the general election on Nov. 4, 2008, and amended the Arizona state constitution to define marriage as “only a union of one man and one woman.”