Las Vegas Review-Journal reports a welcome bit of news.
Las Vegas Review-Journal reports a welcome bit of news.
Tuesday's D.C. primary election results included the defeat of Mayor Vincent Gray by Ward Four Councilmember Muriel Bowser, and the defeat of Ward One Councilmember Jim Graham by challenger Brianne Nadeau. Here are several related news stories:
I'm sure we'll have commentary here on the election results and their implications; for the moment, I offer these news links. You can find competing commentaries by Peter Rosenstein and Mark Lee in the Blade. I almost got whiplash from Rosenstein's speed in getting behind Bowser after her defeat of Gray. But as the story on Independent mayoral candidate David Catania above reminds us, the race isn't over.
Brian Tashman at Right Wing Watch reports:
During Scott Lively’s interview with Michelangelo Signorile last week, the anti-gay pastor denied ever having said that President Obama is the Antichrist … until Signorile played audio captured by Right Wing Watch of Lively saying exactly that.
Good for Signorile and RWW. Lively is a right-wing evangelical who helped push Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Act, and is now running for governor of Massachusetts. He recently called President Obama "a radical homosexualist" and suggested that the President may even be homosexual. He just can't stop making crap up.
You may have seen a recent mailer or ads from the Fraternal Order of Police attacking D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson.
Phil's campaign responds here.
My own thoughts: What FOP is doing is particularly scurrilous and disgraceful. One good thing about it is that they are squandering their money on a cause doomed to fail. The only alternative to Mendelson in Tuesday's primary is Calvin Gurley, whose late questionnaire response earned a GLAA rating of +1 compared to Phil's +10. As for FOP, their habitual boorishness, which I have witnessed at Council hearings, has mainly had the effect of making the police chiefs they were attacking look better by comparison. If they represented me, I would demand my dues back.
Former GLAA president Bob Summersgill writes:
We've never had an advocate on the Council as strong as Phil Mendelson.
GLAA member Jeri Hughes, a transgender rights activist, writes:
After reviewing the negative allegations, I performed some fact checks. The representations made by the FOP are factually incorrect, misleading, or outright vicious. Under Mendelson's tenure, there has been an increase in the number of officers serving in the MPD. He defended and championed District gun laws. He has consistently served as a champion of LGBT rights, and a fierce proponent for Public Safety. This Campaign to Hold Phil Mendelson Accountable is nothing more than an egregious Campaign to Smear and Malign. They should be ashamed of themselves. I know several rank and file officers...none of them feel that Phil Mendelson deserves this abuse. None. I personally know that he deserves nothing but praise from the LGBT community. This "campaign" brings into question what the leadership of the MPD FOP is trying to accomplish, as well as their motivation. They aren't representing the members. Just who are they representing? And why? Something here is very wrong...
Phil is a longtime ally and champion for the LGBT community in Washington. Here is our citation for the Distinguished Service Award that GLAA presented him in 2006.
I voted early, and I voted enthusiastically for Phil. *
* GLAA does not make endorsements in partisan races. This is GLAA Forum, where we express our personal views, and I am speaking for myself here.
Here's GLAA's ratings ad for the April 1 D.C. primary election. It appears in today's issue of Metro Weekly. (Note: if we could afford it, we'd run it in the Blade also. Advertising is relatively expensive.)
Visit our main website to see the full news release on our candidate ratings.
The Blade reports on the race between incumbent Jim Graham and challenger Brianne Nadeau for the Democratic nomination for Ward 1 D.C. Council. By all signs, after four terms Jim is in the fight of his life.
I don't think so.
Ward 1 Councilmember Jim Graham has an op-ed in the current issue of the Blade explaining why it's crucial that we keep electing him because he's gay. Or something.
Graham is right that he has not run in the past solely as a gay candidate. That is why I find it peculiar that he is placing such emphasis on the “seat at the table” argument (in this case meaning keeping him in the seat) now that a combination of longevity in office and ethical problems have made him vulnerable. Here he mischaracterizes Mark Lee’s argument in the referenced column, which is something he does a lot. At the Stein Club endorsement forum a few weeks ago, he falsely claimed that GLAA had given him no credit for his long record of service, when in fact we had given him every available record-related point. He also gave the impression that his entire disagreement with GLAA was over ABC reform, a ploy also used by Muriel Bowser at the subsequent Stein mayoral forum. The ploy did not work for either candidate.
Jim does deserve props for his long service. Indeed, GLAA awarded him our hard-to-get championship point for steering to passage the LGBT youth homelessness bill, for which we also gave him a shout-out in our policy brief. But the LGBT community’s seat at the table is about much more than having one of us on the DC Council. It is about hard-earned clout won over decades of smart and sustained advocacy, productive relationships with policy makers, and involvement in our communities all across town. Anti-gay campaigning has been a loser in DC for more than three decades. In race after race here, multiple pro-LGBT candidates are battling for our support, which increasingly hinges on other issues. One such issue in the Ward One race was raised by someone who pointed out that 16 years ago, in his successful first run for the Council, Jim said that incumbent Frank Smith had been in office for 16 years, and that was an awfully long time. Jim is now in his 16th year on the Council. Let him make his best case against his challenger; surely that best case is not that he is gay.
As a voter I care not about who you sleep with, but what you will do on my issues–and Jim disagrees with GLAA on some of our issues. That is his right, but he can hardly blame people for noticing. I note that Brianne Nadeau has a thinner record on LGBT issues, which is reflected in her rating from GLAA being lower than Jim’s. The voters in their wisdom will sort all this out.
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Contact: Rick Rosendall
At its March 11 monthly meeting, the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance considered new information provided by D.C. mayoral candidate Jack Evans, D.C. Council Chair candidate Calvin Gurley, and Ward 6 D.C. Council candidate Darrel Thompson, all Democrats. GLAA adjusted the rating of each. Evans now has a rating of +9, Gurley has a rating of +1, and Thompson has a rating of +3. GLAA has a longstanding policy of reserving the right to re-rate candidates based on new information received during the campaign. GLAA ratings are on a scale of -10 to +10.
Jack Evans (original rating +8, revised rating +9) had already submitted a strong questionnaire, and had received the maximum record points for his long track record of solid support of LGBT issues. He has the longest record of support of any candidate. The hard-to-get championship point was initially withheld because it is about recent leadership on an LGBT issue, and his initial submission did not document the required extra effort. On February 14, subsequent to GLAA’s initial ratings announcement, Evans provided documentation to show that in the summer of 2013 he drafted and moved legislative language in the Committee on Finance and Revenue, which he chairs, entitled the "Marriage Equality Estate Tax Clarification Act of 2013." As he explained, "This subtitle directs the Chief Financial Officer to make any changes to estate tax forms, instructions and regulations necessary to make it clear that all married couples are eligible for estate tax benefits regardless of whether such marriage is recognized under federal law." GLAA agrees that his action as committee chair merits a full championship point.
Calvin H. Gurley (original rating 0, revised rating +1) submitted a late questionnaire response on February 20; GLAA has re-rated him accordingly. His answers, however, are uninformed, argumentative, and lack substance. He does agree with GLAA on some issues. For that, and for having supported marriage equality against opposition in Ward 5, his original rating of zero has been upgraded to +1.
Darrel Thompson (original rating +2, revised rating +3) was originally rated solely on his questionnaire, which GLAA found weak. On February 26, he submitted information on his record. He was awarded a record point based on his work as a senior staffer to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, former House Majority Leader Dick Gephardt, and then-Senator Barack Obama on a series of legislative initiatives advancing LGBT concerns.
GLAA President Rick Rosendall stated, "The leading development in this round of mid-campaign adjustments is the revised rating of Democrat Jack Evans (+9), which puts him in a tight cluster with Democratic Mayor Vincent Gray (+10) and fellow Democratic challenger Tommy Wells (+9.5). GLAA does not make endorsements in partisan races."
All three re-rated candidates’ revised submissions are provided on GLAA’s website at the links below.
Jack Evans, Democrat for Mayor
Revised rating: +9
Calvin H. Gurley, Democrat for Council Chair
Revised rating: +1
Darrel Thompson, Democrat for Ward 6 Council
Revised rating: +3
A revised breakdown of the ratings points awarded to each candidate is online at:
Founded in 1971, the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington (GLAA) is an all-volunteer, non-partisan, non-profit political organization that defends the civil rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the Nation's Capital. GLAA lobbies the D.C. Council, monitors government agencies, educates and rates local candidates, and works in coalitions to defend the safety, health, and equal rights of LGBT families. GLAA remains the nation's oldest continuously active gay and lesbian civil rights organization.
Homocon Tammy Bruce is shown here moderating a panel at CPAC 2014. I avoided watching the right-wing confab, but each to their own taste.
Marc Fisher wrote an essay for Sunday's edition of WaPo discussing the role of race in the D.C. mayoral election. I was interviewed for the article and am included in an accompanying photo gallery. When I spoke to Fisher I was not aware that the story would focus on the politics of race. (He may not have known it at the time either.) I personally am not basing my decision as a voter on racial considerations.
John Riley at Metro Weekly reports on GLAA's ratings and the Gertrude Stein Club's endorsements in the April 1 D.C. primary. (The Stein Club so far has only done its Council endorsements; its mayoral endorsements meeting will be held on March 6.)
Mark Lee raises an interesting question in this week's Blade.
Brian S. Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), issued this statement today:
After reviewing all legal options, the National Organization for Marriage has decided not to bring litigation seeking to allow voters to have the right to vote on the marriage amendment in 2014. While we believe a strong legal case can be made that the amendment could appear on the ballot this year, we think that the time and expense of such an effort would be better devoted to holding legislators accountable for their votes, and to preparing to elect a strong pro-amendment Legislature to pass the pending amendment in 2015. Accordingly, we will be working with our allies in the state to impact elections this year, beginning with the upcoming May primary races. We look forward to continuing to educate Hoosiers about the importance of the unique nature of marriage as society’s only institution that brings men and women together for the benefit of the couple and any children born of their union.
GLAA's candidate ratings for the April 1 primary were released on Thursday. Here are some news reports and reactions.
Washington Post: Mike DeBonis
City Paper: Gray, Wells Top LGBT Activist Rankings
Washingtonian: Gray, Wells, Evans Get High Marks From LGBT Activists
Red State: Right-wing blogger Erick Erickson embraces identity politics, slamming GLAA for rating Libertarian mayoral candidate Bruce Majors based on his positions on our issues rather than giving him high marks just for being gay.
Vincent Gray (Mayoral race)
Nate Bennett-Fleming (At-Large Council race)
Charles Allen (Ward 6 Council race)
Mark Lee's business column in the Blade this week discusses mayoral candidates' responses to GLAA's question on liquor license reform. Here's a portion:
The question, one of 12, is as follows: “Will you support strengthening Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) reforms by eliminating license protests filed by citizens associations and ad hoc groups, requiring stakeholders to participate in the community process provided by the Advisory Neighborhood Commission?”
Best Answer: Mayor Vincent Gray. He’s a “YES” and demonstrates his keen understanding of the need for reform while clearly enunciating why: “Frivolous licensing protests filed with the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) stand in the way of businesses operating free of special operating protocols. Protests by ad hoc groups…should not interfere with the issuance of ABC licenses to businesses.”
Great Answer: D.C. Council member Jack Evans. He’s a “YES” and provides a rationale: “I have heard from both residents and businesses that the ABC Board takes too long to make decisions. I think this needs to be a more decisive process…Dragging out some of these cases months and months really can be very unfair to everyone and unnecessarily divisive.”
GLAA will hold its ratings meeting for candidates in the April 1 D.C. primary election on Tuesday, February 11 at 7 pm in Room 120 at the John A. Wilson Building, 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue NW. We have a couple of dozen candidate questionnaires to go through, so we will begin on time. Only GLAA members can vote on ratings. GLAA does not do endorsements in partisan races. Instead, we do non-partisan ratings based on each candidate's positions and record on LGBT issues.
Candidate questionnaire responses are online here. Please review them beforehand if you plan to attend the meeting.
Singer Clay Aiken has announced his candidacy to represent the 2nd Congressional district of North Carolina.
TPM reports on Rep. Michael Grimm's contrition after being caught on camera threatening to throw NY1 reporter Michael Scotto off a third-floor balcony and break him "like a boy" when Scotto asked him an unwelcome question about a campaign financing scandal.
Talk dirty to me, throw me over the railing, pick up the check. Sorry, I'm not that into you....
He was a good sport to do it, but Mitt Romney just isn't very funny.
Mike Huckabee caused quite a furor with his reality-challenged rant against birth control the other day:
If the Democrats want to insult women by making them believe that they are helpless without Uncle Sugar coming in and providing for them a prescription each month for birth control because they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of the government, then so be it. Let us take this discussion all across America because women are far more than the Democrats have played them to be.
My favorite comment was by Lizz Winstead:
Where on the doll did Uncle Sugar touch you?— Lizz Winstead (@lizzwinstead) January 24, 2014
The Raw Story reports. After five years of racial dog whistles against Obama, they persist in saying no, the racial appeals are all coming from the President.
Another example of how much of our current politics is not about honest disagreement, but about reflexive opposition and lies. GOP opposition to the Affordable Care Act cannot be policy-based, because it was conceived by the Heritage Foundation and pioneered by Obama's 2012 Republican opponent. Democrats wanted a more liberal program, and settled for the current program as a compromise. Republicans have done all they can to sabotage their own plan while brazenly blaming any problems on Obama. They do the same with the economy. They are morally treasonous.
Rachel Maddow reports.
Marty Rouse at HRC reported on Tuesday evening:
Moments ago HRC-endorsee Jennifer Wexton was declared the winner in a Virginia State Senate special election.
Wexton fills the seat of HRC-endorsee Mark Herring, who won his race for attorney general in November.
With Wexton's win, (and pending the results of a recount in another special election earlier this month), the Virginia Senate would be in fair-minded control. The Senate would be tied 20-20, with any tie votes being decided by HRC-endorsee Ralph Northam, a strong supporter of LGBT equality.
Congratulations to Jennifer Wexton. This victory will be celebrated by fair-minded Virginians across the state. Under Governor Terry McAuliffe's leadership, with strong support from Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam and Attorney General Mark Herring, watch Virginia now begin to move forward on LGBT equality.
Thanks to all who got out and voted. It made a difference.
From NYT. Yes, staff can be such a disappointment. I remember when Dick Nixon needed new staff (as the old were headed to the slammer), but it turned out he was stuck with himself.
Lou Chibbaro at the Blade reports on GLAA's 2014 Election Project. As he notes, the theme of our new policy brief is building on LGBT victories as we address remaining challenges.
Blade business columnist Mark Lee agrees with GLAA on liquor protest reform. (To be clear: this issue is one of 12 questions on our candidate questionnaire. You can find the full questionnaires for Mayor and D.C. Council at GLAA's Election Project page.) Lee writes:
No segment of D.C. residents is more familiar with the long-dysfunctional manner by which the District government conducts licensing procedures for alcohol-serving establishments than the LGBT community. Gay residents have witnessed firsthand and over many years a lengthy litany of renegade objections to the bar, restaurant, lounge and nightclub businesses serving our community and the neighborhoods we populate and patronize.
For that reason, it comes as no surprise that the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance (GLAA) has included in the organization’s mayoral and D.C. Council candidate rating questionnaire an inquiry whether the vote-seeker supports strengthening “reform of alcohol licensing to eliminate standing for non-representative groups.” ...
The ability of “Gang of 5” ad hoc groups – referencing the minimum number of objectors required – and special interest “citizens groups” to directly intervene in opposing licensing applications or renewals allows a vocal minority to exercise a power greater than the community as a whole. Such protests delay licensing and cost local small businesses tens of thousands of dollars – all in an attempt to deny or delay approvals in the hope of extracting operating restrictions.
Fairness advocates, gay and lesbian business owners, and an overwhelming majority of residents support requiring “stakeholders to participate in an equitable community process, as best provided by means of the ‘great weight’ accorded” the elected Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC), as GLAA specifies in its policy summary.
Click here for the write-up on this issue in GLAA's 2014 policy brief, "Building on Victory."
Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) is once again trying to end the 30-day congressional review of D.C. laws.
The D.C. representative introduced the District of Columbia Paperwork Reduction Act today, which aims to "eliminate the congressional review period for legislation passed by the D.C. Council." At the moment, the review period is 30 days for civil bills and 60 for criminal. But not just any type of days! Legislative days, which mean the review process can take quite some time. While there's now a handy effective date calculator to figure out when the review period is over, this still puts an unfair burden on D.C.
"The congressional review process for D.C. bills provides no benefit to Congress, but imposes substantial costs (in time and money) on the District," Norton said in a statement. "Indeed, Congress effectively abandoned the congressional review process as a mechanism for overturning D.C. legislation twenty-three years ago, yet it still requires the D.C. Council to use Kafkaesque make-work procedures to comply with the abandoned congressional review process established by the Home Rule Act of 1973."
Thank you, Congresswoman. I wrote on behalf of GLAA about the long history of congressional interference in District affairs, including on LGBT issues, in 1997. You can read that here. Our 2011 article on congressional anti-LGBT discrimination can be read here.
(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Mike Rogers, talking to Dave Weigel, has an interesting take on the sort-of outing of Republican Illinois Congressman Aaron Schock:
"Republicans want this," said Rogers. "They want him to come out. They want him to come out before the election. The Louie Gohmert voters aren't going anywhere. Anyone who's nutty enough to vote for Gohmert will stay with him. And the power structure in the gay community will literally and figuratively be on its knees the minute he comes out. He'll get awards, he'll march in parades—an Aaron Schock outing, for the GOP, is a gift!"
Small stylistic point: When Mike says "literally" here, he is being figurative, as when someone says "I literally hit the ceiling." No you didn't. But he has a point. Collaborating with nativist, bigoted know-nothings does not becomes okay just because you stop denying your gayness.
Update: Jonathan Capehart points out that gossip is not evidence.
John Riley at Metro Weekly quotes me (in my personal capacity rather than my GLAA capacity) in a preview of the 2014 elections for D.C. Council and Mayor. A few things I said got a bit garbled, but that's an occupational hazard. Bottom line: We don't have runoff elections here in D.C. There are a lot of candidates, and they will have to make their case in the next three months before the April 1 primary. Who knows what will happen. We look forward to their responses to GLAA's questionnaires.
I know you're all as torn up about this as I, but please try to control your sobs at the decision by carpetbagger Liz Cheney to quit her race for U.S. Senator from Wyoming.
Former Senator Alan Simpson had colorful words for the Cheneys a few months back in the Cody Enterprise. I had a few chances to clink glasses with the charming former senator in 2013 through our mutual friend Charles Francis, and look forward to toasting him at the next opportunity.
Friday, January 3, 2014
Contact: Rick Rosendall
The Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington, D.C., today launches its 2014 Election Project and releases its questionnaires for Mayoral and D.C. Council candidates plus its LGBT policy brief, "Building on Victory."
GLAA President Rick Rosendall stated, "GLAA gathered input from a wide range of local LGBT advocates including the DC Center, DC Trans Coalition (DCTC), Gays and Lesbians Opposing Violence (GLOV) and others. The result is 'Building on Victory,' the most comprehensive single document advancing LGBT issues in D.C."
On January 3, 2014, GLAA will email its questionnaires and policy brief to candidates in the April 1 D.C. primary election. The deadline for receipt of candidate responses is February 6, after which GLAA will assign ratings to the primary candidates (on a scale of -10 to +10) based on their questionnaire responses and their records on LGBT issues. GLAA does not endorse candidates in partisan elections.
In the above clip, Rick Santorum agrees with suspended Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson's views on homosexuality but distances himself from Robertson's crude language. This is the same former U.S. senator who compared homosexuality to "man on dog" relationships.
In reactions ranging from relatively polite to unhinged, conservatives have rushed to portray A&E's suspension of Robertson as part of an assault on free speech and an attack on Christianity, despite there plainly being no shortage of outlets for conservative and anti-gay viewpoints. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who had previously warned that the GOP needed to "stop being the stupid party," called Robertson and his family "great citizens of the State of Louisiana." Meanwhile, GLAAD spokesperson Wilson Cruz was the target of a death hoax.
What do you do when you are stuck in bed with whack jobs and unvarnished bigots? These days, Republican office holders who make the slightest move to pull back from the most extreme intolerant rhetoric are vilified by others on the right. This does not mean that the GOP's control of the U.S. House of Representatives is in serious danger; gerrymandering will make it hard to dislodge them. But their ability to govern, to do anything but hurl rhetorical bombs and threaten to wreck the country if they do not totally get their way, is gone. If this is not starkly clear, it is only because the media is doing so much to fuel every controversy, generating much heat and little light.
If Democrats do not confront head-on the damage being done to the country by right-wing intransigence, obstruction, hate-mongering and political blackmail, they will be aiding and abetting that damage. As the midterm elections heat up in 2014, those aware of what is at stake must press Democrats to find their backbone and press the fight for our country. The more we allow America to be held hostage by know-nothing fanatics, the less our economy will be able to compete internationally with the likes of China, India, and Brazil. Smirking ignoramuses like Sarah Palin, and demagogues like Ted Cruz who exploit them, are not going away. The signal-to-noise ratio will remain low as the media continue behaving like nihilist whores. It is time to step up, organize, and speak out using all the tools available to us.
The Guardian reports:
An influential US lobbying network of Republican politicians and big businesses is seeking to avert a looming funding crisis by appealing to major donors that have abandoned it over the past two years following criticism of its policy on gun laws.
The Guardian has learned that the American Legislative Exchange Council (Alec), which shapes and promotes legislation at state level across the US, has identified more than 40 lapsed corporate members it wants to attract back into the fold under a scheme referred to in its documents as the "Prodigal Son Project".
Karma Zabich strikes again!
In related news, Right Wing Watch reports:
Throughout the 1980s, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) -- now infamous for its work on behalf of “stand your ground” laws and restrictions on voting rights -- was instrumental in pushing anti-gay policies throughout the country, according to documents recently uncovered by People For the American Way and the Center For Media and Democracy.
Well ain't that a shocker.
D.C. Mayor Vince Gray has thrown his hat into the ring:
Dear Friend -
We are united in our love of our great city. And we share a deep belief that the District of Columbia has unlimited potential.
I ran for mayor and asked for your support because I knew that by working together, in an inclusive and collaborative way, we could make real progress on our city’s most challenging issues.
And I’m proud of the progress we’ve made. Together, we have:
- created jobs, reduced unemployment, and expanded economic development in every ward
- improved education
- made our city safer
- improved government services
- grown the economy, balanced our budgets, and dramatically brightened our financial picture.
We are better off today than we were just three years ago.
I am running for reelection to build on the progress and achievements of our first term. We are accomplishing what we set out to do. Step by step, we are moving our city forward. We have built strong foundations. But our work is not done.
Sean Bugg has a good commentary in Metro Weekly on the sibling flap between carpetbagging Wyoming Senate candidate Liz Cheney and her sister Mary, whose marriage to Heather Poe was judged inconvenient to Liz's political ambitions. Sean writes:
I'm glad that Mary Cheney and her wife, Heather Poe, lashed out publicly. It must hurt to have your sister turn her back on you as part of a carpetbagging campaign quest that can best be described as quixotic. But in 2004, when gay marriage was the electoral wedge Karl Rove and his then-closeted henchman Ken Mehlman pounded into the nation, Mary Cheney kept her mouth firmly shut. Even as that wedge created dozens of constitutional amendments banning any recognition of her own relationship, she said nothing that might interfere with the re-election of her father.
Yep. Meanwhile, in the video below, Bryan Fischer of AFA explains that it's Mary who is the intolerant bigot.
Metro Weekly reports that openly gay Maryland gubernatorial candidate Heather Mizeur last week announced that her choice for Lt. Governor is Rev. Delman Coates, pastor of Mount Ennon Baptist Church in Clinton, Maryland.
Coates was a strong supporter last year of Maryland's ballot measure establishing civil marriage equality. (See below.) Yet some gay commentators are criticizing the choice of Coates for Lt. Governor, citing the constitutional separation of church and state. This shows a lack of understanding of what that means. The First Amendment, which is the source of that separation, does not prohibit clergy from giving their political views or running for public office. It prohibits the government from imposing one faith's doctrines on others, and defends everyone's free exercise of his or her religion. The Constitution also prohibits the use of a religious test for public office. That prohibition protects Rev. Coates as much as anyone else.
It is one thing to ask if Rev. Coates will separate his public duties from his pastoral ones; it is quite another to suggest that he should be barred from public office unless his resigns his church post. One colleague cited the example of former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee's right-wing religious bullying as an example of what is wrong with mixing religion and politics. But wait. Does that mean that Huckabee should have been prohibited from running? No, of course not. It was a reason for more liberal people to oppose him. Rev. Coates, like Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rep. John Lewis, is distinguishable from the likes of Huckabee in that his faith motivates him to liberate people, not oppress them. The fundamentalist religious bullies, by contrast, use their holy books to beat other people over the head.
I am not prepared to make an endorsement in the Maryland governor's race, but Rev. Coates, who at my suggestion was honored last April by ACLU of the Nation's Capital at its Bill of Rights Awards Dinner, is a fine choice who represents a new generation of leadership in Maryland.