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.)
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.
Rand Paul has found an outlet with even lower standards than the Washington Times. Ashley Alman reports at HuffPo.
Ben Pershing reports in WaPo:
The Fairfax County Electoral Board is investigating a possible irregularity in the number of absentee ballots cast in Virginia’s largest jurisdiction that Democrats say could shift votes in the still-unresolved race for Virginia attorney general.
As of Thursday evening, state Sen. Mark D. Obenshain (R-Harrisonburg) led state Sen. Mark R. Herring (D-Loudoun) in the contest by 777 votes – or .03 percent of the 2.2 million votes cast — according to the State Board of Elections’ Web site. Local election boards are now counting provisional ballots, cast by people without ID or in the wrong polling place, and canvassing the returns looking for any possible errors. Both campaigns have said they will consider asking for a recount, depending on the results of the review....
The 8th District portions of Fairfax are more heavily Democratic than the rest of the county, with more than 70 percent of voters in many of its precincts having voted for Herring in Tuesday’s contest. In other words, any discovery of previously uncounted absentee votes in the 8th District is likely to benefit Herring more than Obenshain.
Oh Goddess please please please.
Sally Goldenberg at Capital reports on Rudy's last-minute ploy on behalf of Joe Lhota.
Yawn. My only question today is whether de Blasio's margin of victory will break 40 percent.
Happy election day. James Hohmann at Politico reports on Ron Paul's visit to Richmond on Monday night to stump for Ken Cuccinelli.
When Ron Paul claims the 2nd Amendment is for "rebellion against tyrannical governments," what he means is that he has a right to shoot you when he loses an argument. Meanwhile, his son Rand is exposed as a serial, incorrigible plagiarist (more examples keep cropping up), and his response is to shoot the messenger.
For these guys, guns are the equivalent of tax cuts for George W. Bush — the answer to everything! Well pardon me, but when a guy goes to Richmond and talks about nullification and resorting to guns if he doesn't get his way, I can't help thinking of that nice man General Sherman. (Though this time around I am inclined to Let Them Leave.)
Chris Geidner reports at BuzzFeed:
Rep. Mike Michaud, a Maine Democrat, told residents of the state he is hoping to govern that he is gay on Monday in op-eds running in newspapers across the state.
Running for governor in 2014, Michaud told residents he “wasn’t surprised to learn about the whisper campaigns, insinuations and push-polls some of the people opposed to [his] candidacy have been using to raise questions about [his] personal life.”
Then, he got specific, writing, “They want people to question whether I am gay.”
And, he responded, “Allow me to save them the trouble with a simple, honest answer: ‘Yes I am. But why should it matter?’ That may seem like a big announcement to some people. For me, it’s just a part of who I am, as much as being a third-generation mill worker or a lifelong Mainer. One thing I do know is that it has nothing to do with my ability to lead the state of Maine.”
Right Wing Watch provides proof of the anti-gay statements by Virginia Republican Lt. Governor candidate E.W. Jackson:
Now that Virginia Republican lieutenant governor nominee E.W. Jackson is simply denying that he ever said anything that could be considered to be anti-gay, we’ve decided to post a few more clips of Jackson saying things that are totally not at all hostile to gay people.
In a Virginia Family Foundation speech last year, Jackson mocked President Obama for supporting marriage equality and for admiring same-sex couples, adding that he wants to "deliver" gay people
This guy is a lot scarier than Frankenstein's monster.
Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) was sworn in today by Vice President Joe Biden in the Old Senate Chamber. Welcome back to Sen. Booker, who is a D.C. native.
From Right Wing Watch, the latest wisdom from Virginia Republican Lt. Governor candidate E.W. Jackson. Message to Mr. Jackson: when our warriors enjoy the rights they are defending, our nation is stronger, not weaker.
Ryan J. Reilly at HuffPo reports:
A Republican precinct official in North Carolina resigned from his position Thursday, after The Daily Show aired a segment on the state's voter ID law in which he criticized "lazy black people that wants the government to give them everything."
Don Yelton stepped down from his position in the Buncombe County Republican Party, Buncombe GOP Chairman Henry Mitchell told WRAL.
"When I was a young man you didn't call a black a black," Yelton said during the interview. "You called him a negro."
In a press release, the Buncombe GOP -- which has the slogan "Moving forward without forgetting our past" on its website -- called Yelton's comments "offensive, uniformed, and unacceptable of any member within the Republican Party."
There's a priceless moment when Mandvi is interviewing Rep. John Lewis, and shows him a photo of civil rights leaders from the 1960s and says the men in the picture would be ashamed of his saying racist-this and racist-that, and Lewis says, "I'm in that picture" and points to his 20-something self. If you don't think you can be appalled and laugh simultaneously, watch this.
My latest column asks the question: If a full moon makes people crazy, what's their excuse the rest of the month?
Here's a passage added after press time:
Meanwhile, Republicans are suddenly concerned about the people who are having trouble signing up for the health care insurance the GOP spent the past four years doing their best to prevent. As Rep. Joe Crowley (D-NY) says, "Republicans are looking for problems to exploit, we Democrats are looking for problems to fix." Martin Bashir on MSNBC asked Democratic strategist Bob Shrum on October 23 if the GOP's efforts to discourage young people from signing up for health insurance (in order to imbalance Obamacare toward the older and sicker) is their most pernicious tactic of all. Please, let's not hurt the tactics' feelings. All of the Republican tactics are equally pernicious to me, the little dears.
Igor Volsky at Think Progress reports on the brazen incoherence of Sen. Marco Rubio in his story, "Marco Rubio: Obama Has Undermined Immigration Reform By Refusing To Defund Obamacare."
A friend on Facebook, Wes Blackman, asks, "When is the GOP going to get out of the Hall of Mirrors?" Answer: after some bloody business, as in this classic scene from The Lady From Shanghai.
The bully who is running for re-election as governor of New Jersey digs in his heels against gay marriage, though he's taking that on faith because he hasn't seen his heels in years.
TNR, looking at the display of the Confederate Flag at the Palin-Cruz-veteran shutdown protest over the weekend, points to an essay by Sam Tanenhaus from February on the 19th century Southern roots of the 20th century GOP:
The true problem, as yet unaddressed by any Republican standard-bearer, originates in the ideology of modern conservatism. When the intellectual authors of the modern right created its doctrines in the 1950s, they drew on nineteenth-century political thought, borrowing explicitly from the great apologists for slavery, above all, the intellectually fierce South Carolinian John C. Calhoun. This is not to say conservatives today share Calhoun's ideas about race. It is to say instead that the Calhoun revival, based on his complex theories of constitutional democracy, became the justification for conservative politicians to resist, ignore, or even overturn the will of the electoral majority.
This is the politics of nullification, the doctrine, nearly as old as the republic itself, which holds that the states, singly or in concert, can defy federal actions by declaring them invalid or simply ignoring them. We hear the echoes of nullification in the venting of anti-government passions and also in campaigns to "starve government," curtail voter registration, repeal legislation, delegitimize presidents. There is a strong sectionalist bias in these efforts. They flourish in just the places Kevin Phillips identified as Republican strongholds—Plains, Mountain, but mainly Southern states, where change invites suspicion, especially when it seems invasive, and government is seen as an intrusive force. Yet those same resisters—most glaringly, Tea Partiers—cherish the entitlements and benefits provided by "Big Government." Their objections come when outsider groups ask for consideration, too. Even recent immigrants to this country sense the "hidden hand" of Calhoun's style of dissent, the extended lineage of rearguard politics, with its aggrieved call, heard so often today, "to take back America"—that is, to take America back to the "better" place it used to be. Today's conservatives have fully embraced this tradition, enshrining it as their own "Lost cause," redolent with the moral consolations of noble defeat.