Gay Republicans Mourn Senator John Chafee (R-RI)

A Champion of Equal Rights and an Inclusive GOP Passes Away

October 25, 1999 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Tumblr

(WASHINGTON, DC) – The nation's largest gay Republican organization mourned the death of U.S. Senator John Chafee (R-RI), who died last night of heart failure at Bethesda Naval Hospital outside Washington. He was 77 years old.

"Senator Chafee was a strong Republican voice for individual rights and equality in the United States Senate for almost a quarter century," said Rich Tafel, executive director of Log Cabin Republicans. "He was never afraid to speak his mind and stand up for his beliefs, and was a strong supporter of our community long before most of his colleagues in either party. We will miss him, and we look forward to seeing his successor carry on his legacy in the Senate."

Senator Chafee announced he would retire in 2000 after 23 years in the United States Senate representing Rhode Island. His son, Lincoln, is running to succeed him in next year's election. Senator Chafee was an original co-sponsor of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and previous federal gay rights laws, as well as the Ryan White CARE Act and nearly every other Senate bill of importance to gay Americans.