Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi has been one of the biggest supporters of new Assembly Speaker John Perez. When it comes to defending the rights of gays and lesbians she ranks quite high, which makes it odd she would second the nomination of Perez by side-stepping the historical significance of being the first openly-gay speaker in state history.
Instead, Hayashi made perfunctory references to other great firsts in recent state and national history. The election of the first American-American President–check. The first African-American woman speaker of the assembly in California history, Karen Bass–check. Hayashi even notes she is the first in her family to attend college, but could not state the obvious–Perez is the state’s first gay speaker.
This is the best she could do:
He is someone who will continue to inspire others to help people and improve society, which is why all of us are here in the Capitol. As he has done throughout his life, he will carry out his duties with dignity and strength, and champion our values and issues with much success.
A clearer recognition of Perez’s place in state history may have been in order since Republicans eschewed tradition and voted along partisan lines. Capitol Weekly reports many Democrats believe Perez’s sexual orientation was the reason Republicans voted against his speakership.
Note: A correction was made to this article. Assemblywoman Karen Bass is the first African-American woman speaker of the assembly.
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