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Oregon has nation's 1st lesbian legislative leader

Associated Press
Rep. Tina Kotek, D-Portland, right, is shown with Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber at the signing of Oregon health care bills, House Bill 3650 and Senate Bill 99, in Portland, Ore., July 1, 2011.  Oregon House Democrats are expected to select Kotek as the nation's first openly lesbian speaker today, another milestone following an election that brought a series of victories to the gay community.(AP Photo/Don Ryan)

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SALEM, Ore. (AP) — An Oregon woman will be the first openly lesbian lawmaker to lead a state legislative chamber in the U.S.

Democrats in the state House Thursday night chose Rep. Tina Kotek of Portland to be the next speaker. The decision must be formally ratified in January.

Kotek's selection notches another milestone from an election that brought a series of victories to the gay community. Voters last week elected the first openly gay U.S. senator and the first bisexual member of Congress.

Kotek will be the first gay woman to get the top job in a legislative chamber.

Gay leaders will also control the House or Senate in four other states: Washington, California, Colorado and Rhode Island. The Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund says that's more than ever before and up from two before the election.

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