Gay advocates often claim that lesbian and gay people should be considered a "suspect class" that deserve strict scrutiny. One of the criteria used to determine whether a class of people qualify for this designation is if they are widely considered to be "politically powerless".
Rep. Tina Kotek of Oregon will become the first out lesbian to lead a state legislative chamber after being elected House Speaker by her Democratic colleagues Thursday.
The Associated Press reports on the vote, which needs to be formally ratified in January. Kotek told the AP that she knows her success as an openly lesbian official has inspired other LGBT people.
"We all look for people out there who look like us," she said. "I have had emails and text messages from people who are very excited."
Openly gay leaders will control legislative chambers in five states, according to the AP, up from two before the election last week. -- The Advocate