161 posts categorized "GLAA"

June 15, 2015

We have a winner!

AllYourFault

We've done the drawing from the entries submitted at GLAA's booth at the Capital Pride Festival, and the prize winner is local activist Joseph Martin of Petworth, who serves on Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4C. He will receive the Bruce Weber art photography book, The Chop Suey Club, which was donated anonymously. Joe's "apology" was for "bad make-up and not coming out before 6 years old."

Check out the "apology" ideas we provided at our booth.

For more on our theme for this year's pride booth, see this GLAA Forum post. I also wrote about the right wing's habit of blaming LGBT folk for all manner of ills in a Blade column last month titled, "Backlash, Bullies, and Victory Blindness."

Thanks to all who participated. We may post some of the other "apologies" once we've had a chance to go through them all. Thanks also to those who volunteered at our booth.

On a more serious note, check out our Pride Update 2015, titled "The To-Do List." And enjoy the rest of Pride Month.

June 14, 2015

June 14 - Your chance to win at GLAA's Pride booth!

AllYourFault

IMG_2280

We're having a little fun this year at GLAA's booth at the Capital Pride Festival. Our theme involves a picnic basket, Toto, and gay tornados. Stop by and sign up for our email announcement list, and you'll be entered for a drawing. The prize is a rare, mint-condition art photography book by Bruce Weber, The Chop Suey Club, valued at $300. There is no cost or obligation.

June 05, 2015

Your chance to win!

AllYourFault

IMG_2280

We're having a little fun this year at GLAA's booth at the Capital Pride Festival. Our theme involves a picnic basket, Toto, and gay tornados. Stop by and sign up for our email announcement list, and you'll be entered for a drawing. The prize is a rare, mint-condition art photography book by Bruce Weber, The Chop Suey Club, valued at $300. There is no cost or obligation.

June 04, 2015

They’re Here, They’re Not Queer, Get Used To It

Now at City Paper: LGBT folk have clout at the D.C. Council because of straight allies.

May 13, 2015

Rosendall speaks at launch of Communities Against Law Enforcement Misconduct

Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance
Press Conference Statement
Communities Against Law Enforcement Misconduct
National Press Club
May 12, 2015


Good afternoon. I am Rick Rosendall, president of the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance, which has worked for LGBT equality in D.C. since 1971. Thanks to Jody Westby for launching Communities Against Law Enforcement Misconduct, and to those who have helped her.

When thousands held a vigil in Meridian Hill Park last August 14 in solidarity with the people of Ferguson, Missouri, a few Metropolitan Police Department officers were on hand to ensure order. There was none of the belligerence we have seen in other cities. D.C. has come a long way since the 1991 riot by police against revelers at the High Heel Race on 17th Street Northwest.

Police reforms in D.C. since then have included creation of special liaison units such as the Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit, which promote trust and cooperation between community members and police. With allies including the NAACP and ACLU of the Nation's Capital, GLAA helped push for creation of the independent Office of Police Complaints in the late 1990s.

After the unlawful mass arrest in Pershing Park in September 2002, our then mayor and police chief refused to acknowledge problems until a federal judge ordered the release of an internal report. Then-D.C. councilmember Kathy Patterson, with assistance from ACLU and support from GLAA, won passage of the First Amendment Rights and Police Standards Act of 2004.

Vigilance, persistent engagement, and data are essential to reform. ACLU-NCA reported in 2013 on a dramatic racial disparity in marijuana arrests in the District. Given the roughly equal rates of self-reported marijuana use by white and black citizens, the disparity was scandalous. A partial remedy came with Initiative 71, the Legalization of Possession of Minimal Amounts of Marijuana for Personal Use Act of 2014, which is now law. This was not the first time intervention was required. In 1998, we needed legislation to stop the arrest of people for drinking on their own front porches.

Continue reading "Rosendall speaks at launch of Communities Against Law Enforcement Misconduct" »

May 06, 2015

When Police Are Outside Agitators

April 30, 2015

Metro Weekly: Pics from GLAA awards reception

2015-04-29_2148_113118

March 19, 2015

Ted Cruz, champion of local control

In related news, our fab Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton stirs the pot:

March 14, 2015

GLAA candidate ratings in the news

Here are news stories about GLAA's candidate ratings for the April 28 special election in D.C.:

There are a few candidates who still promise to give us their questionnaire responses. We will rate them as promptly as we can and issue an update as necessary.

March 11, 2015

Sheila Bunn Tops GLAA Ratings in Special Election

Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington, DC
P.O. Box 75265, Washington, DC 20013

For Immediate Release
March 11, 2015

Contact: Rick Rosendall
202-328-6278

Sheila Bunn Tops GLAA Ratings in Special Election


Ward 8 D.C. Council candidate Sheila Bunn, who has served as Deputy Chief of Staff to former mayor Vincent C. Gray and Chief of Staff to Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, dominated the field in the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance (GLAA) candidate ratings for the April 28 special election, earning a score of +9. She has the highest rating of any candidate in this election cycle. The top-rated candidate in the Ward 4 race is Dwayne M. Toliver, who earned a +7. No candidate earned GLAA's hard-to-get championship point in this election.

One response common among many candidates was their hedging on the "Death with Dignity Act of 2015," introduced by Councilmember Mary Cheh and endorsed by GLAA. There were virtually no other issues of controversy in the questionnaire, judging by the responses.

The following are explanations of individual ratings. Note: Ratings marked with an asterisk (*) indicate a candidate who did not return a questionnaire and provided no information regarding his or her record on LGBT issues.

Ward 4 Councilmember

Democratic candidate Dwayne M. Toliver (+7) has a strong questionnaire and a good record on LGBT issues as an attorney for the Department of Human Resources. In his answer to GLAA's first question, Toliver showed a strong grasp of the issues surrounding the District's repeal of the congressionally-imposed Armstrong Amendment, which repeal GLAA had urged.

Democratic candidate Edwin W. Powell (+6.5) turned in a strong questionnaire, including a good discussion on healthcare, and documented a pro-LGBT record.

Democratic candidate Brandon Todd (+5.5) turned in a solid questionnaire but showed little by way of a record on LGBT issues.

Democratic candidate Acqunetta Anderson (+3) agrees with GLAA on most of the issues but offered little substance and no record on LGBT issues.

Democratic candidate Renee L. Bowser (+2.5) agrees with GLAA on the issues but offered little substance and showed no LGBT-specific record.

Democratic candidate Leon T. Andrews, Jr. (0*) did not return a questionnaire and provided no information on his record.

Democratic candidate Ron Austin (0*) did not return a questionnaire and provided no information on his record.

Democratic candidate Gwenellen Corley-Bowman (0*) did not return a questionnaire and provided no information on her record.

Democratic candidate Judi Jones (0*) did not return a questionnaire and provided no information on her record.

Socialist Workers Party candidate Glova Scott (0*) did not return a questionnaire and provided no information on her record.

Democratic candidate Douglass Sloan (0*) did not return a questionnaire and provided no information on his record.

Democratic candidate Bobvala Tengen (0*) did not return a questionnaire and provided no information on his record.

Ward 8 Councilmember

Democratic candidate Sheila Bunn (+9) has a strong questionnaire and a solid record on LGBT issues as a senior staffer to both Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton and former mayor Vincent C. Gray.

Democratic candidate Marion C. Barry (+4.5) agrees with GLAA on all the issues and provided some substance, but has a limited record on LGBT issues.

Democratic candidate "S.S." Sandra Seegars (+4.5) agrees with GLAA on most issues but provided limited substance. She has a record of supporting LGBT issues.

Democratic candidate LaRuby May (+4) agrees with GLAA on all the issues but provided limited substance. She documented no LGBT-specific record.

Democratic candidate Eugene D. Kinlow (+3.5) agrees with GLAA on the issues but offered almost no substance. He has been an ally on LGBT issues.

Independent candidate Keita Vanterpool (+3.5) agrees with GLAA on the issues but provided little substance or LGBT-related record.

Democratic candidate Stuart Anderson (+3) agrees with GLAA on the issues but provided little substance or LGBT-related record.

Democratic candidate Jauhar Abraham (+2) agrees with GLAA on the issues but offered no substance or LGBT-related record.

Democratic candidate Greta Fuller (0*) did not return a questionnaire and provided no information on her record.

Democratic candidate Anthony Muhammad (0*) did not return a questionnaire and provided no information on his record.

Democratic candidate Leonard Watson, Sr. (0*) did not return a questionnaire and provided no information on his record.

Democratic candidate Trayon "WardEight" White (0*) did not return a questionnaire and provided no information on his record.

Democratic candidate Natalie Williams (0*) did not return a questionnaire and provided no information on her record.

Continue reading "Sheila Bunn Tops GLAA Ratings in Special Election" »

February 27, 2015

Rights groups thank Reid, Pelosi for opposing use of religion to discriminate

Today, 77 rights organizations sent a letter to Democratic Leaders Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi to thank them for opposing the use of religion to discriminate. GLAA is proud to be among them. The letter was coordinated by the Inter-Coalition Religious Refusals Working Group of the National Women’s Law Center. The text is as follows:

Dear Minority Leader Pelosi and Minority Leader Reid:

The undersigned organizations have come together to thank you for your strong stand protecting people from those who would misuse religion to harm others. Your continued leadership is critical to stopping any new legislative initiatives in this area in the 114th Congress. In fact, Congress has begun to consider these issues already, with a House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee for the Constitution and Civil Justice Hearing on “Oversight of the Religious Freedom Restoration Action and the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act” on February 13, 2015.

The groups that have signed onto this letter include those working on behalf of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities; women; communities of color; youth; reproductive health; individuals facing issues around aging and end of life concerns; health care; people of faith and religious communities; secular beliefs; religious liberty; civil rights; labor; those affected by domestic violence; those living with HIV/AIDS; and a variety of other issues. Together, we represent many millions of Americans across this country.

Our nation’s laws have long protected the freedom of religion and belief – but not the right to impose those beliefs on others. The American people agree; 83 percent of adults believe that “people are entitled to their religious beliefs, but this does not give them the right to harm other people.”

The 77 organizations that have signed this letter, despite our different missions, hold in common the core principle that religion should not be used to discriminate. We thank you for doing the same. We, and the many millions of people we represent, stand with you in opposing any efforts to pass legislation that would allow religion to be misused in this way.

February 25, 2015

April 23 - GLAA to present Distinguished Service Awards at 44th anniversary reception

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

For Release:
Friday, February 20, 2015

Contact: Rick Rosendall
(202) 328-6278

GLAA Announces 2015 Distinguished Service Awards

The Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington, D.C., is pleased to announce its 2015 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 44th Anniversary Reception on Thursday, April 23 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 2015 Distinguished Service Award recipients are:

  • Chuck Hicks
  • Alexandra Andrea Beninda
  • Anne Phelps

Continue reading "April 23 - GLAA to present Distinguished Service Awards at 44th anniversary reception" »

January 29, 2015

GLAA launches 2015 election project amid right-wing threats

Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance
Fighting for equal rights since 1971
P.O. Box 75265, Washington, DC 20013
www.glaa.org

For Release:
 Thursday, January 29, 2015
Contact: Rick Rosendall 
202-328-6278


GLAA Launches Election Project Amid Right-Wing Threats to D.C. Self-Determination

The Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington, D.C., today launched its 2015 Election Project as the group Heritage Action called on Congress to overturn District bills that protect reproductive health decisions and LGBT students.

GLAA President Rick Rosendall stated, "We thank Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton for her strong statement today that included this: 'Just as my colleagues insist that the laws of their constituents be respected by Washington, you better bet that we will insist on the same American principle and will target members who dare disrespect the people of the District of Columbia by trying to overturn our local laws.'"

Rosendall continued, "The Congresswoman is right. As the District prepares for a special election on April 28, we should not have to look over our shoulders for fear that congressional overseers will substitute their judgment for that of D.C. voters by blocking our local enactments."

This week, GLAA released its LGBT policy brief, "Building on Victory," and its questionnaire for candidates in the April 28 special election to fill D.C. Council vacancies in Wards 4 and 8. The deadline for receipt of candidate responses is March 5, after which GLAA will assign ratings to the 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.

Continue reading "GLAA launches 2015 election project amid right-wing threats" »

January 09, 2015

GLAA receives donation from Alfandre Foundation

Robert_Alfondre_and_Dionne_Warwick_insert_c_Washington_Blade_by_Doug_Hinckle
Bob Alfandre with Dionne Warwick in 1988 (Washington Blade photo by Doug Hinckle)

I stopped by GLAA's post office box today to check our mail for the first time since the holidays, in advance of our January 13 monthly meeting. In it I found a moving surprise: a $500 check for GLAA from the Robert N. Alfandre Foundation. In the accompanying letter, dated December 23, the foundation's administrative director, Nicole Alfandre Halbreiner, wrote:

Enclosed please find a donation from the Robert N. Alfandre Foundation. Mr. Alfandre was a supporter of GLAA for many years. Sadly, he passed away in June of this year. We will be continuing his support in his memory.

A longtime supporter, indeed. I met Bob more than three decades ago, shortly after I joined GLAA. His generosity was matched by his graciousness. He always seemed to be in good cheer, and it was infectious. We noted his passing last June here at GLAA Forum. His funeral at All Souls Episcopal Church was something of a reunion for longtime community members and supporters. It was such an event, a mayoral candidate was handing out flyers outside afterwards. The reminiscences and spirit among his friends in the church that day made Bob and his positive energy feel very much present.

Thanks so much to Ms. Halbreiner (who is one of Bob's daughters) and the Foundation for their generous support. Already this year we have discussed legislation with D.C. Council members (including three new members), and talked over congressional matters with Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton. We are also starting to plan for our 44th anniversary awards reception in late April, and are finalizing our candidate questionnaire and policy brief in anticipation of our ratings process for the special election to fill Council vacancies in Wards 4 and 8 on April 28.

GLAA is all-volunteer and gets a lot of work donated, but we do have expenses, including advertising and website maintenance. The Robert N. Alfandre Foundation's generous donation helps start our year on a promising footing. We are humbled and gratified by this show of confidence, and will do our best to continue earning it.

November 11, 2014

Nov. 11 - GLAA monthly meeting: planning for a busy 2015

Greetings from the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance
www.glaa.org

Friends,

In January, the District will swear in a new Mayor and three new D.C. Council members — with a fourth new Council member to be chosen in a special election in the spring. Council committee chairs will also be reshuffled, and there will be new agency heads.

Change is the order of the day! GLAA's focus is on policy, and our success has relied upon building relationships with D.C.'s legislative and executive branches. The rest of this year and the early part of 2015 will thus be an important time to get acquainted with the District's new leaders and public servants, as well as the new staffers they will bring on board. It is a time to touch base with our coalition partners among other advocacy groups to discuss LGBT priorities for Council Session 21 and to offer our help and input to the incoming Bowser administration. It is in everyone's interest for the Council and Mayor to be successful.

We are eager to get your input as we prepare for another year of advancing public policy on behalf of the LGBT community. Feel free to join us at this evening's meeting (7 pm, John A. Wilson Building, 1350 PA Ave. NW, Room 120). If you cannot attend, feel free to share your ideas by email (equal at glaa dot org) or phone. At GLAA we are all volunteers, and we are here to defend the rights of all in the LGBT community, as we have for 43 years.

Tonight's meeting agenda is here.

Best,
Rick Rosendall
GLAA President
202-328-6278 (mobile)

October 27, 2014

GLAA: racial disparities in police stops must end

08vigilA1408062911
(Photo by Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post)

Today I will testify on behalf of GLAA at an oversight hearing of the D.C. Council Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety on the Metropolitan Police Department's stop and contact policies and procedures. In it I cite findings and recommendations by our allies in the ACLU and NAACP. Here is my conclusion:

In looking at citizen complaints of police practices, we keep coming back to disparities by geography, race, and class. This is unacceptable. As I wrote in 2012, "It is easier to make excuses for stopping and frisking if you are never targeted by police based on your skin color."

Not only police but citizens in all eight wards must face the inequities around us with open eyes. When the law is not enforced in a fair and equitable manner, we undermine respect for the law. The standard carved above the entrance to the Supreme Court, "Equal Justice Under Law," is more a mockery than a reality for all too many. Dr. King issued the challenge the day before he was struck down: "All we say to America is be true to what you said on paper." If his words continue to sting, perhaps it is because love of country is all too often an excuse for self-congratulation instead of a call to self-correction.

Read GLAA's full testimony here.

October 12, 2014

On National Coming Out Day, a sad anniversary

NCOD

October 11 was National Coming Out Day. It was also the third anniversary of the death of our colleague and friend, gay rights pioneer Frank Kameny. Here is a link to my blog post on the night of Frank's death in 2011. Frank's voice remains with us, exhorting us, as he did in 1969, to assert our full rights as gay people:

It is time to open the closet door and let in the fresh air and the sunshine.

It is time to doff and to discard the secrecy, the disguise, and the camouflage.

It is time to hold up your heads and to look the world squarely in the eye as the homosexuals that you are, confident of your equality, confident in the knowledge that as objects of prejudice and victims of discrimination YOU are right and they are wrong, and confident of the rightness of what you are and of the goodness of what you do.

It is time to live your homosexuality fully, joyously, openly, and proudly, assured that morally, socially, physically, psychologically, emotionally, and in every other way: Gay is good.

POTUS_and_Kameny

October 10, 2014

GLAA candidate ratings ad for Nov. 4 election

Ratingsadgeneralmj

GLAA Revises Candidate Ratings for Bonds, Others

Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance
Fighting for equal rights since 1971
P.O. Box 75265, Washington, DC 20013

For Release:
Friday, October 10, 2014

Contact: Rick Rosendall
(202) 328-6278

GLAA Revises Candidate Ratings for Bonds, Others

The Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance has considered new information provided by several D.C. Council candidates in the November 4 general election, and adjusted the rating of each, as shown below. 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. GLAA does not make endorsements in partisan races.

Anita Bonds (Democratic At-Large incumbent, original rating +6, revised rating +7.5) added substance to her questionnaire and provided additional record information. Her recent LGBT-related record includes supporting Council member Cheh's successful effort to obtain nearly $1 million in additional funding for homeless LGBT youth; working with the Dept. of Corrections to institute a program offering voluntary HIV/AIDS/STD testing upon release from DC Jail; supporting legislation that expands the list of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana; working with Health Committee Chair Alexander to give authority to the Dept. of Health to administer $1.5 million in grants for HIV prevention and intervention programs in FY15; and supporting repeal of Prostitution Free Zones in the Judiciary Committee.

Kishan Putta (Independent At-Large candidate, original rating 0, revised rating +6) agrees with GLAA on nearly all the issues, and offered some substance. His record includes working in planning and executing DC Health Link outreach and enrollment; working to lift the outdated liquor license moratorium on 17th Street, NW; and testifying for the Repeal of Prostitution Free Zones Amendment Act.

Continue reading "GLAA Revises Candidate Ratings for Bonds, Others" »

September 30, 2014

AG candidate Lorie Masters issues statement on LGBT issues

GLAA, while not rating candidates in the race for D.C. Attorney General, invited candidates to submit statements on LGBT issues. The first to respond is Lorie Masters.

Read the statement by Lorie Masters here.

We will post statements by the other AG candidates, both here and at GLAA's main website at glaa.org, as we receive them.

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

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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.