GERRY STUDDS, Democratic Congressman from Massachusetts deid (b. 1937) the first openly gay national politician in the U.S. In 1983 he was censuredby the House of Representatives after he admitted to having had an affair with a 17-year-old page in 1973. Studds was re-elected to the House six more times after the 1983 censure. He fought for many issues, including environmental and maritmeissues, marriage equality, AIDS funding, and civil rights, particularly for Gay men and Lesbians. Studds was an outspoken opponent of the Strategic Defense Initiative missile defense system, which he considered wasteful and ineffective, and he criticized the United States government’s secretive support for the Contra fighters in Nicaragua.
Studds and husband Dean T. Hara (his partner since 1991) were married in Boston on May 24, 2004, one week after marriage equality became legal in Massachusetts. Studds died in Boston, age 69, several days after suffering a pulmonary embolism. Due to the federal ban on same-sex marriage, Hara was not eligible to receive the pension provided to surviving spouses of former members of Congress upon Studds’ death.