Gay What ?
Rest of site back up shortly!

How did LGBT candidates fare in D.C. elections?

Phil Pannell, Ready for Hillary, Hillary Clinton, Democratic Party, LOOK, gay news, Washington Blade

Phil Pannell won election as Alternate National Committeeman as part of a slate of candidates called Ready for Hillary. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Eight gay or lesbian candidates won their races on Tuesday in the city’s primary and Democratic Party election while another eight LGBT candidates were defeated.

Among the winners were gay Democratic activist Phil Pannell and lesbian Democratic activist Courtney Snowden, who won election as Alternate National Committeeman and Alternate National Committeewoman as part of a slate of candidates called Ready for Hillary.

The two have said the slate was created to encourage former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to run for president in 2016.

Gay Libertarian Party candidates Bruce Majors, who’s running for mayor, and Martin Mouton, who’s running for the city’s shadow U.S. House seat, ran unopposed in their party’s primary. Both will be on the general election ballot in November.

Also winning was gay Republican activist and Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Marc Morgan, who ran unopposed for the Replication nomination for an at-large D.C. Council seat in November.

Six out of seven LGBT candidates that ran for seats on the Democratic State Committee as part of an insurgent slate called The Rent is Too Darn High lost their races on Tuesday. Among the losing candidates was transgender activist Alexandra Beninda, who was vying to become the first known transgender person to win election to a D.C. citywide office. Beninda was running for an at-large seat on the State Committee.

Others who ran on the ‘Rent is Too High’ slate and lost were gay or lesbian Democratic activists Gregory Cendana, Edgardo Guerrero, Nikisha Carpenter, Jessica Pierce and Andy Litsky. Lesbian Tamara Angela Ferrell was the only LGBT member of the slate to win her race in Ward 4.

Gay Democrats Ron Collins and David Meadows, who were challenged by members of the ‘Rent is Too High’ slate, won their races for State Committee seats representing Ward 6.

Incumbent gay State Committee member Bill O’Field, who didn’t run on a slate, lost his bid for re-election to the State Committee for a seat representing Ward 1.

Gay Democratic activist and former Gertrude Stein Democratic Club treasurer Barry Daneker is listed by the Board of Elections as having won an at-large seat on the State Committee on Tuesday more than a month after he announced he was leaving D.C. to take a job in Rhode Island in March. Neither Daneker nor a spokesperson for the State Committee could be immediately reached to determine whether Daneker’s election would be invalidated if he’s no longer a D.C. resident.

02
Apr
2014

Hillary Clinton’s latest title: ‘grandmother’

Hillary Clinton, Department of State, GLIFAA, Gays and Lesbians in Foreign Affairs Agencies, gay news, Washington Blade

Hillary Clinton will not give up the fight to see that women receive equal pay for equal work. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

What title could Hillary Clinton add to her resume that would make her even more appealing to voters than those she already has on her resume? That question was answered recently when Chelsea announced that she and husband Marc Mezvinsky were expecting. In the eyes of much of the world grandmothers can do no wrong.

Hillary will soon have one more person to consider when deciding whether to run for president. There will be one more generation in the Clinton family to benefit from the good she can accomplish in the world by running and breaking that last “glass ceiling” and taking the oath of office on Jan. 20, 2017. I have no doubt that Americans will stand with her and finally make the statement that women are truly equal. A statement they weren’t ready to make in the 1970s when the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to the Constitution failed to pass.

Last weekend there was a column in the Washington Post by Dan Balz, “Clinton, Warren, and a tale of two book titles.” Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) chose the title “A Fighting Chance” and Hillary’s forthcoming book is titled “Hard Choices”. Each in their own way says something about America and where we should be headed. Balz says, “Warren’s deeply personal book speaks directly to the widespread feelings of so many Americans  — across Party lines — that the deck is stacked against them.” I think that is a sentiment Hillary Clinton shares.

Warren is a gutsy academic who until 1994 was a Republican who then turned independent and finally Democratic when she realized it was the party that best represented her views even if it wasn’t perfect. Clinton became a Democrat much earlier and has toiled in the vineyards to move the party forward all her adult life. She has shared her thoughts in the book “It Takes a Village: and Other Lessons Children Teach Us” and wrote of her work in the book “Living History.” Her new book will be about her time at the State Department and how she sees the world today.

Balz wrote about what someone told him about Clinton’s philosophy and then quoted the lines Hillary herself spoke in her keynote to the United Methodist Women Assembly in Louisville last Saturday. They are words attributed to John Wesley, “Do all the good you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.”

When I hear Hillary say those words I am more convinced than ever that she believes she can still do more good and will continue to do it for as long as she can.

Hillary will not give up the fight to see that women receive equal pay for equal work. I pity the person that suggests that when elected president she should take a salary cut from $400,000 to $280,000 because she is a woman. That is about the percentage less that many women make for the same jobs men do.

I recently saw the one-woman play “Golda’s Balcony,” a tour de force with Tovah Feldshuh, in Theater J at the Jewish Community Center. It is the story of Golda Meir’s role in fighting to bring into existence the State of Israel from when she emigrated from Milwaukee to Palestine in 1921. She lived through three wars in which Israel’s neighbors tried to wipe them off the map and was Prime Minister during the 1973 Yom Kippur war.

It is the story of her humanity, her family, children and grandchildren, and the difficulty she had in balancing both along with her devotion and responsibility to the State of Israel and the Jewish people. It is the story of having her finger on the nuclear button, a capability that we now know Israel has since the French helped them build the Dimona nuclear reactor in 1964.

A discussion I had with friends about Hillary after seeing the play revolved around what it would mean to have her with responsibility for both domestic and foreign policy and she being the one with her finger on the nuclear button. We compared her to everyone else who has been mentioned as a possible presidential candidate in 2016 in this complicated and dangerous world in which we live. We all came to the conclusion that we would sleep better if she is the person in the White House.

01
May
2014

Prominent Ugandan LGBT advocate seeks asylum in U.S.

John Abdallah Wambere, Uganda, asylum, gay news, Washington Blade

John Abdallah Wambere on Tuesday filed for asylum in the U.S. (Photo courtesy of InfinityPortraitDesign.com)

A prominent Ugandan LGBT rights advocate on Tuesday applied for asylum in the U.S.

John Abdallah Wambere of Spectrum Uganda, an LGBT advocacy group, told reporters during an emotional Boston press conference that he is seeking refuge in the U.S. because of the additional persecution he said he would face in his homeland as a result of the so-called Anti-Homosexuality Bill that President Yoweri Museveni signed into law earlier this year.

Wambere, 41, said he arrived in the U.S. three days before Museveni signed the measure that imposes a life sentence upon anyone convicted of repeated same-sex sexual acts.

He is believed to be the first Ugandan LGBT rights advocate to seek asylum in the U.S. since the measure took effect in February.

“I was shocked and heartbroken,” said Wambere. “It became clear to me that I needed to think about whether I could really return home.”

Wambere in his asylum petition notes he has been threatened, evicted from his home and publicly outed as a gay man in several Ugandan newspapers. He told reporters that he has also received anonymous death threats, been rejected by his family members, lost business and was unable to visit is 16-year-old daughter’s school because of his sexual orientation.

He says that several men attacked him in 2009 as he left a bar in Kampala, the Ugandan capital. Wambere notes he has been “repeatedly arrested for violation” of the Ugandan penal code that criminalizes “carnal acts against the order of nature, including homosexual behavior.”

He told reporters that several of his friends and colleagues have been kidnapped or arrested since Museveni signed the Anti-Homosexuality Bill into law. Wambere — who has been an activist for 14 years — said other LGBT Ugandans have either gone into hiding or left the country.

“It became clear to me that I needed to think about whether I could really return home,” he said.

Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders and Hema Sarang Sieminski, a Boston immigration attorney, are representing Wambere.

“It is simply not safe for John to return to Uganda,” said GLAD Senior Staff Attorney Janson Wu.

Wambere and other Ugandan advocates with whom the Blade has spoken in recent weeks say anti-LGBT discrimination and violence has only increased in the East African country since Museveni signed the Anti-Homosexuality Bill.

Ugandan police last month raided a U.S.-funded HIV/AIDS service organization in Kampala it said recruited teenage boys and young men “into homosexual practices.” The trial of a gay man and a transgender woman who face charges under Uganda’s anti-sodomy law is scheduled to begin on Wednesday.

“It gives me great pain not to be with my community, allies, friends while they are under increasing attack,” said Wambere during the press conference as he began to cry. “My government is unable and unwilling to protect us.”

The White House announced after Museveni signed the Anti-Homosexuality Bill that it would review its relationship with Kampala.

The U.S. subsequently suspended a study to identify groups at risk for HIV/AIDS that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had planned to conduct with a Ugandan university. A CDC agreement that funded the salaries of 87 employees of the Ugandan Ministry of Health who support the country’s response to the epidemic expired at the end of February.

The World Bank delayed a $90 million loan to the Ugandan government that had been earmarked to bolster the East African country’s health care system — although published reports last month indicate that Kampala will receive the funds.

Uganda receives nearly $300 million each year through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief to fight the epidemic in the East African country. Kampala in 2013 received more than $485 million in aid from the U.S.

“Direct aid to the government should be cut, but the money or aid should be channeled to the civil society organizations,” said Wambere in response to a Washington Blade question about whether the U.S. should cut aid to the Ugandan government.

Wambere also specifically singled out Scott Lively and other American evangelicals whom he accuses of inflaming anti-LGBT attitudes in the East African country before Parliamentarian David Bahati introduced the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in 2009.

Lively — who is seeking to succeed outgoing Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick — faces a federal lawsuit the Center for Constitutional Rights filed against him on behalf of Sexual Minorities Uganda, another Ugandan LGBT advocacy group, in 2012.

The Massachusetts-based evangelical described the Center for Constitutional Rights as a “Marxist law firm from New York City” during a D.C. press conference in February where he and other anti-gay advocates launched a new organization designed to counter the global LGBT rights movement.

“The purpose of the lawsuit is to shut me up because I speak very articulately about the homosexual issue from a pro-family perspective,” Lively told the Blade.

Wambere said during the Boston press conference that he feels the U.S. should do more to ensure American citizens “do not promote” hate crimes in other countries.

“On the other side we think that the U.S. has been very, very much supportive right from 2009 towards ensuring and making sure the bill doesn’t pass,” he added, noting President Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are among those who have spoken out against the Anti-Homosexuality Bill.

06
May
2014

ENDA’s long, frustrating path

Bella Abzug, ENDA, Democratic Party, New York, United States House of Representatives, gay news, Washington Blade

Rep. Bella Abzug (Photo public domain)

May 1974 — Rep. Bella Abzug (D-N.Y.), along with Rep. Ed Koch (D-N.Y.), introduce the Equality Act, which would have amended the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include sexual orientation under the protected classes for employment as well as housing and public accommodations.

 

Gerry Studds, ENDA, Democratic Party, Massachusetts, United States House of Representatives, gay news, Washington Blade

Rep. Gerry Studds (Washington Blade photo by Clint Steib)

June 1994 — Gay Rep. Gerry Studds (D-Mass.) introduces the modern version of ENDA, which includes protections only for employment.

 

Ted Kennedy, ENDA, Democratic Party, United States Senate, Massachusetts, gay news, Washington Blade

Sen. Edward Kennedy (Washington Blade photo by Doug Hinckle)

July 1994 — Under the leadership of Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), the Senate Committee on Labor & Human Resources holds the first-ever congressional hearing on ENDA. Lesbian attorney Chai Feldblum is among the witnesses.

October 1994 — Running for a U.S. Senate seat in Massachusetts, Mitt Romney pledges in a letter to the Log Cabin Republicans to co-sponsor ENDA “and if possible broaden to include housing and credit.” Romney would later say in 2006 he sees no need for ENDA before he pursued his presidential bid.

September 1996 — A deal is struck in the Senate to bring ENDA to a floor vote along with the Defense of Marriage Act. Although DOMA passes the Senate by a wide margin, ENDA fails narrowly by a 49-50 vote.

 

Bill Clinton, Democratic Party, Arkansas, gay news, Washington Blade

President Bill Clinton (Official White House Photo by Barbara Kinney public domain)

January 1999 — President Bill Clinton becomes the first U.S. president to call for ENDA passage during a State of the Union address, saying discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation “is wrong, and it ought to be illegal.”

April 2002 — Under the leadership of Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee reports out ENDA to the Senate floor. The legislation never sees a floor vote.

 

Barney Frank, Massachusetts, Democratic Party, United States House of Representatives, ENDA, gay news, Washington Blade

Rep. Barney Frank (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

April 2007 — Gay Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) introduces a version of ENDA in the House that for the first time includes language barring employment discrimination against transgender people.

September 2007 — Much to the consternation of LGBT advocates, Frank introduces a new version of ENDA that strips the bill of its transgender provisions, saying the votes are lacking in the House to pass a trans-inclusive bill.

October 2007 — Even though the bill has been stripped of its transgender protections, the Human Rights Campaign is a signatory to a letter from the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights urging members of Congress to continue to support ENDA.

November 2007 — The sexual orientation-only version of ENDA passes the House by a 235-184 vote. It’s never brought up for a Senate vote.

 

Barack Obama, ENDA, United States of America, Democratic Party, gay news, Washington Blade

President Barack Obama (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

May 2008 — In a heated primary with Hillary Clinton, then-Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama vows in an open letter to the LGBT community to “place the weight of my administration” behind the enactment of a fully inclusive ENDA.

June 2009 — Following the inauguration of President Obama, Frank again introduces a transgender-inclusive version of ENDA, saying “we’re beyond” any possibility of removing that language.

August 2009 — Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) introduces a trans-inclusive ENDA. It’s the first time a Senate version of the bill contains protections for the transgender community.

 

Thomas Perez, Obama Administration, ENDA, gay news, Washington Blade

Thomas Perez (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

November 2009 — Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Thomas Perez testifies on behalf of the Obama administration before the Senate, calling the bill “a top legislative priority for the Obama administration.”

 

Nancy Pelosi, ENDA, United States House of Representatives, California, gay news, Washington Blade

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

June 2010 — After the House votes on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) tells the Washington Blade a House vote on ENDA won’t take place until the Senate acts on the military’s gay ban. The House never acts on ENDA before Democrats lose control of the chamber.

 

Kylar Broadus (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Kylar Broadus (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

June 2012 — Kylar Broadus testifies on behalf of ENDA before the Senate HELP Committee, becoming the first openly transgender person to testify before the chamber.

April 2013 — Gay Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) introduces ENDA as its new chief sponsor in the U.S. House following the retirement of Barney Frank.

June 2013 — President Obama makes ENDA passage a major component of his speech during a Pride reception at the White House, saying, “We can make that happen — because after the last four and a half years, you can’t tell me things can’t happen.”

July 2013 — Under the chairmanship of Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions reports out on ENDA by 15-7 vote, marking the first time a trans-inclusive bill has passed out of committee.

November 2013 — The Senate votes 64-32 on a bipartisan basis to approve ENDA, marking the first time the chamber has passed ENDA and the first time either chamber of Congress has passed a version of the bill with transgender protections.

 

John Boehner, ENDA, United States House of Representatives, Republican Party, gay news, Washington Blade

House Speaker John Boehner (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

November 2013 — House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said he sees “no basis or no need” for ENDA when asked by the Washington Blade if he’ll allow a vote on the bill. The House has yet to vote on the legislation.

14
May
2014

2013: The year in superlatives

2013, Supreme Court, gay marriage, same sex marriage, marriage equality, Proposition 8, Hollingsworth vs. Perry, gay news, Washington Blade

Gay marriage advocates rallied at the Supreme Court earlier this year during oral arguments for two major cases. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

The year 2013 will be remembered as the tipping point for LGBT rights, thanks largely to the Supreme Court’s rulings on DOMA and Prop 8. More states are marrying same-sex couples; we even have hints of a supportive new pope. So before we get too far into 2014, a look back at the 2013 year in superlatives.

Happy New Year and thanks for supporting the Blade.

 

2013, Edith Windsor, gay news, Washington Blade

Edith Windsor (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

PERSON OF THE YEAR: Edith Windsor. Forget Time and the Advocate — they both named Pope Francis person of the year — Windsor deserves this accolade for ignoring the advice of so-called experts and pressing ahead with her ultimately successful lawsuit that led to the demise of Article 3 of DOMA. She’s a remarkably courageous and fearless woman who deserves recognition and our gratitude.

 

MOST OVER-HYPED STORY: Hillary Clinton for president in 2016. President Obama had barely finished his eloquent, inclusive inaugural address when LGBT rights activists began laying the groundwork for Hillary’s inevitable 2016 run. Yes, she’s smart, tough and finally came around to endorsing marriage equality in 2013 but Obama represents a generational turning-of-the-page and we shouldn’t go back to the divisive, petty Clinton-Bush years. The U.S. isn’t a monarchy; we don’t need dynasties. We need new ideas, new leaders, a new generation stepping forward. Hillary has earned her place in history and the nation’s first female president will owe her a huge debt but let’s move on.

 

Anderson Cooper, CNN, gay news, Washington Blade

Anderson Cooper (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

MOST SANCTIMONIOUS JOHNNY-COME-LATELY ACTIVIST: Anderson Cooper. After hiding in the closet for 45 years, Cooper finally came out in 2012 and suddenly he’s our most prominent scold — bravely taking Alec Baldwin and others to task on Twitter for their homophobic slips. Cooper should let GLAAD enforce all the politically correct language rules and stick to reading his CNN teleprompter.

 

BIGGEST TOOL: MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts. Talk about delusional. Roberts in 2013 snapped up Andy Cohen’s sloppy seconds and agreed to host the cheesy Miss Universe pageant for Donald Trump in Moscow. In defense of taking a paycheck from the homophobic birther Trump, Roberts inexplicably likened himself to Harvey Milk, writing that going to Moscow would somehow give LGBT Russians “hope.” Of course, Roberts didn’t even mention gay rights from the Miss Universe stage. He dutifully did Trump’s bidding, all the while giving cover to Vladimir Putin and his anti-gay crackdown. Shame.

 

Pope Francis I, Catholic Church, gay news, Washington Blade

Pope Francis (Photo by Roberto Stuckert Filho via Wikimedia Commons)

MOST IMPROVED: The papacy. Just a few years ago, the Blade featured Pope Benedict on the year-in-review cover, labeled “Public enemy No. 1.” What a difference Pope Francis has made. In less than a year, he’s questioned the church’s attacks on marriage equality and contraception and turned the focus back to serving the poor. He’s questioned capitalism and is a welcome voice for challenging income disparities around the world, arguably one of the biggest challenges facing the U.S. economy.

 

LEAST CONVINCING CLOSET CASE: It’s a tie! Queen Latifah, who debuted her eponymous talk show in 2013, and longtime Fox News anchor Shepard Smith, share this dubious honor. Latifah could have followed Anderson Cooper’s lead and come out just in time to juice ratings for her talk show. Instead she stubbornly refuses to answer “the question,” and in the process fools no one. Smith, meanwhile, made headlines in 2013 when two New York Times columnists debated the ethics of outing him. (This was old news to Blade readers — I wrote back in 2005 of Smith’s efforts to pick me up at a NYC bar.) Like Latifah, Smith is fooling no one and should finally acknowledge what the rest of the world has been whispering about for years.

 

MOST ANTICIPATED 2014 LOCAL STORY: The Maryland gubernatorial election. The primary is scheduled for June 24 and on the Democratic side, three candidates are vying to replace Martin O’Malley: Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, Attorney General Doug Gansler and lesbian Del. Heather Mizeur. Most expect Brown to win the primary but don’t count Mizeur out. With Gansler prone to gaffes and his campaign likely to implode at any moment, Mizeur would remain the only alternative to the bland Brown who is merely waiting his turn. Mizeur has made several bold policy announcements and, if she can raise the necessary money, could shock the political establishment to become the nation’s first openly gay governor (we don’t count former New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevey).

 

MOST ANTICIPATED 2014 INTERNATIONAL STORY: The Sochi Olympics. Will gay athletes protest? Who will lead the U.S. delegation? Will NBC do any tough reporting about Putin’s anti-gay crackdown or will the sunny, lobotomized Today show team engage in more Russia cheerleading? Will Rachel Maddow get to go? What will Johnny Weir wear? The anticipation is almost too much to bear.

01
Jan
2014

Books for the beach

summer reading, gay news, Washington Blade

There are plenty of books coming out for your summer reading.

You made your reservations months ago.

This was a vacation you’ve been planning for, well, it seems like forever. One of those once-in-a-lifetime trips is what you’ve always dreamed about and you’ve bought all new clothes and even a new suitcase for it.

So why would you take just any old book on your vacation this summer? Instead, why not look for something new by an author you love?

MAY

Conservative writer Ben Carson has a new book out about America’s future. There’s a new book out, co-written by Bill Geist, too. In fact, you’ll find quite a few memoirs out toward the end of May, as well as novels by Terry Hayes, Tom Robbins, Robert Ludlum and Joseph Finder. And Bob the Street Cat has a new book out, too, and fans will want it.

JUNE

Summertime reading bolts out the door like a teenager off curfew with new novels by Mary Alice Monroe, Dorothea Benton Frank and Jeff Shaara; a business book by William Poundstone and one on commodities; a book about Sally Ride by Lynn Sherr; and Hillary Rodham Clinton’s much-anticipated memoir. And that’s just the first week.

Later in June, look for new novels by Diana Gabaldon, Jennifer Weiner, Janet Evanovich, Linda Fairstein, Ridley Pearson, James Patterson, Jude Deveraux and Dean Koontz. You’ll find a book about a dog that flew during World War II (and why). Read about Justice Antonin Scalia. Pick up some new Will Shortz puzzle books in June. And learn how to use your manners when you have to swear.

For the kids, look for a new “Dork Diaries” installation; an encyclopedia of animated characters; a few new mysteries for middle-grade readers; a new book about Charlie the Ranch Dog; and a book about farting fish.

JULY

Just because summer’s half over doesn’t mean your reading list is. Before the fireworks even begin, look for new novels by Jojo Moyes, Susan Wiggs, J.A. Jance, Jacqueline Winspear and Amy Sohn. There’s a new book coming out about Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio, a new book that debunks myths about sex, a new book by Ja Rule, a skinny book about crossword puzzles and why we love them, a self-help book on “wallowing” the right way and a cool true-crime book about how amateurs have been solving cold cases and bringing killers to justice.

Later in July, you’ll find more favorites: novels by Brad Thor, Iris & Roy Johansen, Anne Rivers Siddons, Terry Brooks, Catherine Coulter, Brad Taylor, Conn Igguldon, Stuart Woods, James Lee Burke, Ace Atkins and Julie Garwood; a new memoir by singer Rick James; a biography on Michelangelo; a new book about families and race; a tell-all about the Clinton’s political life; and a memoir of faith and football.

The kids will love finding new Guardians of the Galaxy books, new joke books to while away the summer, the latest Fancy Nancy installment and a new graphic novel by Neil Gaiman.

AUGUST

You’re not done yet. There’s still plenty of summer and plenty of time to read left.

The first part of August will see a new book by Andrew Cuomo, a new novel by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child, a new W.E.B. Griffin tome, a new book about crime-scene profilers and a book about the woman behind theMona Lisa.

Also in August, look for new books by Carl Weber, William Kent Krueger, Debbie Macomber, Kelly Armstrong, Elaine Hussey, Randy Wayne White, Tami Hoag, Paul Coelho and Kathy Reichs.

Get the kids in back-to-school mode with a new children’s book by Malala Yousafzai; a new Cupcake Diaries installment; ghost stories; and a kid’s book about paying it forward.

14
May
2014

Ready for Hillary group hosts Town event

Ready for Hillary, Hillary Clinton, gay news, Washington Blade

Ready for Hillary is a grassroots organization that supports Hillary Clinton’s potential 2016 presidential run. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Ready for Hillary, a grassroots organization that supports former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s potential 2016 presidential run, hosts “Out and Ready for Hillary” at Town (2009 8th St., N.W.) Tuesday from 7-9 p.m.

Ready for Hillary was formed last year and has grown to more than one million supporters and 25,00 donors. The event is the LGBT kick-off in the District. Clinton has not stated her plans for the 2016 election.

Tickets are $20.16. For more information and to RSVP, visit readyforhillary.com/events/outdc.

08
Jan
2014

Is it cool to be an independent?

Independent voter, elections, primary, candidates, D.C., gay news, Washington Blade

The ‘I’ label on the ballot means the person doesn’t identify with a particular party and voters don’t necessarily have an indication what they believe. What set of political principles do they espouse?

Some voters believe that registering as an “independent” is a cutting-edge, even cool thing to do. That made me think about party labels, what they mean, and about those who reject party labels yet may want to vote in the primary of a party they made a conscious decision not to join.

I grew up in New York City and like D.C. most voters were Democrats. Many had experiences with discrimination and the Democratic Party was a comfortable political home. New York was a melting pot and home to many minority groups. There were Jews who escaped the Holocaust; Irish Americans whose ancestors escaped the famine; and Cubans who fled Castro. My parents weren’t political but mom was an activist fighting for everything from planting more trees, integrating schools and stopping Columbia University from taking over more of the Morningside Heights neighborhood.

At 12, I joined a local Democratic club. Being a Democrat meant joining the party of JFK, Lyndon Johnson and Robert Kennedy. I was proud to be a member of the party that supported civil rights, women’s rights and, as I got older and came out, the party whose platform evolved to support the rights of the LGBT community.

Disliking a candidate of my party didn’t lead me to become a Republican or an independent but rather inspired me to join with others in the party to push for change. We fought to elect progressive Bill Ryan (D-N.Y.) to Congress. We supported Hubert Humphrey in 1968 and George McGovern in 1972. Though we lost the presidency, we continued to fight for the principles we believed in within the party. We had an intra-party fight that resulted in Bella S. Abzug (D-N.Y.) being the Democratic candidate for Congress after Bill Ryan died. Through the years, the party I choose has been more in tune with my beliefs than any other.

So it’s perplexing that mayoral candidate David Catania, who is smart and an independent, found that the Republican Party matched his principles for all the years it did. He moved to D.C. in 1986 for college and for the next 16 years until 2002, when he was already an elected official, proudly called himself a Republican even supporting and contributing to George W. Bush’s presidential campaign. He left his party and registered as an ‘independent’ only when it became clear the GOP didn’t support gay rights and actually worked to make things worse for the LGBT community. I figured that was for personal expediency to keep his seat on the Council not realizing until recently that it was more than that when he was quoted in the Washington Post saying, “The Republican Party that I grew up with disappeared a long time ago. As far as being an Independent, it’s a suit that really fits. I joke that I’ve been in one bad marriage and I’m not about to jump into another.” He needs to explain what principles the Democratic Party stands for that were so abhorrent to him as to consider it would be a bad marriage.

The ‘I’ label on the ballot means the person doesn’t identify with a particular party and voters don’t necessarily have an indication what they believe. What set of political principles do they espouse? What is it about my Democratic Party they find objectionable? Is it support for unions? LGBT civil and human rights? Public education, women’s rights, choice, equal pay for women, raising the minimum wage, removing impediments to voting or working to deal with climate change? If they agree with all those positions are they simply afraid to run in a primary or are they ‘independent’ simply for political expediency?

Recently it’s been suggested that D.C. voters may be coerced or bullied into voting Democratic. That is absurd and offensive. People vote for candidates whose positions they like and who they feel comfortable with. When they do consider party in their decision, it’s often because it gives them a window into the candidates’ beliefs on issues that may not be part of the discussion in a particular election but are still very important to them.

Some ascribe the ethics problems in D.C. to a particular party. But ethics problems relate to individual candidates. Some might consider that George W. Bush being elected in 2000 caused more harm to District residents, especially those with family members in the military or National Guard, than lying on a mortgage application for which one D.C. Council member was appropriately indicted and convicted.

Positions, history and vision are important when considering who to vote for but don’t be coerced or bullied into not considering party affiliation when voting. It is one factor of so many in choosing a candidate. We have a Democratic president and likely will still have a Democratic Senate in 2015.

During the term of the next mayor we will very possibly elect the first woman president, Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton. So one additional factor voters might want to consider in choosing a mayor is who will have more access to power to benefit the people of the District. Would it be a former Republican who walked away from his party to become an independent, or a woman who is a proud fifth generation, D.C. Democrat? Just more food for thought.

28
May
2014

Out and Ready for Hillary

Hundreds of people attended the Out and Ready for Hillary event at Town Danceboutique on Wednesday. Speakers included Proposition 8 plaintiffs Kris Perry and Sandy Stier as well as “Queer as Folk” actress Michelle Clunie. (Washington Blade photos by Damien Salas) buyphoto, Hillary 

16
Jan
2014

High marks for Obama, Clinton in Blade poll

Hillary Clinton, Department of State, GLIFAA, Gays and Lesbians in Foreign Affairs Agencies, gay news, Washington Blade

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was the lopsided favorite for president in 2016 in a new Blade poll. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Participants in an unscientific straw poll conducted by the Washington Blade at the Capital Pride festival on June 8 gave President Barack Obama an overall job approval rating of 77 percent, a significantly higher rating than he received in a Gallup Poll conducted June 8-10.

Among the 319 mostly LGBT people who participated in the Blade poll, 21 percent expressed disapproval of the president’s job performance and 2 percent had no opinion.

According to the Gallup daily tracking poll on Obama’s job approval for the period of June 8-10, 46 percent of the approximately 1,500 people nationwide contacted by phone said they approved of the president’s job performance, compared to 47 percent who expressed disapproval. Seven percent had no opinion.

The most recent Gallup tracking poll for the period of June 12-14 — in the midst of the deteriorating military situation in Iraq — shows the president’s approval rating dropped to 40 percent and his disapproval rating rose to 55 percent, with 5 percent having no opinion.

In a separate question in the Blade’s Pride festival poll, participants were asked to rate Obama’s job performance specifically on LGBT issues. Forty-three percent rated his performance on LGBT issues as “excellent,” 38 percent rated his performance as “good,” 15 percent rated him as “fair” on LGBT issues, and 4 percent gave him a “poor” rating on those issues.

With attention among many political observers turning to the 2016 U.S. presidential election, the Blade’s Pride poll asked participants to express their current preference for one of 11 political figures – both Democrats and Republicans – who are believed to be considering running for president in 2016.

Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton emerged as the choice of a lopsided 65 percent of the straw poll participants. The category of “undecided” came in second place, with 21 percent of those participating indicating they weren’t ready to commit to a candidate.

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) came in a distant third, with 6 percent expressing support for her.

The remaining potential 2016 presidential candidates included in the Blade straw poll received 3 percent or less:

• Vice President Joseph Biden (D) – 3 percent

 

• Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) – 0.3 percent

 

• Gov. Martin O’Malley (D-Md.) – 1 percent

 

• Former Gov. Jeb Bush (R-Fla.) – 0.6 percent

 

• Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.) – 2 percent

 

• Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ken.) – 1 percent

 

• Former Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) – 0.3 percent

 

• Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) – 0.3 percent

 

• Former Gov. Jon Huntsman (R-Utah) – 0.3 percent

 

The support expressed for Clinton in the Blade straw poll is consistent with anecdotal reports from LGBT activists throughout the country that Clinton enjoys strong support in the LGBT community.

The 319 participants in the Blade’s presidential approval and 2016 presidential preference straw poll represent a sample too small to statistically represent the sentiment of the more than 100,000 people who attended the June 8 Capital Pride festival.

18
Jun
2014