Oct 15, 2008

Pioneering Gay Lawmaker Dies in Minnesota

Allen H. Spear died in Minnesota on October 15th of complications after heart surgery. You may not have heard of Spear, but he was ahead of his time as one of the nation's first openly gay lawmakers -- he came out in 1974 while serving as a State Senator, a post he held until 2000. At the time he was one of only two openly gay legislators in the country.

Spear served as Senate President from 1993 to 2000. He was instrumental in amending Minnesota's Human Rights Act to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation -- an amendment completed in 1993, also somewhat ahead of the times. As is the case with Del Martin, we owe a debt of gratitude to Allen Spear as a pioneering force for LGBT rights.

 

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