Showing posts with label Pro Gay Politician. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pro Gay Politician. Show all posts

March 4, 2019

He Got Kick Out On The Street By His God-Loving Parents Without AnythingBut Dem.Congresswoman Just Did Right by Him

Gay Florida teen kicked out of home lands internship with Dem congresswoman
© Courtesy Photo

The gay Florida teen who received national attention last year after his parents kicked him out of his home and left him without enough money to attend Georgetown recently landed an internship at Rep. Stephanie Murphy's (D-Fla.) office and is prospering at the university.
Murphy’s office told The Hill on Saturday the congresswoman had contacted Georgetown to offer her support and an internship for Seth Owen after hearing about his story. 
“I am proud that Seth chose to be a part of our team,” Murphy said in a statement to The Hill. “He will always be welcomed here, and I’m am happy to see him thrive. Our entire office is rooting for his continued success.” 
Owen began interning at the congresswoman’s office in January and will be working with the office for the remainder of his spring semester.
Owen told the Orlando Sentinel Friday that he has also started a scholarship designed to help “students in marginalized communities access post-secondary education.” He said he used a $25,000 donation he received from Ellen DeGeneres last year to start the initiative, which will be provided by his Unbroken Horizons Scholarship Foundation.
The Florida teen first came in to prominence last summer after one of his teachers set up a fundraising page to raise money for his first year's tuition at Georgetown.
His story picked up traction on social media at the time after he revealed that his parents kicked him out of the house because he wouldn’t attend their church over teachings and rhetoric he said were anti-LGBTQ.
It wasn’t long after his story went public, however, that Owen, who was the valedictorian at his high school, was a full-ride scholarship to attend Georgetown last fall.
Owen thanked his supporters in the interview with the local paper for their “incredible generosity to help me achieve my dream of getting to college. Each and every day, I am humbled by the opportunities I find in our nation's capital.”
He is also seeking for more donations to his nonprofit foundation and is urging other students to apply for his scholarship.

August 28, 2018

McCain Went From Opponent to Advocate of the LGBT Community

Republican Sen. John McCain, who once called the vote to allow gays to serve openly in the military a “sad day,” is now, just eight years later, emerging as a firewall against GOP efforts to erode LGBT protections in the hotly debated defense reauthorization bill.
Congress is poised for a showdown over a slate of measures focused on LGBT rights attached to the defense funding measure that, among other things, could allow religious organizations with federal contracts to be exempted from federal guidelines barring sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination. McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, has a measure that doesn’t include the exemptions - a move that is being lauded by gay rights groups.
Image: John McCain
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.Jacquelyn Martin / AP file

“McCain changed because much of the country has shifted including the GOP,” said Julian Zelizer, a political historian at Princeton University. “Support for LGBT rights is incredibly strong and even within the military opinion has changed dramatically in recent years. In part, ‘don't ask, don't tell, a watered down compromise, opened the door for new attitudes and more reform. McCain has adjusted to these changes and as the leader of the Armed Services Committee has a powerful position to act as a firewall.”
The discussion on LGBT-related amendments to the defense policy bill comes less than a week after a gunman opened fire in a gay nightclub in Orlando in a shooting spree that left 49 dead and 53 others injured. The fact that the LGBT community was so directly targeted in the deadliest mass shooting in American history has brought into focus heated Congressional debate over protections against discrimination. 
Last month, the House floor erupted in chaos after an amendment aimed at preventing federal contractors from getting government bids if they discriminate against members of the LGBT community failed to pass by one vote. Members of the Republican-controlled House convinced fellow party members to change their votes to block t 
The change in McCain’s tone on gay rights is notable.
In just under a decade, the seasoned lawmaker and decorated Vietnam War veteran went from being reviled by the LGBT community for his impassioned opposition to gay and lesbian soldiers serving openly to supporting Eric Fanning, who is openly gay, in his historic bid to become secretary of the Army.
In April, McCain took to the Senate floor to plead with his friend and colleague, Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kansas, to lift his hold on Fanning’s confirmation (2016 picked by then Pres.Obama)
Secretary of the Army, Eric Fanning
Secretary of the Army, Eric FanningUSAF

"It is not fair to the men and the women of the United States Army to be without the leadership of a secretary of the Army," McCain said on the Senate floor. "Mr. Fanning is eminently qualified to assume that role of secretary of the Army. So I would urge my friend and colleague to allow me to… to not object to the unanimous consent that I am just proposing."
Roberts eventually lifted his hold, which he said was related to concerns he had over Guantanamo Bay detainees being possibly moved to the Fort Leavenworth, Kansas military installation. 
McCain was also one of only a handful of Republicans to support a measure to block job discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender orientation. And he was vocal in his criticism of an Arizona measure to allow religious exemptions for businesses to refuse services to gays and lesbians.
McCain is faced a tough re-election challenge from Ann Kirkpatrick, a Democrat. In previous elections years, lawmakers have tended to vote on the defense bill after the general elections.
“McCain in a tough re-election race, as he needed to broaden his coalition whenever he can. Discrimination against gays is now a big loser politically in most states, and that even includes Arizona - which is not nearly as conservative as it used to be,” said Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia.
Still, gay rights advocates and their allies say they are buoyed by McCain’s repositioning.
“We are seeing a swiftly growing number of people who had opposed LGBT rights based on their fiscal or national security views as part of a conservative package or worldview, like Senator McCain, de-link their fiscal or military positions from others' social conservative, anti-LGBT views and goals,” said Jennifer Pizer, senior counsel and director of Lambda Legal’s Law and Policy Project.
“This is an immensely important potential realignment not only in Congress but in state legislatures and many other venues. We often see these shifts in brightest light during election seasons. And sometimes they lead to civil rights progress thereafter. That, of course, is the goal," Pizer added.
NBC News-History on LGBT

September 10, 2017

In Gay Politics in NYC The Bx Has Been a Dem.Homophobic Political Nest But Now Things Could Change

Please learn how to vote for people that support you not politicians that can't stand you!

 A place who did not care if you were gay now it will kill you, Chechnya


 Contested City Council Democratic primary races in three Bronx districts pose strongly pro-LGBTQ candidates against opponents who either have long anti-gay and anti-choice records or have aligned themselves with such politicians.
The primary contests, in significant respects, reflect the ongoing battle between newer progressive forces and old school social conservative traditions in a borough that in 2013 elected its first out gay city council member and has since seen a second, already in office, come out, and where State Senator Gustavo Rivera energized a new generation of voices with his 2010 primary victory over Pedro Espada, Jr., an entrenched Democrat later convicted and jailed on corruption charges.
In one of the three races, however, a stridently conservative incumbent could get a third term on the Council with the support of Mayor Bill de Blasio, who has deep ties to the LGBTQ community.
Arch-homopohobe Fernando Cabrera could win third term with Bill de Blasio’s support
In District 14, which includes Morris Heights, University Heights, Fordham, and Kingsbridge, Fernando Cabrera, a Christian preacher with extreme anti-gay views, is seeking a third term, facing off against Randy Abreu, formerly an Obama administration appointee to the Energy Department, and schoolteacher Felix Perdomo.
In 2014 — when Cabrera waged the first of two unsuccessful primary challenges against Senator Rivera — a YouTube video surfaced showing him in Uganda lavishly praising that nation’s aggressively anti-gay government as “the righteous,” while its legislature was considering the imposition of the death penalty for homosexual conduct. Though Cabrera removed that YouTube clip after it came to widespread public attention, a record of it still exists. (An excerpt follows, with the full video at this story’s conclusion.)
Cabrera worked for years with the Family Research Council, an organization condemned as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. FRC’s leaders have at one time or another endorsed criminal penalties for homosexual conduct and praised Uganda’s move toward harsh anti-LGBTQ punitive measures.
Given Cabrera’s radical anti-gay views, it’s not surprising he has drawn fire from progressives. Abreu’s campaign has been endorsed by two LGBTQ political clubs, the Stonewall Democrats of New York City and the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club, as well as by TenantsPAC, Planned Parenthood of New York City, Vote Pro Choice, the Working Families Party, and Rivera, who dispatched Cabrera’s two State Senate challenges handily in 2014 and 2016.
What is surprising is the number of progressive voices that appear as endorsers of Cabrera’s reelection — including Mayor Bill de Blasio and the Retail, Wholesale and the Department Store Union, which is headed by out gay labor leader Stuart Appelbaum.
Appelbaum did not respond to a request for comment. In an emailed statement from BerlinRosen, which works on behalf of de Blasio’s reelection, Dan Levitan wrote, “Mayor de Blasio is a strong supporter of marriage equality and LGBT rights, and the Mayor has been clear about his very strong disagreement with Councilmember Cabrera on these issues.”
(Editor’s note 2: More than five hours after this story was published online, Levitan, just before 11 p.m., told Gay City News that his earlier confirmation that the mayor had endorsed Cabrera was “wrong.” See here.)
(Editor’s note 1: Cabrera’s website also listed Public Advocate Letitia James as an endorser, as originally stated in this article. Subsequent to the original posting, James’ office responded to our inquiry by stating that she does not support his reelection.)
Cabrera, who does not participate in New York City’s public campaign finance program, has raised $109,000 and has $51,000 on hand as of September 7, according to the city’s Campaign Finance Board (CFB). Abreu has raised almost $65,000, with just under $84,000 in matching funds and roughly $100,000 on hand. Perdomo raised about $40,000 in contributions, received $59,000 in matching funds, and has just under $74,000 on hand. 
In a contest for the open seat being vacated by Annabel Palma, who faces term limits this year, in District 18, which includes Soundview, Parkchester, and Castle Hill in the South Bronx, State Senator Ruben Diaz, Sr., who represented the district on the Council for a year prior to his 2002 election to the Senate, is considered the favorite. His opposition to LGBTQ rights dates back to his denunciations — while serving on the Civilian Complaint Review Board, the city’s police oversight agency — of the 1994 Gay Games in New York, which he warned would lead to a spike in AIDS cases and to greater acceptance of homosexuality. Diaz, in the Senate, led efforts to derail the marriage equality law, enacted in 2011, and has been successful, in tandem with its Republican leadership, in blocking a vote on the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA), a transgender civil rights measure. Diaz is also a vigorous opponent of a woman’s right to choose.
Progressive opposition to Diaz is, to some degree, splintered between two staunch LGBTQ advocates, Elvin García, an out gay man who served as de Blasio’s Bronx borough director as well as his LGBTQ liaison, and Amanda Farias, who has worked for Queens City Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley. While Stonewall supports García, Farias has snagged endorsements not only from the Jim Owles Club but also from Planned Parenthood, Vote Pro Choice, the 504 Democrats, which advocates on disabilities issues, Black Lives Matter New York and Manhattan Councilmember, Helen Rosenthal. The good government group Citizens Union, which does not make “endorsements” per se, has designated Farias as the “preferred” candidate in the race.
Diaz, meanwhile, has the support not only of the county organization but also of incumbent Palma. Though his son, the borough president, has made strides to reach out the LGBTQ community since assuming that office in 2009 — after voting against the marriage equality law while in the State Assembly — Senator Diaz’s continued high visibility in Bronx politics and support from the county organization work against that effort.
One other Democrat who has stumbled because of his support for the elder Diaz is Manhattan Councilmember Ydanis Rodriguez, who represents Washington Heights, Inwood, and Marble Hill. When Rodriguez’s endorsement of the Diaz’s Council race recently became known, both Stonewall and Jim Owles angrily withdrew their support for him. Two other Upper Manhattan elected officials from the Dominican community, US Representative Adriano Espaillat, a Democrat, and State Senator Marisol Alcantara, who is a member of the Independent Democratic Conference (IDC), a rump faction that shares power with the Senate’s Republican leadership, also support Diaz. 
Several councilmembers vying to succeed the term-limited Melissa Mark-Viverito as speaker next year — including Chelsea’s out gay Corey Johnson — declined efforts by Gay City News earlier this year to get them to comment on the Diaz candidacy. If elected, Diaz would be among those voting to choose a new speaker and support from the county organization backing him could also prove pivotal.
Diaz, who is not participating in the city’s campaign finance program, has raised more than $140,000 in contributions and has about $90,000 on hand as of September 7, according to CFB records. García raised almost $68,000 and received $95,000 in public matching funds, and has $38,000 on hand. Farias raised $49,000, with a $95,000 match, and has $65,000 on hand. Michael Beltzer, a fourth candidate in the race, has worked for the New York City comptroller’s office and the Bronx Chamber of Commerce.
In what may be the most highly competitive of the three contests, Marjorie Velázquez has emerged as the progressive choice in the northeast Bronx’s District 13, which encompasses Throggs Neck, Morris Park, and City Island. An accountant, a Democratic district leader, a member of Community Board 10, and the co-founder of Bronx Women United, Velázquez is facing off against State Assemblymember Mark Gjonaj and John Doyle, a public affairs professional at Jacobi Medical Center and the former community affairs director for Bronx State Senator Jeff Klein, the IDC leader.
The District 13 seat is being vacated by Councilmember Jimmy Vacca, who came out as gay in early 2016 and now faces term limits.
Vacca, his out gay Bronx colleague, Councilmember Ritchie Torres, and out lesbian Manhattan Councilmember Rosie Mendez has had all endorsed Velázquez, as have the Stonewall Democrats and the Jim Owles club.
Velázquez also has the support of other leading progressive groups and elected officials, including the Working Families Party, Planned Parenthood, Vote Pro Choice, Make the Road, TenantsPAC, the 504 Democrats, Speaker Mark-Viverito, and Councilmembers Julissa Ferreras-Copeland of Queens and Helen Rosenthal. Velázquez is also the preferred candidate of Citizens Union.
Women’s rights advocates are particularly unhappy with Gjonaj’s flip-flop in 2014 on Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposed 10-point Women’s Equality Act. The assemblymember often talked about his support for the measure, but he actually voted against it, telling the Daily News that year he was uncomfortable with the bill’s language regarding women’s right to choose. “I support the right to choose,” he said. “Anything that’s vague, that would allow for an interpretation into a late-term abortion, I am strictly opposed.”  

Gjonaj is also viewed with suspicion in the LGBTQ community because of his support for Senator Diaz. In a statement released by the Bronx County Democratic Committee when it endorsed Diaz, Gjonaj said, “As a state senator, Reverend Ruben Diaz has been a powerful fighter for not only his district but the entire Bronx. He has been a fierce champion for our seniors, for affordable housing, and for public education. I have no doubt he will bring that same passion and energy to the City Council. I am proud to endorse him in his new endeavor.”
Though Gjonaj, first elected in 2012, supports Diaz, on one key LGBTQ issue the assemblymember has separated himself from the Pentecostal minister, voting, since his first term in office, for GENDA.
Among the top three candidates in the six-person primary contest, Gjonaj has, by far, raised the biggest war chest — like Diaz and Cabrera completely outside the city’s campaign finance program — with nearly $750,000 in donations, though he has less than $29,000 on hand as of September 7, according to CFB records. Velázquez has received $115,000 in contributions, with matching funds of roughly $95,000, and has about $46,000 on hand. Doyle raised $87,000, with a $95,000 public match, and has $50,000 on hand.
Like Diaz, Gjonaj has the support of the county organization, as well as from Senator Klein and the borough president. A number of powerful unions, including the Service Employees International Union’s Locals 1199 and 32BJ and the United Federation of Teachers, also support him.

August 20, 2017

Chris King Candidate for Governor Supports Gays From A Special Place

 Chris King Florida's Candidate for Governor See gays as Special just like his gay brother

The leading Democrats running for Florida governor met with gay and lesbian party members Saturday in an event that at times was touching and personal, and served as a reminder that Florida is a place where people can still be discriminated against because of who they love.

Perhaps the most chilling moment was when Orlando-area businessman Chris King described his brother as a brilliant, handsome man who would light up a room as soon as he walked in. But his brother was gay, and Florida wasn't a tolerant place when they were growing up in the 1970s and 1980s. He struggled with depression.

"Growing up was incredibly hard and he dealt with tremendous insecurity based on who he was," King said, before describing a call he got from his parents during his freshman year in college.
His brother killed himself.

There was an audible gasp in the room as he shared the story and painful looks on the faces of those listening to the LGBTA Democrats' annual latest news videos.

"Growing up was incredibly hard and he dealt with tremendous insecurity based on who he was," King said, before describing a call he got from his parents during his freshman year in college.
His brother killed himself.

There was an audible gasp in the room as he shared the story and painful looks on the faces of those listening at the LGBTA Democrats' annual conference. And while King's story tugged at hearts, he wasn't the only candidate who explained why they feel Florida must do more to protect gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender residents.

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum said he too has a gay brother, and growing up in Florida in a religious family wasn't easy.

"He probably heard some terms and words that struck at his core, feeling at different times not all the way comfortable," Gillum said. "The first thing that he did when he had the opportunity was getting on the first bus that he could afford, to go all the way across the country to California, with not so much as a job or a house, just so that he could be himself."

"It was intense," he said. "It tore me up because he was the closest thing to me."
Former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham was scheduled to address the group during dinner, and in her prepared remarks, she chastised Republicans, including Gov. Rick Scott, for not taking steps to ensure equal rights for gays and lesbians. She said that in the aftermath of the Pulse gay nightclub shootings that killed 49, Scott and other Republicans made false promises to protect the LGBT community.

"After the cameras went away, they went back to their old politics," she said. "In the year since Pulse, they have not lifted a finger to protect the LGBTQ community or prevent another tragedy. It's heartbreaking."

All three candidates said it will be their priority to pass a law to give gays and lesbians civil rights protections in housing and employment. A bill to do so has been filed for years and gone nowhere in a Legislature dominated by the Republican Party, which has controlled the governor's mansion since 1999.

Terry Fleming, the president of the LGBTA Democrats (the A is for Allies), also said that Florida's government has done little for the gay and lesbian community.

"Legislation here hasn't been gay-friendly," he said. "There's definitely some challenges in Florida."
Because the LGBT community is concerned about discrimination under President Donald Trump's administration, it's even more important that Florida protect them, he said.

"I am so angry at what's happening in Washington that I want to work doubly hard to make sure that we get protections in place in Florida, by electing Democratic candidates that support LGBT equality," he said.


September 5, 2016

NYT: There is a Big LGBT Political Sway Going On

On a sweltering afternoon in late August, Stephanie Murphy, a Democrat running for Congress against a longtime Republican incumbent, stole a half-hour from a crammed schedule for something that grieving residents of this metropolitan area still routinely do: She visited Pulse nightclub, where a gunman ended 49 lives in June.

The club itself has been closed since then, but a patch of the property in front brims with flowers, photographs and rainbow flags, which signal that Pulse was a place where many gay people gathered and many gay people died. It’s an eye-catching, heart-stopping memorial.

Could it also be an omen of political change?

Prominent among the issues that Murphy, 37, is campaigning on is her 73-year-old opponent’s dismal record on L.G.B.T. rights. And some Democrats are convinced that this could work powerfully in her favor, especially at this time, in this place. Her district includes much of Orlando, though not Pulse itself, and is home to victims’ relatives and friends.

Murphy was at Pulse on this day to show it to United States Representative Barbara Lee, a California Democrat who belongs to a quickly swelling army of party leaders who have traveled to Florida to stump for Murphy or help her raise money, reflecting the party’s identification of her contest as one that might flip a House seat from red to blue and help to erode the Republican majority.
Stephanie Murphy, candidate for Congress from Florida. Credit Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call, via Associated Press
“This is a very winnable race,” Lee told me as we approached Pulse, adding that what happened there — and its exposure of the hatred that L.G.B.T. Americans still confront — is part of the equation. “I think people will see that as a defining moment and say: ‘No more. My vote is going to be for human rights.’ ”

Across many decades and hundreds of campaigns at every level of government, L.G.B.T. rights have been a point of bitter debate, often benefiting Republican politicians in conservative areas where voters pushed back at social change. In recent years, though, Democrats have increasingly sought to turn their advocacy for L.G.B.T. people into an advantage.

Public opinion polls leave no doubt that a significant majority of Americans support laws protecting L.G.B.T. people from discrimination and approve of same-sex marriage. But that doesn’t mean that they prioritize the issue and punish politicians with contrary views. The results of many elections suggest that they don’t. 
I think that’s changing, and 2016 could be the proof of it. In several closely fought races around the country, candidates’ actions and comments regarding gay people have come to the fore and come to define them. Murphy’s contest against John Mica, now in his 12th term, is only one of them.

The outcomes of two of the most competitive gubernatorial contests — in Indiana and North Carolina — could be affected by voters’ feelings about how the candidates have handled L.G.B.T. rights. That’s especially true in North Carolina, where Gov. Pat McCrory is being hammered for a shockingly regressive measure that he signed into law last March.

It hallucinated some grave public danger in transgender people’s using public restrooms that correspond to their gender identity, banned them from doing so, and then went even further, nullifying local ordinances that outlawed employment and housing discrimination against gay and lesbian people.

“I believe that he started this in order to stir up his right wing and to win this election,” said his Democratic challenger, Roy Cooper, the state’s attorney general, when I spoke with him last week. “But it’s backfired on him because it’s backfired on the state.”

In protest of the law, PayPal nixed plans to build a major new operations center in Charlotte. The National Basketball Association relocated an all-star game from North Carolina to another state. Business groups moved conventions. Performers canceled concerts.

“It has cost us thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars,” Cooper told me. And it has tarnished McCrory’s carefully tended image as a common-sense, pro-business governor.

Cooper presses the issue all the time, including in a recent debate against McCrory. Polls in August showed him ahead by one to nine points.
Roy Cooper, North Carolina Democratic gubernatorial candidate. Credit Chuck Burton/Associated Press
“That really is a new day,” JoDee Winterhof, the senior vice president for policy and political affairs at the Human Rights Campaign, told me.

As more business leaders stand up for L.G.B.T. rights, which they deem important to assembling the best work force and burnishing their brands, more politicians find that their own positions can have a serious impact on their relationship with the corporate community. Being against L.G.B.T. rights can complicate any claims they make to being champions of economic growth. It can also depress financial contributions to their campaigns.

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Just look at the congressional race in northern New Jersey between Scott Garrett, the Republican incumbent, and Josh Gottheimer, a Democrat.

A little over a year ago, Politico revealed that Garrett was refusing to give what is generally a pro forma donation to the National Republican Congressional Committee because it backed openly gay candidates.

Although Garrett had always had close ties with Wall Street, several big financial institutions stopped donating to his campaign, and that could put Gottheimer, a fund-raising whirlwind, on a more equal footing with him than Democratic challengers in previous election cycles. Partly for that reason, political handicappers envision a potentially close contest between him and Garrett, who got at least 55 percent of the vote in 2010 and 2012.

Gottheimer said that news coverage of Garrett’s tussle with his fellow Republicans over gay candidates brought into the light a host of extremely conservative positions — on everything from equal pay and abortion rights to the Confederate flag and global warming — that many of his constituents weren’t wholly aware of.

It has also become a yardstick of Garrett’s humanity. That’s how I increasingly notice L.G.B.T. rights playing out among many voters in the center. It’s a marker. A metaphor.

It has power on its own, too. In a recent interview in Paramus, N.J., Gottheimer told me that when his campaign did a poll testing which of Garrett’s conservative positions bothered the largely suburban district’s voters the most, “This issue was above everything else.”

“I would have guessed that this would do well with more Democratic-leaning voters,” he said. But, he added, “The whole middle and middle-right were equally offended by this.”

Karen Gerbatsch, 64, a registered Republican who has voted repeatedly for Garrett, told me that when she heard about his disapproval of gay candidates, she thought, “That’s not me.”

“It bothered me a lot,” she added. She said that she’ll vote for Gottheimer, but cited additional reasons, chief among them her concern about the current crop of Washington Republicans amassing too much power, especially if Donald Trump happens to win the presidency.
Josh Gottheimer, candidate for Congress in New Jersey's 5th District. Credit Danielle Parhizkaran/The Record of Bergen County, via Associated Press
It’s impossible to isolate the impact of L.G.B.T. rights from other factors in these races. Gottheimer, who worked as a speechwriter for President Bill Clinton, is connected to an extensive network of powerful Democrats who have rallied to his cause, and he’s an astute, poised first-time candidate who, at 41, promises a freshness that Garrett, 57, cannot.

Murphy, another first-time candidate, is competing in a district that the Florida Supreme Court recently redrew so that it’s younger and more Democratic than it was in past elections. Odds makers still give Mica the advantage.

She has an inspiring family story: Her parents fled the Communists in Vietnam by boat when she was just 6 months old. After the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, she abandoned a lucrative consulting career in the private sector to work for the Department of Defense. She now teaches at Rollins College in Winter Park, which abuts Orlando. She has two young children. And she presents herself — eloquently — as an alternative to Congress’s entrenched ways.

When Trump visited Orlando last month to speak to a conference of leaders who adamantly oppose L.G.B.T. rights, she blasted her opponent, Mica, for having endorsed him and presented a litany of Mica’s anti-gay positions and remarks across the years.

Two weeks later, she was the first candidate to be endorsed by a new political action committee called the Pride Fund to End Gun Violence, which will raise money for politicians supportive of both L.G.B.T. rights and gun control.

Jason Lindsay, the founder and executive director of the Pride Fund, told me that in several visits to Orlando, he has been struck by “the sheer determination” of gays and lesbians there. “The Pulse attack was incredibly personal,” he said.

Murphy cited Pulse to me when she noted that Mica had opposed the inclusion of any reference to sexual orientation in federal hate-crimes legislation. “How can you have that position given what has happened?” she said.

“His positions,” she said, “have been extreme and exclusionary.”

At Pulse, I was struck by something that hadn’t been clear to me in news coverage right after the shooting. This gay nightclub shared its stretch of a prominent thoroughfare with a Dunkin’ Donuts, a Radio Shack and, directly across the street, a Wendy’s, with its logo of a pigtailed, red-haired, freckled girl.

It wasn’t off in the shadows but right in the mix — which is where L.G.B.T. people are today, and where L.G.B.T. rights are in the 2016 election.

May 12, 2016

Dan Savage Talks About Hillary’s LGBT Record

During an appearance on Stephen Colbert’s The Late Show on Monday, the gay activist explained that the Democratic front-runner has an “excellent” stance on LGBT issues.

He said: “Hillary Clinton is good on LGBT issues. She’s excellent on them. She wasn’t always good on gay marriage, but neither was Barack Obama. 

December 18, 2015

Is There One GOP Presidential Candidate who will do no harm to LGBT?


Donald Trump’s been accused of being a bully and a bigot. But he stands out among Republican presidential hopefuls for his comparative sensitivity to one politically potent minority group: the gay community.
Trump has advocated for banning workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation. He criticized a Kentucky county clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses after the U.S. Supreme Court found, earlier this year, that the Constitution protects the right of same-sex couples to marry. He is also one of only two Republican candidates — along with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie — that the Human Rights Campaign deems to have even a “mixed” record on gay rights
“He is one of the best, if not the best, pro-gay Republican candidates to ever run for the presidency,” said Gregory T. Angelo, president of the Log Cabin Republicans, an advocacy group for LGBT Republicans. Trump would do no harm on same-sex marriage, Angelo said, and has a “stand-out position” on non-discrimination legislation.
That’s not to say the real-estate mogul and former reality TV star trumps Democrats when it comes to issues of importance to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley are all vocal advocates for most of the priorities of the LGBT community. Nor does it mean gay and lesbian Republicans will ignore Trump’s treatment of other minority constituencies — or base their votes on LGBT issues.
But it does mean that Trump has an opening to draw support from gay Republicans in the primary, and that could matter in states where the LGBT community is particularly well organized. It also means he could get financial and political support from the Log Cabin Republicans and their allies in the general election. Whether or not he’s the favored Republican among gay and lesbian voters, Trump could be their ally if he makes it to the White House.
Social issues were absent from Tuesday’s Republican presidential primary debate in Las Vegas, the first GOP confab since the Paris and San Bernardino, California, terrorist attacks. But even without emphasizing his stance on issues important to LGBT voters — and perhaps in part because he doesn’t — Trump appears to be gaining traction with gay Republicans.
Pax Hart, a 45-year-old software engineer in New York, was a Rand Paul supporter and low-dollar donor until he saw video of Trump’s immigration speech in Phoenix, Arizona, this summer. Where some voters see xenophobia in Trump’s promise to build a wall between the United States and Mexico and his proposal to put a moratorium on Muslims traveling to the United States, Hart, who is gay, says he sees policies that would prevent dilution of LGBT rights in the country.
“We are importing people who are the absolute most hostile to gays and lesbians,” Hart said of discrimination against LGBT citizens in some Middle Eastern and Latin American countries. “We’re bringing in people who are indoctrinated that gays [should be] exterminated.”
As Hart points out, Trump is hardly emphasizing his positions on gay rights or social issues as he seeks the nomination in a party heavily influenced by religious conservatives.
“It’s not that he’s an advocate or anything like that,” Hart said. “It’s not an issue for him. It’s about fairness for him.”
But among the top candidates for the nomination, Trump’s tone, temperament and record are distinct.
Texas Senator Ted Cruz backs a constitutional amendment that would reverse the Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage and has opposed workplace anti-discrimination legislation. Likewise, Florida Senator Marco Rubio opposes marriage rights and efforts to ban employment discrimination. And Ben Carson, who is mostly in line with Cruz and Rubio on policy, has further angered LGBT-rights groups with his rhetoric.
Trump, too, opposes same-sex marriage. But he criticized the Kentucky clerk, and, in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter this year, he condemned Republican candidates who called for a reversal of the court’s judgment.
“Anybody that’s making that an issue is doing it for political reasons,” he said. “The Supreme Court ruled on it.”
Of course, Trump’s moderation on gay rights won’t bring him many votes from LGBT Democrats. Boasting a more tolerant record than the rest of the Republican Party hardly merits a medal, they say.
“The truth is if you are a Republican who is either gay or a Republican for whom gay rights are important, there is nobody in that field who is attractive to you,” Richard Socarides, a former top adviser to President Bill Clinton and prominent gay-rights advocate, said.
“Trump, because he was part of the New York business community and obviously knew a lot of gay people, probably has supported gay rights measures as one-offs,” Socarides said. “But at the core of the gay civil-rights movement, are ideas of diversity and inclusion. Of all the candidates he is probably the least supportive of diversity and inclusion.”
And therein lies the rub for Angelo’s Log Cabin Republicans. They have asked for an audience with Trump, and in January they are due to begin discussing their criteria for endorsing whomever the GOP nominates for president. Angelo qualified his praise for Trump’s record with the caveat that he’s been polarizing on other issues. That, Angelo said, “is something that should at least come into the discussion.”Since 1992, the Log Cabin Republicans have endorsed or withheld their endorsement from Republican nominees based on key issues. But Trump might be able garner its support.
Whether Trump’s record is good enough for Log Cabin Republicans, the Human Rights Campaign argues the differences between Trump and his GOP rivals are minimal on the issues of greatest importance to the LGBT community.
“Not one of the major Republican candidates supports the Equality Act, which would guarantee full federal equality for LGBT people by adding them to our nation’s civil rights laws,” said JoDee Winterhof, senior vice president of policy and political affairs at the organization. “Not one of them supports marriage equality, but several say they’ll appoint justices who’ll seek to overturn the Supreme Court’s ruling. Not one of them has vowed to protect President Obama’s executive order protecting LGBT federal contractors, though some have vowed to immediately repeal it. “Trump is no different, and he is not an ally of the LGBT community.”
The group’s website makes clear, however, that Trump is the least offensive of the Republican candidates for supporters of LGBT rights — with the possible exception of Christie. Though Trump can’t expect to pick up support from large numbers of gay and lesbian Democrats in a general election, his record and rhetoric may win him the backing of LGBT Republicans in the primary, and, if he wins the nomination, next November.
By Jonathan Jacob Allen

October 29, 2015

How Bernie Evolved on Gay Marriage

 Bernie Sanders (wikipedia)

He's long opposed anti-gay laws, but he was not an advocate for gay marriage until recently

At a marquee event on Saturday one hundred days before the Iowa caucuses, Bernie Sanders went after Hillary Clinton’s record on gay rights.

With Clinton waiting nearby, Sanders blamed her for supporting the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which barred federal recognition of gay marriage, arguing that she is now misleading the public about her past views when she says that she only supported the law to prevent a constitutional amendment.

“Today, some are trying to rewrite history by saying they voted for one anti-gay law to stop something worse,” Sanders told a group of top Democratic organizers, without saying Clinton’s name. “That’s not the case! There was a small minority opposed to discriminating against our gay brothers and sisters, and I am proud that I was one of those members!”

With both Democratic contenders mostly in agreement on the topic today, the Vermont Senator is criticizing the former Secretary of State’s past positions, attempting to tie them to a broader critique that she does what is politically expedient.

By all measures, Sanders was ahead of his time in supporting gay rights. In 1983, as mayor of Burlington, he signed a Gay Pride Day proclamation calling it a civil rights issue. He was one of just 67 members in the House of Representatives to vote against the Defense of Marriage Act, a politically tough decision he prides himself on and points to as a key progressive bona fide. Sanders opposed Don’t Ask Don’t Tell in 1993, another President Bill Clinton-era policy, and supported civil unions in Vermont in 2000.

“I’m not evolving when it comes to gay rights. I was there,” Sanders told the New York Times earlier this year.
But his record on gay marriage is more complicated than he now makes it sound. While Sanders generally opposed measures to ban gay marriage, he did not speak out in favor of it until 2009. That’s still ahead of Clinton, who released a YouTube video announcing her support in 2013, as well as most other Democratic Senators, but not as early as he’s now casting it.

In addition, his reasoning for opposing efforts to restrict gay marriage was much narrower and legalistic than he now makes it seem.

When Sanders was asked on Sunday about his vote against the Defense of Marriage Act on CNN, he said that he believed back in 1996 that gay couples had the right to gay marriage. “I thought then and I think now that people have the right to love those folks that they want to love and get married regardless of their sexual orientation,” he said.

That wasn’t the answer his staff gave in 1996, however. His wife and chief of staff Jane Sanders told an Associated Press reporter in July of 1996 that he opposed the law because it weakened the section of the Constitution that says states must respect laws that are made in other states.

“We’re not legislating values. We have to follow the Constitution,” Jane Sanders said. “And anything that weakens the Constitution should be (addressed) by a constitutional amendment, not by a law passed by Congress.”

In 1999, the Vermont Supreme Court ruled that the state had to guarantee protections and benefits to gay couples, a stop short of legalizing gay marriage. Sanders approved of the decision.

“The Vermont Supreme Court has unanimously ruled that under the Vermont Constitution, all citizens of the state have the same right to the benefits of marriage,” Sanders said at the time. “I applaud that decision. Vermont has once again shown itself to be a leader in the struggle for human rights.”

But the court also said that the Vermont legislature should decide the issue. Many prominent Democrats, including Sanders’ successor as mayor of Burlington and a gubernatorial nominee, spoke out in favor of gay marriage, but Sanders kept mum.

Peter Freyne, a locally beloved Vermont writer and opinion writer whom Sanders later lauded as “the best political reporter in the state of Vermont,” accused the then-Congressman of obfuscating on his gay rights position.

“Obtaining Congressman Bernie Sanders’ position on the gay marriage issue was like pulling teeth … from a rhinoceros,” Freyne wrote. Freyne described repeated attempts to hear Sanders’ views on gay marriage, and the congressman only said he “supports the current process” in the state legislature. Though Sanders was not in the Vermont state legislature at the time, it was a hot topic in his home state at the time.

“It’s an election year, yet despite the lack of a serious challenger, The Bern’s gut-level paranoia is acting up,” Freyne wrote.

In 2006, when the Bush White House proposed an amendment to the Constitution defining marriage as between a man and a woman, Sanders spoke out against the Republican plan, saying it was “designed to divide the American people.” 

But when Sanders was asked by a reporter whether Vermont should legalize same-sex marriage, he said no. “Not right now, not after what we went through,” he said.

That same year, Sanders was asked in a debate during his first run for the Senate about a Massachusetts state court decision that legalized gay marriage. The debate moderator wanted to know if Sanders thought the federal government should overturn that decision. He responded by talking about states’ rights, which is an argument often used by politicians who have argued against federal recognition of gay marriage as well.

“I believe the federal government should not be involved in overturning Massachusetts or any other state because I think the whole issue of marriage is a state issue,” Sanders said in the 2006 debate.

It wasn’t until 2009 that Sanders publicly voiced support for gay marriage, years after many of his contemporaries in Vermont. The state legislature voted to legalize gay marriage that March and overrode a gubernatorial veto to pass it into law in April. It’s unclear when exactly Sanders took his position. When asked, his campaign provided a news article from July of that year which noted that he had “previously supported” it.

But a Sanders’ campaign spokesman, Michael Briggs, stressed that he has a “long and consistent record on gay rights.” He pointed to a YouTube video showing Sanders taking a fellow member of Congress to task over Don’t Ask Don’t Tell in 1995.

“You said something about ‘homos’ in the military,” Sanders said. “Was the gentleman referring to the many thousands and thousands of gay people who have put their lives on the line in countless wars defending this country? Is that the group of the people the gentleman was referring to? You used the word homos. You have insulted thousands of men and women who have put their lives on the line. I think you owe them an apology.”


October 6, 2015

Hillary Makes LGBT Rights a Cornerstone of her Campaign for President


Hillary Rodham Clinton on Saturday delivered the strongest speech in support of gay rights in the 2016 presidential race on Saturday, promising that ending discrimination against gay, lesbian and transgender people would be a central pillar of her administration.

"I see the injustices and the dangers that you and your families still face," she told hundreds of gay activists at the annual meeting of the Human Rights Campaign. "I'm running for president to stand up for the fundamental rights of LGBT Americans."
She added: Thats a promise from one HRC to another."

The statement marked a remarkable evolution for Clinton, who opposed same-sex marriage for more than two decades in public life as first lady, senator and presidential candidate. As recently as this year, Clinton said that while she personally supported gay marriage, the issue was best left for states to decide —a position held by most of the Republican presidential field.
Since then, Clinton has placed equal rights at the forefront of her campaign, in part a reflection of the growing political and financial strength of the gay community in Democratic politics.

Vice President Joe Biden, who is considering a 2016 run, gave the keynote address to the group's star-studded dinner, where he called transgender rights "the civil rights issue of our time" and issued the Obama administration's most unequivocal statement of support to date for allowing transgender people to serve openly in the U.S military. As he spoke to the crowd of 3,000, he was interrupted by a loud shout of "You should run."
"There's homophobes still left. Most of them are running for president, Biden said, in a pointed jab at the Republican White House hopefuls.

Clinton, in her appearance, said she has been "fighting alongside you and others for equal rights and I'm just getting warmed up."
As activists chanted her name, she promised to work to pass legislation that would end discrimination, lower costs for HIV treatment and stop funding child welfare agencies that discriminate against gay parents.

She committed to pushing equal rights in the military, including for transgender people. Defense Secretary Ash Carter has said the Pentagon's current regulations banning transgender individuals from serving in the military are outdated. He has ordered a study aimed at ending one of the last gender- or sexuality-based barriers to military service.
Clinton's remarks, particularly on the transgender issue, were some of the strongest in the presidential campaign. "We need to say with one voice that transgender people are valued," she said. They are loved and they are us."

This summer, her campaign jumped on the Supreme Court's watershed same-sex marriage decision, changing Clinton's red campaign logo to a rainbow colored H, releasing a video of gay wedding ceremonies and sending supportive tweets.
Clinton said Saturday that the courts decision could be overturned, should a Republican win the White House next year and appoint conservative justices.

The Human Rights Campaign made its first presidential endorsement in 1992, backing Bill Clinton, and Hillary Clinton cast herself as a champion for their cause. In 2008, the group stayed out of the primary fight, siding with then-Illinois Sen. Barack Obama a day before Clinton dropped out of the race.
Clinton credited the organization with influencing her views.

"I'm really here to say thank you for your hard work and your courage and for insisting that right is right," she said. "You helped change a lot of minds. Including mine."
Clinton backed her husband's Defense of Marriage Act in 1996, and said in a Senate speech in 2004 that marriage between a man and a woman was a "fundamental bedrock principle." In 2007, she dodged when asked whether she agreed with a statement from the then-Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman that homosexuality was immoral.

But like much of the Democratic Party and the country, her position shifted in recent years. As secretary of state, Clinton said at a 2011 conference in Geneva that "gay rights are human rights, and human rights are gay rights."
She referenced that statement two years later when she released a video saying she backed gay marriage "personally, and as a matter of policy and law." In April, her campaign released a statement voicing her support for making gay marriage a constitutional right.

But as recently as a year ago, she was still struggling to explain her switch in position.
"You are trying to say that I used to be opposed and now I am in favor and I did it for political reasons," she said, in an tense exchange last June with NPR's Terry Gross. "That's just flat wrong."
Her pivot on the issue may give her primary opponents a chance to broadcast their liberal credentials, allowing them to point out that they came to the right side of history years before Clinton.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, a 2016 rival, voted against the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act when he was in the House. His home state was the first to legalize same-sex unions in 2000 and gay marriage through legislative action in 2009 — both efforts Sanders backed. This spring, he told the Washington Blade that hed make a point to talk about transgender issues during his campaign.

"All I can say is I think I have one of the strongest, if not the strongest record, in the United States Congress on LGBT issues," Sanders said the May interview. "My record speaks for itself, and I will compare it to any candidate who is out there."
Biden won praise by endorsing gay marriage ahead of the 2012 election and became the highest elected official to support what was then a highly charged political issue. Obama followed soon after.
Associated Press writer Josh Lederman

March 31, 2015

RahmRambo Says He is a “Jerk" and "He knows it” but not sorry for his 4 years of Accomplishments

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has built his political career on his unapologetically confrontational approach to, well, everything. But now, amid a surprisingly competitive runoff race for a second term, Emanuel is confessing that his brash personality isn't always such a good thing.
Rahm Emanuel: 'I can rub people the wrong way'(0:31)
Chicago mayoral candidate and former Obama chief of staff Rahm Emanuel ran this ad, in which he says, "I can rub people the wrong way, I can talk when I should listen. I own that, but I’m driven to make a difference." (Rahm Emanuel via YouTube)
The 30-second ad, which began running on Tuesday in Chicago, shows a very different side of Emanuel -- all soft-spokenness and humility. "I can rub people the wrong way. Or talk when I should listen," Emanuel acknowledges in the spot. "I own that." Later, he admits: "I'm not going to always get it right."
What would make the man who embraced the nickname "Rahmbo" so contrite, so suddenly? Maybe the prospect of losing a race that prior to the Feb. 24 primary no one thought he could lose. Or post-primary polling that suggests Jesus "Chuy" Garcia has a genuine chance of pulling what would have to be considered a massive upset.
Emanuel is trying to make a simple argument in this ad: I may be a jerk (and I know I am one and I'm sorry), but I'm your jerk. And don't let my abrasiveness get in the way of the accomplishments I have racked up in my first four years.
Will it work? Who knows. But that Emanuel is trying it speaks to just how worried he is.
 who writes “The Fix,” a politics blog for the Washington Post. He also covers the White House.

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