Kyrsten Sinema, a Democrat from Arizona who was narrowly elected this year, brings several underrepresented identities to the U.S. Congress: “secularist,” bisexual and former Mormon.
Though Sinema, 36, does not call herself an atheist, she supported many causes as both an Arizona state senator and representative — including women’s rights, marriage equality, gay rights and science education — that are important to secular humanists.
Given her voting record, the Secular Coalition for America sees her as a fitting successor to Rep. Pete Stark, D-Calif., the only openly atheist member of Congress, who was defeated in this election.
“She was able to run openly as a nontheist and it didn’t seem to be an issue,” Lauren Anderson Youngblood, the coalition’s communications manager, told Religion News Service. “That is a great thing for the community, especially because with the loss of Pete Stark, we are left with a big hole.”