U.S. Congressmen David Cicilline and Patrick Murphy made a stop in Fort Lauderdale Friday evening, Feb. 12, speaking to a small group of donors at a local coffee shop.

 Cicilline, a Rhode Island Democrat, helped to author and introduce the Equality Act, a sweeping piece of civil rights legislation that is inclusive of sexual orientation and gender identity. An openly gay man, Cicilline said if the Equality Act is to move forward more Democrats must be elected to office.

“This election is very important,” Cicilline said. “The party in charge sets the agenda. Everything we have hangs in the balance. It is clear the Democratic Party respects our community and respects us as human beings.”

Murphy agreed and said if the wrong people are elected in November, all of the gains achieved by the LGBT community during the Obama administration could be repealed. 

“If we are really going to make a difference you gotta work,” Murphy said. “Because I can assure you our friends on the other side of the aisle are going to outspend us. We cannot let them outwork us.”

Murphy represents House District 18, a large swath of land covering parts of Palm Beach, Martin and St. Lucie Counties. The 32-year-old accountant grew up in the Florida Keys and rose out of the construction industry to defeat Tea Party Congressman Allen West in the 2012 general election.

“Patrick is a very supportive ally of the LGBT community,” said Fort Lauderdale Commissioner Dean J. Trantalis, who attended Friday’s reception. “He has been unwavering in supporting our issues. Both Patrick and David are important examples of strong leadership and balanced ideas, something Congress is sorely lacking.” 

Murphy is campaigning for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Marco Rubio, but faces a battle for the Democratic nomination from fellow congressman Alan Grayson and diplomat Pam Keith. Grayson, a liberal firebrand from Orlando, is currently entangled in scandal as the New York Times published a front page story Feb. 12 of the congressman’s management of an off shore hedge fund.

Emails obtained by the Times show Grayson boasting of capitalizing on economic and political turmoil in global markets, going as far as to urge investors to take advantage of ‘blood in the streets.’

On the same day the Times story hit the streets, Murphy was in Fort Lauderdale. When asked by SFGN for reaction, Murphy said “This sort of behavior by members of Congress that say one thing and do another is exactly what voters don’t like and it gives members of Congress or any elected official a bad name. It’s very disappointing. Voters obviously have a big decision to make here and they are going to have a very clear decision. This sort of behavior to me speaks to integrity, speaks to character.”