Who is Kyrsten Sinema's ex-husband Blake Dain? A look at life of bisexual senator who is against $15 minimum wage
Sinema represented Arizona's 9th district as a Congresswoman in 2013, before being elected to the Senate in 2019
Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema is currently making news for her controversial support for the filibuster in the Senate. The first openly bisexual member of Congress has a long history of defying the norm, growing up homeless after her parents divorced. She famously lived at an abandoned gas station as a child, before moving into a house thanks to the help of a church. Sinema is also well known for not following any religion -- at her swearing-in, she took the oath on a copy of the Constitution rather than the Bible.
Interestingly, at her Congressional swearing-in, Sinema took the oath alone. She was not accompanied by her family, as is custom for most Senators. It is just one of the many things different about Sinema. She came out as bisexual in 2005 and has been a strong advocate of LGBTQ rights. Amongst other things, she is also known for her strong support for bipartisanship and is now trending on Twitter for her support of the filibuster. Sinema has also voiced her opposition to key pieces of the American Rescue Plan, including raising the minimum wage to $15.
Sinema's story is a fascinating one, with Anne Friedman of Elle saying, "There's much about Sinema's story that seems unbelievable." Just one of those is the story of her marriage, now ended, with Blake Dain.
Who is Kyrsten Sinema?
The Arizona Senator was born in Tuscon to a middle-class family. When she was eight, her parents divorced and she moved to Flordia with her mother and sister. They became homeless after her stepfather lost his job, forcing the family to live at an abandoned gas station. She often recounts this as a key experience, saying it motivated her to become a social worker and a politician.
A few years later the family's fortunes changed, and Sinema was able to graduate school at 16. She then attended Brigham Young University (BYU) in Utah, where she got a bachelors' degree in social work. Sinema went on to get a masters' degree in social work from Arizona State University in 1999, and also has a PhD. She started out as a social worker for a low-income elementary school in Pheonix. According to the Elle biography, "In 2000, her school district's budget was on the chopping block, and her fellow social workers nominated her to go to the state capitol to fight the cuts." It was at that moment she decided to run for office.
She lost her first election running as an independent. In the next cycle, she registered as a Democrat and became Arizona's youngest lawmaker. Sinema then went on to represent Arizona's 9th district as a Congresswoman in 2013, before being elected to the Senate in 2019.
Who is Blake Dain?
According to a biography by AZ Central, Sinema met Dain when the duo was studying at BYU. Dain was reportedly several years senior to her. Sinema has never publicly spoken about her marriage, so there is almost nothing we know about Dain. Sinema is famously tight-lipped about her private life. When asked by Friedman about her personal life, she replied, "I don't really think that's any of your business. Not a lot of people ask young men in politics."
Sinema has never mentioned Dain or her marriage, so there is no word on whether the two were indeed married, or just dating. We also don't know if her relationship with Dain led her to discover her bisexuality, or if she always was bisexual.
Support for the LGBTQ Community
Simena's declaration of her sexuality came in a rather dramatic fashion. In 2005, when she was serving in the Arizona State Legislature, a Republican colleague insulted LGBTQ people. Responding, she passionately declared, "We're simply people like everyone else who want and deserve respect." When reporters asked her about the use of 'we', she replied "Duh, I'm bisexual."
She is also a strong advocate for LGBTQ rights in Congress, despite being more moderate than some of her colleagues. In 2006, she was at the forefront of the opposition to the proposed amendment to the Arizona state constitution which would have banned same-sex marriages and civil unions. She also played a key role in 2014, when Arizona legalized gay marriage.
In 2020, she signed a letter in support of the Equal Rights Act that was sent to then-majority leader Mitch McConnell. However, her strong support for the filibuster means that it is unlikely that the act will pass.