141 posts categorized "GLAA"

September 23, 2014

A small flap over GLAA's ratings

GLAA issued its ratings last week for candidates in the Nov. 4 general election for D.C. mayor and several council seats. The Blade and City Paper reported.

Kris Hammond, Republican candidate for D.C. Council Chairman, posted comments below both stories. Here's his comment to City Paper:

In fairness to the many candidates who "didn't return the questionnaires at all," most of us never received the questionnaire. Many of the independent candidates and all of the major party candidates who were appointed after the April 1 primary never had an opportunity. My understanding is that GLAA is giving such candidates an opportunity to contribute after the fact, but this news cycle will be past.

As an aside, Democrat Phil Mendelson and I agree on LGBTQ issues-- I wish this bipartisan consensus existed at the national level.

Here is my reply:

Kris Hammond is incorrect in saying that “many of the independent candidates” never received a GLAA questionnaire. We sent questionnaires to all independent candidates listed by the Board of Elections. Most responded to us. In our ratings meeting for the general election cycle, we focused on independent candidates, having dealt with the major party candidates (Democratic, Libertarian, Statehood-Green, Republican) in the primary. Muriel Bowser, as the Democratic nominee for Mayor, chose to submit a new response, so we evaluated that as well.

The fact that some party candidates were recruited after the primary was something we initially overlooked. We have since reached out to everyone on the ballot that we haven’t heard from for whatever reason and invited them to respond. As to the news cycle being over, there are plenty more news cycles. We will announce our new ratings to the same member list and the same press list, as well as post the ratings on our website and include them in our planned ratings ad (which is still a month away). The handful of candidates being rated late have a better chance of receiving bloggers’ attention than had they gotten lost in the crowd of the first story. And I will tweet a link to each new questionnaire as we receive it. Surely this is more than fair on the part of volunteer activists.

Regarding At-Large Republican candidate Marc Morgan, I tried more than once to reach him during the primary season, and sent him the same email I sent other primary candidates. He recently told me that he intentionally waited for the general election. We await his submission. As for Independent At-Large candidates Khalid Pitts and Kishan Putta, we sent them the same invitation we sent other independent candidates. We have since received a response from Pitts, which we are evaluating. We would welcome a response from Putta as well, which we have communicated by (another) email.

GLAA is non-partisan and does not make endorsements in partisan races. We rate candidates based on their records and answers on our issues. Our questions are drawn from our policy brief, which was published in two formats on our website at glaa dot org on January 3, and which was provided to candidates along with the questionnaire–thus making the questionnaire an open-book test. We go through this process for the purpose of educating both candidates and the public, as well as being a resource for reporters, legislative staff, opinion makers, and other activists on LGBT issues. We appreciate the interest.

September 15, 2014

September 16 - GLAA ratings meeting

Friends,

Here is the agenda for GLAA's DC general election candidate ratings meeting, set for Tuesday, September 16 at 7 pm in Room 120 of the Wilson Building. This is for independent and minor party candidates, plus any primary winners who choose to submit revised questionnaire responses.

This will be a working meeting. Only GLAA members can vote on ratings. We go carefully through each candidate's LGBT-related record and questionnaire answers. And we do ratings (on a scale of –10 to +10), NOT endorsements.

Due to the number of candidates we have to rate, we need to use our time efficiently. Please take the time to study the questionnaire responses beforehand if you plan to attend. You can find them online at:
http://glaa.org/archive/2014/nov4responses.shtml

Best,

Rick Rosendall
President
Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington, D.C.

July 27, 2014

Bible museum dispute in the news

The dispute between Truth Wins Out and GLAA over the right of a privately funded Bible museum to open two blocks from the National Mall was highlighted on July 23 by Washington Post reporter Mike DeBonis.

And reporter Tom Sherwood at NBC Washington wrote in his notebook on July 23:

Hobby Lobby high-five? Well, kinda. The owners of Hobby Lobby craft stores won national attention when they won their Supreme Court battle to limit contraception insurance coverage for their employees because of the owners’ religious beliefs.

That recently prompted Wayne Bensen of the advocacy group Truth Wins Out to “strongly urge” District officials to make it as difficult as possible for Hobby Lobby to get all the permits it needs to build a private National Bible Museum in Southwest D.C. (the old site of the Washington Design Center).

Bensen wrote that the project near the National Mall “would make a mockery of surrounding museums, which are based on research, history and scholarship.”

Well, throwing up administrative hurdles didn’t go over so well with local activist Rick Rosendall, who is president of the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance.

“There is no legitimate basis to block it,” Rosendall wrote this week in the Daily Chose. “GLAA has a long history of defending our opponents’ First Amendment rights. This allows us to hold the moral high ground. ... We are much better off in the long run by respecting the rights of all, not just those who agree with us.”

Goodness, we better not let that kind of high-mindedness catch on. Maybe even the warring members of Congress might start working together. And then, what would the mean ol’ media report?

Don't worry, Tom. You'll always turn up something. Besides, high-mindedness is about as likely to catch on in Washington as a coherent thought in Rep. Louie Gohmert. Oh, dear, that didn't sound terribly high-minded, did it?

July 21, 2014

Free Speech and the Bible Museum

I want to draw your attention to an article that I have just published on the Daily Kos blog:

Free Speech and the Bible Museum

This concerns plans by the owner of Hobby Lobby to create a Bible museum a few blocks from the National Mall, and the response by Wayne Besen of Truth Wins Out to the news. Besen, who has done invaluable work in exposing anti-gay junk science and religious extremism, has called for D.C. Government officials to somehow prevent the planned museum from opening. But since the museum is to be privately funded and located on private property, there is no legitimate basis to block it.

As my article discusses, GLAA has a long history of defending our opponents' First Amendment rights. This allows us to hold the moral high ground, and has won us praise, including from Washington Post columnist Colby King. We are much better off in the long run by respecting the rights of all, not just those who agree with us. Our longtime allies at the American Civil Liberties Union stand with us on this.

July 11, 2014

Blade: GLAA opposes ENDA over religious exemption

Jeri_Hughes_and_Rick_Rosendall_insert_cMichael_Key
(Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The Blade reports:

The Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance, D.C.’s leading non-partisan LGBT advocacy group, voted at its regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday night to declare its opposition to the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, or ENDA.

GLAA becomes one of the first prominent local LGBT groups to join a growing number of national LGBT advocacy organizations that have announced their opposition to ENDA within the past two weeks.

GLAA's statement is here.

July 09, 2014

Washington Lawyers' Committee approves

Our friends at the Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs tweeted today during the Judiciary Committee hearing on three bills. I testified for GLAA on two of them, including the bill to repeal Prostitution Free Zones. @WashLaw4CR liked what I had to say, including my statement about redlining during questioning.

GLAA testifies for repeal of Prostitution Free Zones

RJR_and_allies_testify_on_PFZ_repeal
(At witness table: Cyndee Clay, HIPS; Kishan Putta, ANC 2B; Maneka Sinha, Public Defender Service; Rick Rosendall, GLAA)

Today I testified for GLAA before the D.C. Council Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety on Bill 20-760, the Repeal of Prostitution Free Zones Amendment Act of 2014. I filled in for GLAA Secretary Saul Cruz, who was out sick. Below is my reading text. Full written testimony is here.

Good morning, Chairman Wells. I am Saul Cruz, Secretary of the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance, which was founded in 1971.

GLAA strongly supports repeal of Prostitution Free Zones, as we testified in 2012. We therefore thank Councilmembers David Grosso, David Catania, and Mary Cheh for introducing Bill 20-760, the "Repeal of Prostitution Free Zones Amendment Act of 2014."

The use of PFZs facilitates discriminatory profiling of transgender people. As our colleagues in the DC Trans Coalition note:

  1. The Attorney General has determined that PFZs cannot be defended in court and are likely unconstitutional.
  2. MPD suspended PFZ implementation and said it was working to rescind its PFZ general order.
  3. Eliminating PFZs is a step toward reducing violence against sex workers.
  4. PFZ repeal makes sense from a public health perspective.

In our written testimony we quote extensively from 2005 testimony by Stephen M. Block, then legislative counsel for ACLU of the Nation's Capital. I will not read those passages. I will just note that we include his many case law citations to emphasize that PFZs are not only ineffective and harmful, but unconstitutional.

Continue reading "GLAA testifies for repeal of Prostitution Free Zones" »

GLAA testifies on marriage dissolution amendment bill

Earlier today, I presented testimony for GLAA before the D.C. Council Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety on Bill 20-793, the "Civil Marriage Dissolution Equality Clarification Amendment Act of 2014." I filled in for GLAA Secretary Saul Cruz, who was out sick. Below is my reading text. Official copy is here.

Good morning, Chairman Wells. I am Rick Rosendall, President of the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance, which was founded in 1971.

Bill 20-793, the "Civil Marriage Dissolution Equality Clarification Amendment Act of 2014," amends the D.C. Code to clarify that the mechanism for the dissolution of marriage includes divorce and legal separation. We thank Chairman Mendelson for introducing it. We support the bill with a recommended change.

We agree with Professor Nancy Polikoff that the bill should be amended to make it clear that the court can decide matters of property division and spousal support. As she explained in an email on May 7, "[F]or a same-sex couple married in DC but domiciled in a non-recognition state, there is no other place that will determine a division of property and an award of spousal support if appropriate because those laws apply only to married couples and the state of domicile does not consider them married."

If District judges think they cannot divide property or award spousal support in such cases, it is best to be explicit. We will leave the amendatory language to Professor Polikoff. We thank her for lending her expertise, which has been invaluable in helping the District navigate its journey to equality for same-sex couples and their families. The greatest challenge, as in this case, has stemmed from the confusion and gaps in legal protection caused by differences in family law from state to state. We cannot be governed by speculation as to when the U.S. Supreme Court may end all such confusion by establishing marriage equality nationwide. So let us clarify our law this year.

Thank you.

GLAA opposes ENDA over sweeping religious exemptions

Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington, DC
P.O. Box 75265
Washington, D.C. 20013
www.glaa.org

For Release:
July 8, 2014
Contact: Rick Rosendall
(202) 328-6278

GLAA opposes ENDA over sweeping religious exemptions

The Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington, D.C. (GLAA) voted at its monthly meeting on July 8 to adopt the following statement. It may be attributed to GLAA President Rick Rosendall.

GLAA joins the growing list of LGBT rights organizations that oppose the present version of the federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). In its current form, sweeping religious exemptions in ENDA could enshrine anti-LGBT discrimination into law by allowing far more organizations to bypass civil rights protections than are permitted under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Furthermore, provisions added by Senator Rob Portman through amendment seek, in his words, "to ensure that government cannot penalize a religious employer because it qualifies as exempt from the non-discrimination requirements of ENDA." These assurances could weaken existing state and city non-discrimination protections resulting in a step backwards in protecting the LGBT community.

Continue reading "GLAA opposes ENDA over sweeping religious exemptions" »

July 03, 2014

GLAA supports increasing Office of Police Complaints access to police information

On July 2, I testified for GLAA before the D.C. Council Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety on Bill 20-63, the "Police Monitoring Enhancement Amendment Act of 2013." Here is a portion:

We support Bill 20-63 with a requested change. The Police Monitoring Enhancement Amendment Act of 2013 would, as the summary says, "give the Office of Police Complaints access to information and supporting documentation of the covered law enforcement agencies to improve the monitoring and evaluation activities of the Police Complaints Board."

This proposed reform has been kicking around the Council for several years. We thank Chairman Mendelson and Councilmembers Cheh and Bowser for re-introducing it. However, when they introduced similar legislation in 2009, the City Paper reported that the bill specified that the board "shall have unfettered access to all information and supporting documentation of the covered law enforcement agencies...."

By contrast, the current bill refers to "reasonable access." The difference between "unfettered access" and "reasonable access" is the difference between real access and mere rhetoric about access. "Reasonable access" is a vague and slippery term that can mean anything and nothing. If our intent with the present bill is to enhance police accountability by granting OPC statutory access to information, that access should be clearly stated and not conveyed by ambiguous wording that effectively turns it from a requirement into a suggestion. We urge that you restore the bill's teeth by changing "reasonable" back to "unfettered."

Read the whole thing here. Police Chief Cathy Lanier is strongly opposed to the bill, which she hyperbolically said would endanger the public safety. Once again the Bad Cathy comes roaring back! I am sorry, but OPC needs unfettered access to the data in question to do its job. Chief Lanier is wrong. The Council should pass the bill.

Thanks to Monica Hopkins-Maxwell, the new Executive Director at ACLU of the Nation's Capital, who agrees with GLAA on this and who presented excellent testimony.

July 02, 2014

Busy week

Please pardon my lack of blogging in recent days. It's been a busy time, with last Friday's long hearing on the bill to prohibit conversion therapy for minors; writing my upcoming column over the weekend (which is about that hearing), in addition to some social obligations; and preparing testimony for this morning's hearing before the D.C. Council Judiciary Committee on Bill 20-63, the "Police Monitoring Enhancement Amendment Act of 2013" (which I'll post later).

So I'll try to catch up. Needless to say, we are not happy with the Hobby Lobby decision.

June 07, 2014

New materials at GLAA's Capital Pride booth

GLAA's booth at Capital Pride on Sunday, June 8 will feature two new handouts:

Our new flyer, "Protecting Youth from Conversion Therapy"; and

Our 2014 Pride Month letter, "A Call to Coalition". (A version with links is at Daily Kos.)

Come by to pick up some literature, grab some candy, and chat.

May 20, 2014

Mayor's office video from GLAA 43rd anniversary reception

A video from the Mayor's office on GLAA's 43rd anniversary reception, held April 30. When they arrived to tape the event, they had no idea we would be honoring Mayor Gray for his service to the LGBT community. That was a surprise.

May 06, 2014

Blade: Gray receives surprise award at GLAA celebration

Vincent_Gray_and_Rick_Rosendall_at_the_2014_GLAA_Awards_insert_c_Washington_Blade_by_Damien_Salas
(Mayor Vincent Gray receives Distinguished Service Award from GLAA President Rick Rosendall. Washington Blade photo by Damien Salas.)

Lou Chibbaro at the Blade reports on GLAA's 43rd anniversary reception. More Blade photos here.

April 30, 2014

GLAA surprises Mayor Gray with award for service to LGBT community

D.c.-mayor-vincent-gray-testifies-washington-215
Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance
Fighting for equal rights since 1971
P.O. Box 75265, Washington, DC 20013

For Immediate Release: April 30, 2014
Contact: Rick Rosendall
(202) 328-6278

GLAA Gives Mayor Gray Distinguished Service Award

Non-partisan advocates surprise Mayor with unannounced recognition, calling him “the best mayor on LGBT issues our city has ever had”

The Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance (GLAA) surprised Mayor Vincent Gray on Wednesday evening by giving him its Distinguished Service Award as he was about to issue a proclamation celebrating the group’s 43rd anniversary. The group held its annual reception, a gathering of LGBT activists and public officials, at Policy Restaurant and Lounge at 1904 14th Street, NW.

GLAA President Rick Rosendall used his introduction of the Mayor as a citation for the previously unannounced award:

Continue reading "GLAA surprises Mayor Gray with award for service to LGBT community" »

April 26, 2014

GLAA honors local activists

GLAA_Distinguished_Service_Awards_insert_c_Washington_Blade_by_Michael_Key
(Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

The Blade reports:

Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance (GLAA) hosts its annual reception to present “Distinguished Service Awards” at Policy Restaurant and Lounge (1904 14th St., N.W.) on Wednesday from 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Jerry Clark, Earl Fowlkes and Alison Gill are the three activists being honored. There will be hors d’oeuvres, happy hour bar specials and a complimentary champagne toast.

Tickets are $55 and considered a donation. For more details, visit glaa.org.

April 25, 2014

Recovering from Denial of Service Attack

Our blogging this week has been particularly thin due to what is called a Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS) attack on our blog service, TypePad. I am told that it was not specifically LGBT-targeted. After our site came back up, we still had trouble posting to it. I prepared one entire entry that disappeared without a trace.

So thank you for bearing with us, and please keep checking back. We will be trying to catch up with a number of interesting current items in the next few days.

April 06, 2014

April 30 - GLAA's 43rd anniversary awards reception

Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance
Fighting for equal rights since 1971
P.O. Box 75265, Washington, DC 20013
(202) 667-5139 - equal@glaa.org


April 3, 2014


Dear Friend of GLAA:

We like to celebrate our anniversary by honoring others. Thus at our annual reception on April 30 we’ll present Distinguished Service Awards to three stalwart activists: Jerry Clark, Earl Fowlkes, and Alison Gill. And we’ll clink glasses with many other friends, in and out of public office, who have helped keep D.C. at the forefront of LGBT progress.

We’re sprucing it up this year, moving to Policy Restaurant and Lounge at 14th and T NW on the hottest new “restaurant row” in town. (After all, at GLAA we’re all about policy!) We’ll have a tasty selection of passed hors d’oeuvres, some happy hour bar specials, and a complimentary champagne toast.

This week’s primary election showed how the political landscape and players change. There is still a need for experienced, independent voices, year-in and year-out, to defend our community’s interests in the face of new challenges.

So what still needs doing? We lay it out in our policy brief, Building on Victory, the fruit of consultation with activists from across our community. Building coalitions, developing expertise, and engaging those who make and execute public policy are still the way to wield influence—and to ward off interference by Congress, which often treats the District like a plaything.

GLAA’s voice continues to be heard through the political tumult. With our 2014 Election Project we have obtained answers from D.C. candidates on a range of LGBT issues. With our allies we won transgender healthcare coverage and worked to improve relations with police. We even shared lessons from our marriage equality victory with local students (for example, my oral history taped by students at Cesar Chavez Public Charter High School). Just today, we and other groups including DC Trans Coalition and GLOV raised our voices for repeal of the District’s unconstitutional so-called Prostitution Free Zones.

Our collective “seat at the table” is about much more than having an LGBT person in an elected post; our community won its respected place over many decades of advocacy and civic involvement.

GLAA’s volunteer, collaborative approach has a solid track record of winning results. But maintaining the policy chops and political savvy to get policies enacted and implemented requires sustained commitment. Your support is a smart investment in forward-looking activism.

On April 30 at Policy (1904 14th Street NW), please join our reception as we renew our commitment to keeping the flame of LGBT equality and justice alive. You can RSVP using our anniversary flyer or make your ticket donation via PayPal at http://glaa.org/anniversary/.


Hope to see you there!

Rick Rosendall
President

April 03, 2014

GLAA renews call to repeal 'Prostitution Free Zones'

Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance
Fighting for equal rights since 1971
P.O. Box 75265, Washington, DC 20013
(202) 667-5139 • equal@glaa.org

April 3, 2014

To:Councilmembers Tommy Wells, Mary Cheh, Jack Evans, Anita Bonds, Muriel Bowser
Cc:Councilmember David Grosso, Council Chair Phil Mendelson
Subject:Please repeal Prostitution Free Zones

Dear Members of the Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety:

It has come to our attention that Councilmember David Grosso is preparing to introduce a bill to repeal so-called Prostitution Free Zones. It will likely be referred to your committee.

We strongly support repeal of PFZs, as we have previously testified.

The use of Prostitution Free Zones (or PFZs) facilitates discriminatory police profiling of transgender people.[1] It is also a constitutionally questionable practice. As our colleagues from the DC Trans Coalition note:

  1. The Attorney General has determined that PFZs can't be defended in court and are likely unconstitutional.
  2. MPD has suspended PFZ implementation and is working to rescind its PFZ general order.
  3. Eliminating PFZs is a step toward reducing violence against sex workers.
  4. PFZ repeal makes sense from a public health perspective.

We agree with the 2005 testimony of Stephen M. Block, then legislative counsel for ACLU of the Nation's Capital, concerning the bill authorizing temporary PFZs that was then under consideration. I will summarize some of his citations.

Continue reading "GLAA renews call to repeal 'Prostitution Free Zones'" »

March 20, 2014

GLAA primary ratings ad

Primaryratingsadmw

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.

April 30 - Join us for GLAA's 43rd anniversary awards reception

Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance
Fighting for equal rights since 1971
P.O. Box 75265, Washington, DC 20013
(202) 667-5139 - equal@glaa.org


March 20, 2014


"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change
the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." – Margaret Mead

Dear Friend of GLAA:

A bird just landed on my windowsill and sang a spring greeting. Next month, GLAA will turn 43 years old. No LGBT rights group in America has been active longer. Yet one of our founders, Paul Kuntzler, will be at our awards reception on April 30 at Policy Restaurant and Lounge to give the champagne toast.

Some people ask what there is left to do. The answers are in our policy brief, Building on Victory, the fruit of extensive consultation with activists from across the local community. Building coalitions, developing expertise, and engaging those who make and execute public policy are the best ways to defend LGBT interests—and to ward off interference by Congress, which often treats the District like a plaything.

GLAA’s independent voice continues to be heard through the political tumult. With our 2014 Election Project we have obtained answers from D.C. candidates on a range of LGBT issues. With our allies we won transgender healthcare coverage and worked to improve relations with police. We even shared lessons from our marriage equality victory with local students (for example, my oral history for students at Cesar Chavez Public Charter High School).

In truth, our “seat at the table” is about much more than having an LGBT person in an elected post; our community won and secured that seat in a figurative sense over many decades—not just with advocacy by GLAA and our allies but civic involvement by people like you in neighborhoods all over town.

GLAA’s volunteer approach gives a great return on your activist dollars. Maintaining the policy chops and political savvy to get policies enacted and implemented requires sustained commitment more than money—though we do need support for our expenses. The human element is key; we are eager to reinvigorate it to meet new challenges.

On April 30 at Policy (1904 14th Street NW), please join us for drinks and hors d’oeuvres as we renew our commitment to keeping the flame of LGBT equality and justice alive. We will present Distinguished Service Awards to Jerry Clark, Earl D. Fowlkes, Jr., and Alison Gill. Please RSVP using our anniversary flyer or make your ticket donation via PayPal at http://glaa.org/anniversary/. As Walt Whitman said,


“To Thee, Old Cause!”

Rick Rosendall
President

March 16, 2014

Graham: 'Importance of openly gay elected officials'

Jim_Graham_insert_c_Washington_Blade_by_Jeff_Surprenant
(Washington Blade file photo by Jeff Surprenant)

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.

March 11, 2014

GLAA Revises Ratings for Evans, 2 Others

Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington, DC
P.O. Box 75265
Washington, D.C. 20013
www.glaa.org
www.glaaforum.org (blog)

For Release:
Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Contact: Rick Rosendall
(202) 328-6278

GLAA Revises Ratings for Evans, 2 Others

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
http://glaa.org/archive/2014/mqevans.pdf

Calvin H. Gurley, Democrat for Council Chair
Revised rating: +1
http://glaa.org/archive/2014/cqgurley.pdf

Darrel Thompson, Democrat for Ward 6 Council
Revised rating: +3
http://glaa.org/archive/2014/cqthompson.pdf

A revised breakdown of the ratings points awarded to each candidate is online at:
http://glaa.org/archive/2014/primaryratingsbreakdown.shtml


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.

###

March 10, 2014

April 30 - GLAA 43rd anniversary awards reception

Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington, DC
P.O. Box 75265
Washington, D.C. 20013
www.glaa.org
www.glaaforum.org (blog)

For Release:
Friday, March 7, 2014
Contact: Rick Rosendall
(202) 328-6278

GLAA Announces 2014 Distinguished Service Awards

The Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington, D.C., is pleased to announce its 2014 Distinguished Service Award recipients. GLAA presents awards to local individuals and organizations that have served the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community in the national capital area. The awards will be presented at GLAA's 43rd Anniversary Reception on Wednesday, April 30 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm at Policy Restaurant and Lounge at 1904 14th Street, NW (at T Street). Tickets are $55 and can be purchased at http://www.glaa.org/anniversary/ or calling (202) 667-5139; a range of donor levels is also available.

GLAA's 2014 Distinguished Service Award recipients are:

  • Jerry Clark
  • Alison Gill
  • Earl D. Fowlkes, Jr.

Continue reading "April 30 - GLAA 43rd anniversary awards reception" »

GLAA submits testimony on Office of Police Complaints

Date:March 10, 2014
To:Tommy Wells, Chair
Committee on Public Safety and Judiciary
From:Rick Rosendall, President
Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance
Subject:Testimony on Office of Police Complaints

Please include this as testimony for the record on the Performance Oversight Hearing held by your committee on March 7, 2014.

I am Rick Rosendall, President of the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance, which has been fighting for LGBT equality in the District since 1971.

The independent Office of Police Complaints (OPC) grew out of the recommendations of a task force in the late 1990s in which I represented GLAA. OPC employs the best practices of citizen oversight of law enforcement, with the goal of improving public confidence in the police. OPC Executive Director Philip K. Eure and his staff have shown expertise, integrity, and a commitment to fairness for all – not just those who file complaints, but those against whom they are filed, and the wider community from which both are drawn.

The Office of Police Complaints (OPC) released its Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2013 on March 4. As it summarized in its news release:

Continue reading "GLAA submits testimony on Office of Police Complaints" »

February 14, 2014

GLAA candidate ratings: reports and reactions

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

Blade: Gray, Mendelson receive top GLAA ratings for April primary

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.

Candidate reactions:

Vincent Gray (Mayoral race)

Nate Bennett-Fleming (At-Large Council race)

Charles Allen (Ward 6 Council race)

February 13, 2014

Most D.C. mayoral hopefuls favor liquor-licensing reform

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.”

February 10, 2014

February 11 - GLAA candidate ratings meeting

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.

The meeting agenda is here.

Candidate questionnaire responses are online here. Please review them beforehand if you plan to attend the meeting.

January 30, 2014

Maine Supreme Court rules in favor of transgender girl in Orono school bathroom case

Nicole_Maines
(Photo of Nicole Maines by Robert F. Bukaty, AP/Pool)

Bangor Daily News reports:

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court on Thursday guaranteed the right of a transgender child to use the school bathroom designated for the gender with which he or she identifies.

It is the first time any court in the nation has ruled it is unlawful to force a transgender child to use the school bathroom designated for the sex he or she was born with rather than the one with which the child identifies, according to the Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders of Boston, which represented the girl and her family.

Mara Keisling of the National Center for Transgender Equality writes:

This is a huge victory for students. The decision is thoughtful and dead on. Congratulations to the Maines family and GLAD.

January 09, 2014

Blade: D.C. activists seek to ‘build on victories’ in 2014

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.

January 08, 2014

Mark Lee: GLAA to score candidates on liquor protest reform

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(Washington Blade file photo by Pete Exis)

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."

January 07, 2014

January 14 - Tom Chorlton memorial service in Charleston

Chorlton
Thomas Patrick Chorlton
February 26, 1946 - January 5, 2014

Our friend Deacon Maccubbin sends the following obituary on our late friend Tom Chorlton, including memorial service details, and encourages us to share with all who knew him:

Thomas Patrick Chorlton, 67, of Folly Beach, South Carolina, a Professor of American History at the College of Charleston, passed away Sunday, January 5, 2014 following an extended illness.

Tom was born February 26, 1946, in Belleville, Illinois. Nine months later, he was adopted by the late Wes and Bette Chorlton, He was a graduate of St. Louis University and earned his master's degree from Webster University. He was a Professor of American History at College of Charleston.

During the past 10 years, Professor Chorlton taught classes in the Political Science Department of the College of Charleston. His subjects included American Government, Contemporary Political Issues, the Politics of the American Revolution, the American Presidency, and LGBT Politics. He inspired countless students to get involved in the political system, constantly reminding them that “Democracy is a Participatory Sport.” He is also the author of “The First American Republic: 1774-1789,” a book John Bicknell, columnist for Roll Call newspaper, said “gives life to long-forgotten figures of American history who deserved to be remembered.”

Continue reading "January 14 - Tom Chorlton memorial service in Charleston" »

January 03, 2014

GLAA releases candidate questionnaires, LGBT policy brief

Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington, DC
P.O. Box 75265
Washington, D.C. 20013
www.glaa.org

For Release:
Friday, January 3, 2014
Contact: Rick Rosendall
202-328-6278


GLAA releases candidate questionnaires, LGBT policy brief


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.

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October 11, 2013

Two years later, Frank Kameny remains unburied

Kamenyin2005bytwp
(Photo by Jahi Chikwendiu, The Washington Post)

Happy Coming Out Day. Two years ago, shortly before a GLAA meeting, Officer Justin Markiewicz of the Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit, who was there, got a text message and told me that Frank Kameny was dead. Two years later, Frank's remains remain unburied. The Blade reports.

Here are remarks I prepared for a burial on March 3, 2012, which was canceled due to a legal dispute. I would rather focus on Frank today than on the unnecessary conflict that followed his death.

September 30, 2013

Eulogy for Barrett L. Brick, 1954-2013

Barrett_Brick_insert_courtesy_GLAA
(Photo of Barrett Brick by Patsy Lynch)

I delivered the following eulogy at a memorial service for former GLAA President Barrett Brick on Sunday, September 29 in Washington, D.C. The room was overflowing with his friends. In addition to Rabbi Laurie Green of Congregation Bet Mishpachah, other speakers were Barrett's husband Antonio Ruffini, Noah Wofsy, and Sterling Washington of the Mayor's Office of GLBT Affairs.


Eulogy for Barrett Brick
Richard J. Rosendall
President, Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance
September 29, 2013


Barrett Brick moved in many circles and had many friends. Over three decades of friendship I encountered many of his affiliations—not just GLAA but the FCC, the ABA's Committee on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, Immigration Equality, Lambda Salaam Shalom, Lambda Sci Fi, Reel Affirmations, the Screaming Eagles and DC United, and astronomical adventures like watching lunar eclipses from the Altamont rooftop or viewing a comet from the Manassas Battlefield.

Perhaps his father’s early death made him mindful that time is short. He was incredibly productive as an activist. His efforts as executive director of the World Congress of Gay and Lesbian Jewish Organizations helped the International Lesbian and Gay Association in its quest for consultative status at the United Nations. He pressed, with Michael Petrelis and Margaret Cantrell of ACT UP, for gay inclusion in the State Department's annual country human rights reports. He pressed, with Craig Howell of GLAA, for gay inclusion in the Holocaust Memorial Museum. He intervened with President Carlos Menem of Argentina on behalf of a gay rights group there. He was an early voice for inclusion of the faith community in LGBT movement organizing, which became key to our strategy for winning marriage equality in D.C. With Craig, Bob Summersgill, and me, he pressed the D.C. Office of Human Rights to get rid of the case backlog and put up educational posters around town.

In all of this, he was guided by Hillel: "If I am not for myself, who will be for me? But if I am only for myself, who am I? And if not now, when?" He was a graceful and perceptive writer. He had a gift for making connections that I could only marvel at. As an adviser and collaborator, he was beyond price.

Continue reading "Eulogy for Barrett L. Brick, 1954-2013" »

September 23, 2013

Former GLAA president Barrett Brick dies at 59

Barrett_Brick_at_GLAA_Anniversary_insert_c_Washington_Blade_by_Henry_Linser
(Photo of Barrett Brick by Henry Linser, Washington Blade)

Former GLAA President Barrett Brick, who also played a leadership role in many other organizations, died at the Manor Care nursing home in Bethesda, Maryland on Sunday, September 22 at age 59. He had been battling cancer. His husband Antonio Ruffini of South Africa was at his bedside. Barrett will be sorely missed by us at GLAA, both as a colleague and a friend. Surviving him is his husband, Antonio Ruffini of South Africa, who was at his bedside when he passed away.

Barrett's contributions were many and varied. He was an early voice for inclusion of the faith community in the LGBT movement — decades before that was a key part of our successful strategy for marriage equality in DC. As a science fiction fan, he helped organize a Gaylaxicon convention. As a soccer fan, he helped organize a gay football world cup. He often led services at Congregation Bet Mishpachah, and worked to build bridges between gay Jews and Muslims.

Just in the early 1990s, He pressed successfully for gay inclusion in the State Department's annual country human rights reports, pressed for gay inclusion in the Holocaust Memorial Museum, and intervened personally with the president of Argentina on behalf of a gay rights group there.

At a personal level, he was a close collaborator and sounding board for virtually every issue I worked on as a leader of GLAA. He was smart and wise and funny, and was very good at keeping things in perspective. He endured his illness with such stoicism and grace that some of us may have been more optimistic than was warranted.

Barrett was a longtime supporter of Immigration Equality. He consistently put his money and mind and energy where his heart was. And he had a great heart.

In a town swarming with partisan hackery, Barrett consistently stood up for principle and put the greater good before self-interest. As a collaborator and advisor he was beyond price. His wide-ranging interests brought him multiple circles of friends. I hope that his graceful and perceptive drashot (sermons) for Bet Mishpachah will be collected and published to inspire the wider readership they deserve.

Here are several informative links:

Barrett's remains were buried on Tuesday, September 24 at 1:00 pm in the Brick family plot at Beth Israel Memorial Park in Woodbridge, N.J. A memorial service will be held in DC on Sunday, September 29 at 5 pm at the party room of the Van Ness East Condominium at 2939 Van Ness Street, NW.

Update: Our friend Michael Petrelis writes from San Francisco:

A fond memory, among many, that I have of Barrett is from the early 1990s. The State Department had begun issuing human rights reports and the first or second year of them saw a gay-related citation. I called the author of the report, requested a meeting with him to improve the gay citations in future reporter and he agreed to a meeting. My ACT UP colleague Margaret Cantrell said she would attend and we invited Barrett to join us. I think he was head of the World Jewish Congress at the time. Without hesitation, Barrett agreed to participate in the meeting and he obtained his own copy of the annual report so he could be familiar with it. At the meeting, he was the older brother to Margaret and I as we lobbied State to expand mention of global gay people and HR abuses. Barrett will always be my older brother with a big and loving heart, and fierce mind. RIP my friend.

Thanks, Mike.

September 10, 2013

October 12 - Dan Savage event at Jewish Literary Festival

Dansavage1012

GLAA is proud to co-sponsor the Dan Savage appearance in D.C. on Saturday, October 12 as part of the Hyman S. & Freda Bernstein Jewish Literary Festival:

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September 10 - GLAA monthly meeting

Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington, D.C.

Friends,

Please join us this evening for GLAA's monthly meeting, and bring your concerns. Here's a link to our meeting agenda:
http://www.glaa.org/archive/2013/meetingagenda20130910.pdf

Here are the details:
GLAA monthly meeting
Tuesday, September 10, 7 pm
Hearing Room 120
John A. Wilson Building

1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Metro Center and Federal Triangle Metro stations

There is plenty of work ahead to protect the interests of LGBT people in D.C., despite recent victories. We'd love to have you join us to discuss the latest efforts and future steps.

Among our allies and coalition partners, current efforts include:
* The D.C. Transgender Needs Assessment;
* The launch of the D.C. Anti-Violence Collaborative;
* The continued work of the Center Global project to help asylum seekers who come to D.C.;
* The new DC Health Link marketplace, enrollment for which begins October 1; and
* The Age-Friendly City Program.

Legislation GLAA is focusing on this fall include:
* Bill 20-0032 (surrogacy parenting agreements); and
* Bill 20-0051 (LGBTQ homeless youth).

Last but not least:
GLAA's Election Project 2014. First up is revising our policy brief. A lot has changed, with old issues being resolved and new issues arising. We'll have new questions to ask candidates for Mayor and D.C. Council. Our ratings process, and the educational effort leading up to it, is part of our ongoing relationship with the District's elected officials to advance the rights and interests of our diverse LGBT community.

Message: We've won a lot here in D.C., but we can't go on Auto Pilot. As our friends at NAACP say, "Much has been done. Much remains to be done." We'd love to have you join the effort.

Thanks, and best of luck to everyone on their own efforts. The more we coordinate efforts and share our expertise and experiences, the stronger we all will be.

The struggle continues!

Rick Rosendall
President

August 02, 2013

GLAA to Councilmembers: Do not postpone election of DC AG

Read the letter here. Thanks to former GLAA President Craig Howell for drafting it.

July 22, 2013

More than 1,000 attend Trayvon Martin rally in D.C.

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Dr. E. Faye Williams at Justice for Trayvon rally, photo by Damien Salas, Washington Blade)

Michael K. Lavers of the Blade reports on Saturday's Justice for Trayvon rally, which was held at the U.S. District Court building on Constitution Avenue, which I attended. I am quoted in the article:

Rick Rosendall, president of the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance, told the Washington Blade as he attended the D.C. rally that he feels it is important for LGBT Americans to stand in solidarity with African Americans on this issue.

"Our own community crosses every other line of diversity in this country," he said, noting NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous and Revs. Dennis and Christine Wiley of Covenant Baptist Church of Christ in Southwest D.C. and Rev. Delman Coates of Mt. Ennon Baptist Church in Clinton, Md., are among those who support marriage rights for same-sex couples. "We are connected to one another inextricably, like it or not. And we damn well better stand together or we will have hell to pay."