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Barney Frank's Retirement: Which LGBT Candidate Could Fill The Congressman's Shoes? (PHOTOS)

Posted: 12/06/11 05:17 PM ET

Liberal champion Barney Frank's decision not to seek re-election has been deemed a considerable blow to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights advocates, who have been quick to note that the U.S. is now losing its most prominent gay politician.

Regardless, times have certainly changed for aspiring LGBT politicos. As Mark Takano, a California-based candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives, has noted, "A former regional director of the Democratic Party here [told me], 'Your sexual orientation back in the early '90s was maybe a liability, but now it's probably an asset.'"

While that may be a slight exaggeration given the nation's heated political climate, there are a fair number of aspiring openly LGBT politicians who, like Frank before them, are willing to "stand up for the rights of LGBT Americans and [fight] to end discrimination against them" and maintain his strong progressive legacy.

Vote for the most inspirational candidate below (with special thanks to The Victory Fund for their helpful input on this piece):

Jared Polis
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The Colorado-based Democratic congressman is a big proponent of the Uniting American Families Act, which would allow a U.S. citizen or permanent resident to sponsor their same-sex partner for American immigration, a right which is currently denied. In addition, Polis -- who became Congress' only openly gay parent this fall -- is the founder of The Fearless Campaign, which aims to "revolutionize our nation's approach to six issues where special interests have blocked progress for too long: drug policy, education, food policy, immigration, internet freedom and LGBT equality," according to its website.

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Filed by Curtis M. Wong  |