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Senator Dianne Feinstein, Political Trailblazer, Dies at 90

Sen. Dianne Feinstein

The Los Angeles LGBT Center is deeply saddened by the passing of Senator Dianne Feinstein. At 90 years old, she was the longest-serving senator in California, the longest-serving female Senator, the first female mayor of San Francisco, and the oldest member of the Senate.

“Senator Feinstein shattered glass ceilings, all while championing LGBTQ+ rights as an early supporter of same-sex marriage and a lead sponsor on the Respect For Marriage Act, signed into law by President Biden in 2022. I experienced her leadership firsthand during my time at the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, witnessing her fight to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Our hearts go out to her family and loved ones at this difficult time, and our gratitude for her fight, her legacy, and her bravery will remain eternal.” Los Angeles LGBT Center CEO Joe Hollendoner said in a statement today.

Feinstein, who made history by being elected mayor of San Francisco after the assassination of Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk, had a long career in American politics. Among her legislative achievements are President Clinton’s ban on assault weapons (which expired in 2004), and the ban of certain torture mechanisms employed by the CIA in the wake of the September 11th attacks.

She also encouraged California Gov. Gavin Newsom to select Alex Padilla to fill Vice President Kamala Harris’ Senate seat when she decamped for the White House—a request he ultimately granted. The Advocate ranked her track record on LGBTQ+ issues as “positive, with some exceptions,” pointing to her opposition of DOMA and the recent Supreme Court ruling enshrining discrimination against LGBTQ+ Americans.

Senator Feinstein had previously announced her plans to retire at the end of this session after much concern and speculation over her health. She is survived by her daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter.

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