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First openly gay state lawmakers sworn in to Florida legislature

First openly gay state lawmakers sworn in to Florida legislature

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Newly elected Florida State Representatives David Richardson (D-Miami Beach) and Joe Saunders (D-Orlando) took their oaths of office Tuesday, becoming the first openly gay state lawmakers elected to the Florida state legislature.

Rep. Joe Saunders (left) was accompanied by his partner Donald Rupe.
via: Facebook

“Standing there with him was a dream realized and a memory I’ll have for the rest of my life,” Saunders told the Orlando Sentinel. Florida has never had an open LGBT Legislator.

Rep. David Richardson.
via: Facebook

Michael Kenny, Executive Director of Florida Together, a statewide LGBT advocacy coalition commented:

“For the first time in the history of our state – we have an openly gay State House Representatives. David Richardson will not only be representing the residents of State House District 113 in Miami Dade County – he will be the voice for all of Florida’s LGBT residents.”


“Congratulations to Joe Saunders on his victory as State Representative in District 49. There is no doubt that the people of Florida will be well served by Joe Saunders being in the legislature.”

“Before you can participate in the conversation, change hearts and minds, and impact policy, you must first have a seat at the table. Until today, LGBT Floridians were shouting from the spectators section.”

Saunders and Richardson took their oath along with more than 50 state legislators in the capitol building in Tallahassee.

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