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Congressman Mark Pocan

Representing the 2nd District of Wisconsin

Gay, married congressman still seeks state recognition

Jun 26, 2013
In The News

As he heard Wednesday’s rulings from the steps of the Supreme Court, the sole married, gay member of Congress thought about how his own marriage remains unrecognized by his home state.

“We have to be thinking about Wisconsin and the other states where same-sex couples can’t make end-of-life decisions, can't visit hospitalized spouses [in medical emergencies],” Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Wisconsin told CNN.

Pocan, who was married in Canada in 2006, made history in early May when he secured a congressional spouse ID for husband Philip Frank.

While he witnessed another milestone for gay rights in Washington Wednesday morning, Pocan, along with his husband, will not benefit from the ruling dismantling the Defense of Marriage Act as clearly as same-sex couples residing in any of the 12 states (and Washington, D.C.) where same-sex marriage is recognized.

When his husband sustained a head injury in their hometown of Madison, Wisconsin, nine years ago, Pocan said he was lucky to have been contacted by authorities who were not legally required to do so.

“That might not have been the case in another place, another state,” he said.

But today, he said he was extremely happy after hearing the news because of what it means for same-sex marriages in California and the gay rights movement at large.

“Now, there’s not just popular support [for same-sex marriage],” Pocan said. “It’s extremely important to have the federal government recognize that, too.”