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"Diversity Is America's Strength," Out Gay Father And Congressman Tells DNC

Rep. Jared Polis asked the country to "respect my relationship with my partner, Marlon, and my role as a father to our son." Polis talked about "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and same-sex couples' marriages tonight.

Posted on September 4, 2012, at 11:12 p.m. ET

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Out gay Rep. Jared Polis, a Democratic member of Congress from Colorado, addressed the Democratic National Convention about LGBT and other issues tonight, describing diversity as "America's strength" at a convention framed by President Obama's embrace of marriage equality.

Among other areas in which he asked for mutual respect, he asked the country to "respect my relationship with my partner, Marlon, and my role as a father to our son."

Due to Rep. Barney Frank's coming retirement from Congress and Rep. Tammy Baldwin's run at the U.S. Senate, Polis will be the most senior out LGBT representative in the House in January 2013, assuming his expected re-election in November.

Tonight, Polis took up his coming role as the LGBT "elder statesman" in the House, speaking not only as an out gay representative, but also about LGBT issues.

"My name is Jared Polis, my great-grandparents were immigrants to this country," he said. "I'm Jewish, I'm gay, I'm a father, I'm a son, I'm an entrepreneur, and I'm a congressman from the great state of Colorado. But, first and foremost, I'm an American."

"Diversity is America's strength," Polis — the first out gay parent in Congress — said, of Obama's vision for "one America."

No one is "prevented from serving the country they love because of who they love," he said of the successes for LGBT people in Obama's first term. He also noted Obama's "personal support for same-sex marriage."

Not confined to LGBT issues, however, Polis also spoke about other legislative passions — including immigration reform and religious freedom.

"Yes, together we are stronger, together we are better, together we are America."