Metro Weekly

Anti-LGBTQ Democratic congressman will lose his seat after successful primary challenge

U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski is the only House Democrat to oppose the Equality Act

dan lipinski, marie newman, illinois, congress

U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski — Photo: U.S. House Office of Photography/House Creative Services

A Democratic congressman with a history of opposing LGBTQ equality will lose his seat after a successful primary challenge.

U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski, whose Illinois district includes parts of Chicago, is one of the most conservative Democrats in the House, and known for his opposition to abortion rights and same-sex marriage.

However, his eight-term congressional career will finally come to an end, after he was defeated in Tuesday’s primary by a progressive challenger, businesswoman Marie Newman, Politico reports.

Lipinski voted to uphold the Defense of Marriage Act in 2011, which denied federal benefits to same-sex couples, and co-sponsored the Republican-led First Amendment Defense Act in 2015, which would have allowed businesses and individuals to discriminate against gay people based on their religious beliefs. Lipinski also co-sponsored a similar bill, the Marriage and Religious Freedom Act, in 2013.

And while Lipinski has supported legislation that protects LGBTQ people from discrimination —  including the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act and the LGBT Safe Schools Improvement Act — he is the only House Democrat not to co-sponsor the Equality Act, which would enshrine those protections into federal law.

And while Lipinski told the Chicago Sun-Times in 2018 that he supports same-sex marriage politically “because it has been declared the law of the land,” he added: “Personally, I don’t support it, but that doesn’t matter in how I vote.”

Lipinski is also a vocal opponent of abortion rights, putting him at odds not only with his colleagues in the House, but the Democratic base overall, which largely identifies as pro-choice and supports a woman’s right to choose.

Newman, a marketing and advertising executive, previously challenged Lipinski in 2018, but lost the primary by just over 2,000 votes.

On her second attempt to unseat Lipinski, Newman bested him by almost 2,500 votes, with 99% of precincts reporting.

marie newman, dan lipinski, illinois, congress

Marie Newman — Photo: Facebook

It was the result of a strong, well-funded campaign which reportedly knocked on over 100,000 doors and received endorsements from prominent progressive politicians including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot — the nation’s highest-ranking LGBTQ mayor.

“I am bursting with pride and gratitude for the amazing coalition that helped bring about much needed change in our district,” Newman tweeted after her victory was announced.

Newman is all but assured to win the seat in November, as Illinois’ 3rd district is reliably Democratic and backed former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump by 15 points in 2016.

On her campaign website, Newman explicitly notes her support for LGBTQ rights, including supporting the Equality Act, full inclusion of LGBTQ students “in all spaces and discussions,” and encouraging “awareness around the LGBTQ community through teaching LGBTQ history, culture, and sharing perspectives.”

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Rhuaridh Marr is Metro Weekly's online editor. He can be reached at rmarr@metroweekly.com.

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