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Convention Notes
 

July 2016

 

Week 1: RNC / Donald Trump


Were LGBTQ issues mentioned during the Republican National Convention in Cleveland?  Yes. 

 

“As your president I will do everything in my power to protect LGBTQ citizens,” Donald Trump said during his 76-minute long speech.  Donald Trump surprised the Republican National Convention when he broke from party tradition on Thursday to give a historic shout-out to the LGBT community.
 

Peter Thiel, the billionaire co-founder of PayPal, became the first openly gay man to speak at the Republican National Convention in 16 years, and the only gay speaker at the Cleveland gathering.  He declared to the RNC that he is "proud to be gay," becoming the first speaker in the party's history to do so from the stage of the Republican National Convention.

 

 

Peter Thiel encouraged the GOP to not get distracted by culture wars, saluting Donald Trump for not focusing on such things as he made history.  "Every American has a unique identity. I am proud to be gay," he said to applause, including from the Trump family. "I am proud to be a Republican, but most of all I am proud to be an American."  He warned the party against fighting on social issues and encouraged Republicans to let transgender people use whichever bathroom they want to use.  "This is a distraction from our real problems. Who cares?"

 

This public embrace comes despite the party’s official platform, which was one of its most regressive this year in terms of LGBT rights. “I won’t pretend to agree with every plank in our party’s platform,” Theil said toward the end of his speech, acknowledging a platform that has been dubbed the most anti-LGBT policy statement from a party that has never fully embraced gay rights.

Three different RNC speakers spoke about LGBT equality in their speeches. Lynne Patton, the vice president of the Eric Trump Foundation, shocked delegates with three short words: “LGBTQ lives matter.”  Ted Cruz, who disappointed raised more than a few eyebrows when he gave LGBT rights a shout, telling the audience, “Freedom means religious freedom, whether you are Christian or Jew, Muslim or atheist, gay or straight.”  Newt Gingrich also acknowledged gay and lesbians in his speech.

 

Additionally, Juliana Bergerom, a New Hampshire delegate, said she was happy to have a gay person take the stage at the Republican National Convention. "It shows that we're all different -- and it shouldn't matter," she said.

 

“This week, the Republican party hosted the most pro-LGBT convention in its history,” according to the president of Log Cabin Republicans, Gregory T. Angelo.

 

LINKS:

 

The Wrap: Trump Gives Shout Out to LGBT Community

CNN: Peter Thiel Speaks at Republic National Convention

Washington Blade: Trump Makes History

The Wrap: Peter Thiel Makes History at RNC

NBC News: Peter Thiel Comes Out at RNC

Vanity Fair: First Openly Gay Speaker at RNC

FOX Philadelphia: LGBT Community Reacts to Trump's Speech

 

Week 2: DNC /Hillary Clinton

 

Week two is underway and the American public will have a chance to see if LGBTQ issues will be mentioned at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.

 

Gay rights — and the Republican Party's complicated relationship with the issue — is likely play a prominent role at the Democratic National Convention, with Donald Trump's stated embrace of the "LGBTQ community" still lingering in the air.

 



"I expect Democratic leaders to directly denounce his veiled attempt to suggest he's anything but an enemy of LGBT rights," said Eric Stern, the director of LGBT outreach for the Democratic National Committee during the 2004 presidential campaign. "It's firing people up, both people who are members of the community, and allies of the community. It's engaging us like never before."

 

Democrats are expected to call attention to their historic support for gay marriage. The Co-Chair of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus, New York Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, and LGBT rights activist Sarah McBride have prime speaking spots. The 2012 Democratic convention featured three openly gay members of Congress as speakers and a record number of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender delegates hailing from all 50 states.

The party is also expected to call for more action on LGBT issues, including the passage of a civil rights bill and a rejection of laws that allow discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation.

David Mixner, a longtime Democratic strategist and an LGBT rights advocate who has worked on several presidential campaigns, acknowledged the historic nature of Trump's comments, but said it would take more than that to match the Democrats' record on gay rights.

 

"We are going to see national leaders from around the country come here and talk about why LGBT rights are American rights, are civil rights, are human rights," said Rep. Brian Sims (D-Philadelphia).

The Democratic platform this year is the most progressive in LGBT history, promoting absolute full equality under the law.
 

LINKS:

 

Roll Call: Wider Embrace of LGBT Rights Expected at DNC

ABC Philadelphia: LGBT Community Beaming with Pride

Washington Blade: DNC Names Director of LGBT Engagement

 


Political Updates

 

May 2016

 

25 Congressional Democrats Send Message of Support to LGBT People

Thanks to Loretta Lynch We're About to Be Normal

Donald Trump Message to Bullying Victims: Get Over It

Victory Fund: LGBT Political Internship

Gay Dad's Open Letter to Donald Trump

 


Donald Trump and LGBT Issues
 

June 2016

 

Now that Donald Trump is the presumptive Republican candidate in the 2016 presidential elections, voters need to be aware of his views on LGBT rights.

 

The Human Rights Campaign reports that Donald Trump opposes nationwide marriage equality. Donald Trump has been a consistent opponent of marriage equality. While he once said he supported protecting gays and lesbians from discrimination in the workplace by adding sexual orientation to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, more recently he expressed support for the so-called First Amendment Defense Act (FADA) which would expose LGBT people to more discrimination.  Trump also said that, if elected president, he would “Strongly Consider” appointing judges to overturn the Same-Sex Marriage Decision.

 

 

On discrimination, Trump has a mixed record. He’s said that federal law should protect people from discrimination based on sexual orientation. He said the Civil Rights Act of 1964 should be amended to include sexual orientation, and he said there should be “no discrimination against gays.” He also disagreed with Kentucky clerk Kim Davis, who refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, then later said he never opposed her. But he has expressed support for the so-called First Amendment Defense Act (FADA) which would lead to more Kim Davis like discrimination.

 

LINKS:

 

Gay Dad's Open Letter to Donald Trump

HRC: Trump Opposes Nationwide Marriage Equality

GLAAD: Trump's Bad Deal for Equality

Pat Robertson Hopes Trump Will Quash LGBT Rights

Advocate: LGBT Voters Are Rejecting Trump

Huff Post: LGBT People Are Targets of Trump's Bigotry

Trump: Trust Me to Overturn Gay Marriage Decision

NY Times: Trump May Have Accepting Views of LGBT Issues

 


Presidential Candidate's Views on LGBT Rights
 

April 2016

 

Twenty years ago, when Republican politicians uttered a word about the LGBT community, it was usually “sodomy.” Democrats were hardly more evolved—after all, it was Bill Clinton who silenced military gays with Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and locked out same-sex marriage with the Defense of Marriage Act. How times have changed.

 

This election year, LGBT rights are among the main issues driving the electorate toward or away from the leading presidential candidates in both parties. Whether it’s to show support or to denounce recent changes, like the Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage decision, every candidate is expected to address LGBT rights at length.  For the first time in U.S. history, entire campaigns can be sidetracked by a few comments about the equality of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans.

LGBT citizens have gained more political footing and legal equality in the past 10 years than possibly in the history of human existence.   While that means a renewed sense of fight for many candidates on the right, it also means they have to choose words carefully. Republicans are saying things about LGBT rights these days that sound more polite than ever before, but that also carry the potential to erode those rights when read between the lines.

Similarly, the Democrats are making more promises than ever before, and shooting campaign videos that feature LGBT couples for the first time. But do they really mean it?

No acting president ever mentioned the LGBT community in an inaugural address before President Barack Obama did so in 2013—and then only in his second term, considered a kind of political safe-zone, where a president can really let loose. In 2015, he became the first U.S. President to ever pose for a gay magazine. But even Obama opposed marriage equality early in his career, saying in his 2004 Senate race that “marriage is something sanctified between a man and a woman.”

The point is, the nation is quickly playing catch-up on LGBT rights after decades of oppression and invisibility. LGBT citizens have gained more political footing and legal equality in the past 10 years than possibly in the history of human existence. In order to cast a fully informed vote in the 2016 presidential race, it’s imperative that you understand where each candidate stands on the issues.

 

(From Daily Dot)


LINKS:

 

Ballotpedia: Presidential Candidates on Gay Rights

Anti-LGBT Remarks and Actions From Presidential Candidates

Time Mag: Where Do Presidential Candidates Stand on LGBT Issues?

Esquire Mag: Where Do the Candidates Stand on Same Sex Marriage and More?

HRC: Highlighting Candidates' Records on LGBT Equality

Daily Dot: Voter's Guide to 2016 Presidential Candidate's Views on LGBT Issues

 


2016 Presidential Elections and LGBT Issues
 

November 2015

 

When we talk about 2016 presidential candidates, their stance on a variety of issues becomes key for many voters. For many, immigration and economic strategy are the most focused on considerations. But for others, social issues come into play very strongly, in particular issues of equality, whether it be racial tensions in America over distrust of those in power and in law enforcement or rights-related concerns for the LGBT community.

 

The latter is of particular concern when it comes to the Republican party. While the GOP has begun to shift opinion on LGBT issues and concerns, as have most Americans over the last decade or two — including Democrats — the rate and uniformity of this shift has been slower and less comprehensive for the right than it has been for the left. Still, it’s important to qualify that many Democrats also have changed with the times from a previously negative, or at least non-committal stance on same-sex marriage and issues of sexuality and gender.
 

LINKS:

 

Ballotpedia: Presidential Candidates on Gay Rights

HRC: Highlighting Candidates' Records on LGBT Equality

Cheat Sheet: What Do Candidates Think About Same Sex Marriage?

Huffington Post: Donald Trump and Gay Marriage

Huffington Post: Ben Carson and Gay Marriage

Advocate: Bernie Sanders and LGBT Rights

Ben Carson's Comments on Trans People

Marco Rubio: Ignore Supreme Court Ruling on Gay Marriage and Follow God's Rules

 


LGBT Political News
 

August 2014

 

Texas Congressman Wants to Put Gay People on Island to See If They'll Die Out

Gay Politics: Updates From Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund

LGBT Politics: Huffington Post Updates

Hilary Clinton Confronts Rick Perry's Anti-Gay Comments

President Obama: Family Leave Rights Extended to Gay Couples

Anti-Gay Tenn Lawmaker Loses Primary Election

Judge Sutton and the Gay Rights Vote in Tennessee

Comprehensive LGBT Civil Rights Bill is Needed

Status of Marriage Equality in Virginia

 


Political Updates
 

July 2013

 

US Senate Appoints Openly Gay Ambassadors

Delaware Lawmaker Weds in State's First Same-Sex Marriage Ceremony

Pres Obama Appoints 2 More Openly Gay Men to Diplomatic Posts

Anti-Gay Candidates in Virginia Politics

GOP Reaffirms: We Still Think Gay Marriage is Wrong

Rick Santorum's Views on Gay Marriage

Indiana Politician Says Gay Marriage is Harmful

List of Openly Gay US Politicians

Tammy Baldwin: First Openly Gay Person Elected to US Senate

 


Obama Re-Elected on  Pro-Gay Platform

 

November 2012

 

"I believe we can keep the promise of our founders, the idea that if you’re willing to work hard, it doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from or what you look like or who you love. It doesn’t matter whether you’re black or white or Hispanic or Asian or Native American or young or old or rich or poor, able, disabled, gay or straight, you can make it here in America if you’re willing to try."

-Barack Obama

 

The Presidential Election is over, the votes have been counted, and the results are in.  President Barack Obama was re-elected for a second term of office.  Governor Mitt Romney was defeated after a very contentious and polarizing campaign during which a sharp contrast was drawn between pro-LGBT and anti-LGBT platforms.  Obama received 303 electoral votes.  Romney received 206 electoral votes.

 

 

With Obama's victory comes a victory for the LGBT community. Two more states (Maine and Maryland) have been added to the list of states legalizing gay marriage.  Obama's LGBT-friendly platform supports LGBT rights and same-sex marriage.  Oh, and a lesbian couple got engaged at an Obama election night celebration party n Maryland.

 

In the aftermath of the election, there is much room for optimism.

 

Jessica Merchant, ALGBTICAL President, stated:  "This is almost the best morning ever for enthusiasm and hope for equality!  Second only to marrying my wife!" 

 

Frank Hrabe, ALGBTICAL Co-Founder, said:  "I didn’t think I would be as optimistic as I am this morning.  What a great morning for Equality!  A President who is on record supporting marriage equality,  our first LGBT member of the US Senate, other allies elected to the Senate.  More LGBT members in the House.  Then two states vote for marriage equality and two other races yet to be decided.  Add to that, as far as I know this hasn’t happened before, a state that all major elected positions are held by women.  New Hampshire now has a woman holding each US Senate seat, each seat in the House, and a woman Governor.  Times they are a changing."

 

 

Mark Leggett, ALGBTICAL Past President, said: "I'm just giddy with excitement!"

 

Glenda Elliott, ALGBTICAL Co-Founder, added some sobering thoughts:  "At the same time, we did experience some losses by allies here in Alabama. The defeat of Robert Vance by Roy Moore is very troubling to me. Also, Lucy Baxley was a quiet ally. On the local level, we lost a Republican ally in Judge Brian Huff, from Birmingham Family Court. This fall he agreed to the establishment of a nondiscrimination policy inclusive of sexual orientation and gender identity and expression for all Family Court workers as well as youth served by the Court. He followed up the policy by allowing and promoting a training in October for Family Court workers on issues for LGBTQ youth. He had hoped to promote similar training in the Family Court system statewide. So, we do still have much work to do here in Alabama!"

 

 

LINKS:

 

President Delighted About LGBT Wins

Obama Victory Speech: The Best is Yet to Come

Transcript of Victory Speech

Politico: 2012 Presidential Election Results

Gay Marriage Victories in Maine and Maryland
Slate: How Gay Marriage Won at the Polls

Lesbian Couple Gets Engaged at Obama Election Night Celebration
LGBT Celebrities Sound Off

Tammy Baldwin: First Openly Gay Senator

SPLC: For Radical Right, Obama Victory Brings Fury and Fear

 


Tammy Baldwin Wins in US Senate

 

November 2012

 

Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D) beat former Governor Tommy Thompson (R) to represent Wisconsin in the US Senate. Baldwin is the first openly gay US Senator and the first female Senator to represent Wisconsin. Baldwin's win keeps the Senate seat long held by retiring Sen. Herb Kohl in Democratic hands, and ends a bitter race that pitted two long-time Wisconsin politicians against each other.

 

 

Opponent Tommy Thompson, a former Wisconsin governor and Republican presidential contender, was well known in the state and nationally. And Baldwin served three terms in the Wisconsin Assembly before successfully running for Congress. In her victory speech in Wisconsin, Baldwin acknowledged that she makes history as both Wisconsin's first female senator and the country's first openly gay senator.  "Now, I am well aware that I will have the honor of being Wisconsin's first woman senator. And I am well aware that I will be the first openly gay member," Baldwin said to loud cheers and chants of "Tammy, Tammy!" from her supporters. "But I didn't run to make history. I ran to make a difference."  Baldwin said she believes that she and tea party Republican Sen. Ron Johnson can find common ground to help the state despite being on opposite ends of the political spectrum.

 

LINKS:


Baldwin Reflects on Victory

Wisconsin Elects First Openly Gay Senator
Baldwin Wins Wisconsin Senate Race

Baldwin Wins Wisconsin, Becomes First Openly Gay Senator

Tammy Baldwin and Krysten Sinema

 


Party Matters: Fight for LGBT Equality

 

October 2012

 

Commentary From Rep. Barney Frank

The 2012 US Presidential Election is just around the corner.  Just in time for election day, in a recent commentary featured in the Huffington Post, US Representative Barney Frank made the following statement:

"From the standpoint of legal equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, the upcoming elections will be the most important in our history. In decades, there has not been a sharper distinction between the two parties on any issue than there is today on LGBT legal equality. President Obama, the Democratic platform and the overwhelming majority of Democrats in Congress support abolishing the restriction on federal recognition of same-sex marriages in states that recognize them and support an LGBT employment nondiscrimination act. Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, the Republican platform and more than 90 percent of congressional Republicans strongly oppose them.  If you care strongly about LGBT issues, the case for voting Democratic is very clear.  The facts are clear: There is simply no logical basis whatsoever for arguing that voting for Republicans this year is a good way to advance LGBT legal equality."

 

LINK:

 

Huffington Post: Party Matters in the Fight for LGBT Equality

 

 


LGBT Issues in Spotlight at Convention

 

September 2012

 

As the two major American political parties wrap up their individual conventions, voters are left with a lot to consider regarding the two presidential candidates.  The Republican National Convention, held in Tampa, nominated Mitt Romney, while the Democratic National Convention, held in Charlotte, backed President Barack Obama for another term.

 

 

 

Both conventions played host to a lot of rhetoric and gave voters much to mull over.  For citizens listening closely, this time around, for clues that reveal the candidates' platform on critical issues related to LGBT concerns, there was a sharp contrast.  LGBT concerns, including support for marriage equality and LGBT persons serving in the military, were repeatedly expressed in speech after speech during the DNC.  Meanwhile, during the RNC, not a word was uttered about LGBT persons except to reiterate their support of "traditional" marriage.

 

More precisely, Democrats chose specific vocabulary when discussing LGBT issues at the convention.  Instead of using the term “sexual orientation,” it was about “who you love.”  This election featured the DNC's first-ever plank endorsing same-sex marriage.  More than a dozen speakers mentioned LGBT equality on the first two nights of the Democratic convention. Openly gay speakers got primetime billing. A record-setting 8 percent of delegates are LGBT. The party’s unprecedented embrace of gay equality comes a week after Joe Biden thanked gay rights advocates in Provincetown for “freeing the soul of the American people.” The gay rights movement, said the vice president, was advancing the “civil rights of every straight American.” For gay people’s “courage,” he said, “We owe you.”

 

 

For the first time ever, Democrats at their most public, high-profile moment are treating gay rights as a political winner. And they’re moving along with public opinion.  In the latest Harris Interactive poll, 52 percent of likely voters favored same-sex marriage, including 70 percent of Democrats and 55 percent of independents. LGBT speakers and issues were in the spotlight at the DNC.  Zack Wahl's spoke about being raised by two mothers.  Army Captain Jason Crow commended Obama for ending Don't Ask Don't Tell.  Lesbian Latina law student Alejandra Salinas spoke in support of Obama.  And two very high-profile openly gay public officials...  Reps. Barney Frank (D-Mass)...  and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis)...  also took to the stage. 

 

First Lady Michelle Obama notably put gay marriage in a particularly august civil-rights pantheon as part of a crescendo late in her speech: “If a young preacher could lift us to the mountain top with his righteous dream, and if proud Americans can be who they are and boldly stand at the altar with who they love, then surely, surely, we can give everyone in this country a fair chance at that great American dream.”
 

And particularly notable, given the fear that gripped Democrats over this issue in 2004 and the reticence with which they approached it in 2008, Rahm Emanuel even auditioned marriage as a wedge issue:  “Whose leadership, whose judgment, whose values do you want in the White House when that crisis lands like a thud on the Oval Office desk? … A person who wanted to keep don't ask, don't tell or a president who believes that who you love should not keep you from serving the country you love?”

 

LINKS:

 

Democratic National Convention Website
Washington Blade: LGBT Speakers and Issues at DNC

San Diego LGBT News: Openly Gay Calif Assemblyman at DNC

Washington Post: Convention Speakers Worth Hearing
Huffington Post: Zack Wahls Speaking at DNC
Washington Blade: LGBT Delegates at DNC

Slate: DNC Talking About LGBT Issues
Daily Beast: Why Dems Backed LGBT PLatform
C-SPAN: LGBT Issues at DNC
CBS News: Gay Rights in the Spotlight at DNC
Internatl Bus Times: Dems Embrace Gay Equality Like Never Before

Slate: Gay is Good for America

 

 

First Openly Lesbian Congress Woman

 

"If you dream of a world in which you can put your partner's picture on your desk, then put her picture on your desk...and you will live in such a world.  And if you dream of a world in which you can walk down the street holding your partner's hand, then hold her hands...and you will live in such a world.  If you dream of a world in which there are more openly gay elected officials,  then run for office...and you will live in such a world. And if you dream of a world in which you can take your partner to the office party, even if your office is the US House of Representatives, then take her to the party. I do, and now I live in such a world. Remember, there are two things that keep us oppressed --- them and us. We are half of the equation."

-Tammy Baldwin, US Congress

 

State Rep. Tammy Baldwin has made history by becoming the first openly gay first-time candidate ever elected to Congress, winning Wisconsin's 2nd congressional district seat over Josephine Musser. While four openly gay men have served in the House, all disclosed their sexual orientation after first being elected to their posts. Baldwin also becomes the first lesbian to win a House election. The 2nd district seat was vacated by moderate Republican Scott Klug. He successfully held onto this Democratic-leaning district, which includes Madison, for four terms by veering from his party's orthodoxy and working hard.
 

 

His retirement was expected to hand this seat to the Democrats, but that was thrown into some doubt as Baldwin's liberal politics and sexual orientation were expected to be a hard sell in conservative rural and suburban areas of the district. A GOP primary that drew six hopefuls was won by state insurance commissioner Musser, a moderate who has Klug-like appeal. On the campaign trail, Baldwin tried to focus the spotlight on the issues rather than her sexual orientation. She stuck with traditional Democratic themes such as universal health coverage. Musser portrayed her opponent as a single issue candidate. But Baldwin denied the charge, pointing to her work on prisons, health and campaign finance reform issues. A former nurse and health care consultant, Musser also spoke about health care reform. Like her Democratic challenger, she is pro-choice.


Musser diverged dramatically with the more conservative side of her party on several key issues: She said she supports a ban on some types of late-term abortions only if there are exceptions for the life and health of the mother; she opposes a constitutional amendment barring flag desecration; and she would not support legislation to ban gay marriage. The Republican candidate was known during the campaign as being blunt and a self-described "difficult person to manage," having gone through four campaign managers over the course of the race. The race for Wisconsin's 2nd congressional district was one of the few match-ups this year between two women.

LINKS:


CNN: Baldwin Becomes First Openly Lesbian House Member
About: Out Lesbian Congress Woman
Tammy Baldwin: US House of Representatives
Tammy Baldwin for Congress
Wikipedia: Tammy Baldwin

 


Obama's Support of LGBT Community

"While we have come a long way since the Stonewall riots in 1969, we still have a lot of work to do. Too often, the issue of LGBT rights is exploited by those seeking to divide us. But at its core, this issue is about who we are as Americans. It's about whether this nation is going to live up to its founding promise of equality by treating all its citizens with dignity and respect."
-Barack Obama, June 1, 2007
 


Here is an overview of President Obama's agenda regarding gay and lesbian rights, as stated on the official White House website:

Expand Hate Crimes Statutes: In 2004, crimes against LGBT Americans constituted the third-highest category of hate crime reported and made up more than 15 percent of such crimes. President Obama cosponsored legislation that would expand federal jurisdiction to include violent hate crimes perpetrated because of race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, or physical disability. As a state senator, President Obama passed tough legislation that made hate crimes and conspiracy to commit them against the law.

Fight Workplace Discrimination:
President Obama supports the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, and believes that our anti-discrimination employment laws should be expanded to include sexual orientation and gender identity. While an increasing number of employers have extended benefits to their employees' domestic partners, discrimination based on sexual orientation in the workplace occurs with no federal legal remedy. The President also sponsored legislation in the Illinois State Senate that would ban employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

Support Full Civil Unions and Federal Rights for LGBT Couples: President Obama supports full civil unions that give same-sex couples legal rights and privileges equal to those of married couples. Obama also believes we need to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and enact legislation that would ensure that the 1,100+ federal legal rights and benefits currently provided on the basis of marital status are extended to same-sex couples in civil unions and other legally-recognized unions. These rights and benefits include the right to assist a loved one in times of emergency, the right to equal health insurance and other employment benefits, and property rights.

Oppose a Constitutional Ban on Same-Sex Marriage: President Obama voted against the Federal Marriage Amendment in 2006 which would have defined marriage as between a man and a woman and prevented judicial extension of marriage-like rights to same-sex or other unmarried couples.

Repeal Don't Ask-Don't Tell: President Obama agrees with former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff John Shalikashvili and other military experts that we need to repeal the "don't ask, don't tell" policy. The key test for military service should be patriotism, a sense of duty, and a willingness to serve. Discrimination should be prohibited. The U.S. government has spent millions of dollars replacing troops kicked out of the military because of their sexual orientation. Additionally, more than 300 language experts have been fired under this policy, including more than 50 who are fluent in Arabic. The President will work with military leaders to repeal the current policy and ensure it helps accomplish our national defense goals.

Expand Adoption Rights:
President Obama believes that we must ensure adoption rights for all couples and individuals, regardless of their sexual orientation. He thinks that a child will benefit from a healthy and loving home, whether the parents are gay or not.

Promote AIDS Prevention:
In the first year of his presidency, President Obama will develop and begin to implement a comprehensive national HIV/AIDS strategy that includes all federal agencies. The strategy will be designed to reduce HIV infections, increase access to care and reduce HIV-related health disparities. The President will support common sense approaches including age-appropriate sex education that includes information about contraception, combating infection within our prison population through education and contraception, and distributing contraceptives through our public health system. The President also supports lifting the federal ban on needle exchange, which could dramatically reduce rates of infection among drug users. President Obama has also been willing to confront the stigma -- too often tied to homophobia -- that continues to surround HIV/AIDS.

Empower Women to Prevent HIV/AIDS:
In the United States, the percentage of women diagnosed with AIDS has quadrupled over the last 20 years. Today, women account for more than one quarter of all new HIV/AIDS diagnoses. President Obama introduced the Microbicide Development Act, which will accelerate the development of products that empower women in the battle against AIDS. Microbicides are a class of products currently under development that women apply topically to prevent transmission of HIV and other infections.

LINKS:

 

Official White House Website 
Message From President Barack Obama About Bullying: It Gets Better
 


Hate Talk From Oklahoma Lawmaker

"I honestly think it's the biggest threat our nation has, even more so than terrorism or Islam."
-SALLY KERN, Oklahoma State Representative

 

 

Message From Joe Solmonese, HRC President: That's from an Oklahoma lawmaker's speech about gay people. You heard right. A secret recording has just emerged of State Rep. Sally Kern speaking to a Republican group in January, where she equates both sexual orientation and religion with terrorism.  She thought no one was listening. Now hundreds of thousands are. And despite her refusal to apologize, we won't let her get away with this.

Click here for the HRC Report and to hear the actually recording


Tell Oklahoma's governor and top legislators to publicly denounce Kern's remarks. This recording, first released in a video by the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, is all the more troubling given the recent spate of hate violence against gay and transgender youth.


Last month in California, a 15-year-old boy, Lawrence King, who suffered taunting and bullying by his classmates because of his sexual orientation, was killed by one of those classmates – a 14-year-old boy. The week after Lawrence King's death saw the murder of another teen, this time a 17-year-old transgender youth in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.


Words matter.  Especially words from elected officials. Rep. Kern's private feelings towards homosexuality and Islam are one thing. But public statements that encourage disrespect or violence towards those with whom she disagrees are completely unacceptable.
 

Here are a few more completely unfounded claims from her speech:  "The homosexual agenda is destroying this nation."    "No society that has totally embraced homosexuality has lasted for more than, you know, a few decades."    "What's happening now is they're going after, in schools, two-year-olds."


(From Joe Solmonese / HRC President)


LINKS:

 

More News Updates
YouTube Recording of the Sally Kern Anti-Gay Speech

Info About Equality Alabama's Petition Against Rep. Sally Kern
Send E-Mail Message to Rep. Sally Kern
Visit Rep. Sally Kern's Website
Huffington Post Report

 


Patricia Todd: Lesbian Lawmaker From Alabama
 

July 2006

 

It’s official that Patricia Todd will serve as the first openly gay legislator in the State of Alabama.  On July 18, 2006 Patricia Todd won the Democratic primary election runoff, beating out Gaynell Hendricks to replace retiring Rep. George Perdue for House District 54.  Since there is no Republican challenger for the seat, Todd is the apparent winner.

 



Patricia Todd will be the first openly gay state legislator in Alabama in obtaining a state House seat representing parts of Birmingham. The district includes part of downtown Birmingham and all or part of the city's East Thomas, Fountain Heights, Druid Hills, Forest Park and Crestwood neighborhoods. It also includes part of Irondale.  In the June 6 primary election, Alabama voters overwhelmingly approved a state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.  Ironically, on the same day Patricia Todd came one step closer to becoming the first openly gay member of the Alabama Legislature.  The massive vote for the anti-gay marriage amendment did not make her victory bittersweet, she said. "We knew the marriage amendment was going to pass overwhelmingly. It was not surprising. It was just a matter of how big the margin was going to be," Todd said.


Todd was upbeat on her chances for victory in the runoff, noting that she has been endorsed by two of her primary competitors. She also theorized that some gay voters in her Birmingham-based district crossed over to vote in the Republican primary to help defeat Roy Moore's bid for the GOP gubernatorial nomination. Moore, an outspoken gay rights opponent ousted as Alabama's chief justice for refusing to remove a monument of the Ten Commandments, was easily defeated by incumbent Gov. Bob Riley, receiving only 33 percent of the vote.


Todd was endorsed by the national Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, likely the most significant involvement from national gay rights groups in the Alabama election.  Including Alabama, 17 states now ban gay marriage in their constitutions. Passage of Alabama's amendment will "enshrine a firewall of protection of the definition of marriage" in Alabama's constitution, said John Giles, president of the Christian Coalition of Alabama. Giles' group spent $15,000 to print and distribute literature supporting the ban on gay marriage. One brochure claimed that allowing gay couples to marry would cause "the health care system to stagger and collapse," and called for Alabama voters to set an example for voters elsewhere because "other states and nations are watching our march toward homosexual marriage and will follow our lead."

 


Patricia Todd Becomes First Openly Gay Official in Alabama History

July 2006
 

Patricia Todd made history when voters in Alabama’s 54th legislative district voted to send the Democrat to the State House, marking the first time ever that legislature will include an openly gay Representative.  The Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, the nation’s largest gay and lesbian political action committee, endorsed Todd and helped raise tens of thousands of dollars from its national network of donors to help fund her campaign.  Todd has no Republican opponent in the general election in November. 


 

“The road to equality in Alabama is a mile shorter today,” said Chuck Wolfe, president and CEO of the Victory Fund.  “Gays and lesbians in Alabama will now have what all Americans deserve--a voice and a vote.  Alabama knows well what a single voice can accomplish.  We applaud Patricia’s courage in stepping up to be heard,” Wolfe said.  In other elections, Victory-endorsed candidate Rep. Karla Drenner won her Democratic primary to advance to the general election in November.  Drenner is Georgia’s only openly gay state legislator.  Allen Thornell, a Victory endorsee who is seeking election to the Georgia state House, advanced to a runoff in his Democratic primary election.
   

“Karla‘s voice in the Georgia legislature is vitally important.  We’re working hard both to make sure she stays there and to help elect Allen Thornell to join her,” Wolfe said.  Thornell would be the first openly gay man in the Georgia legislature.  The Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund provides strategic, technical and financial support to openly LGBT candidates and officials. It’s the only national organization solely committed to increasing the number of openly LGBT public officials at federal, state and local levels of government.  Victory is the nation’s largest LGBT political action committee and one of the nation’s largest non-connected PACs.  In 14 years, Victory has helped the number of openly LGBT officials grow from 49 to more than 350. 

 

(From Denis Dison)


 


LGBT Politicians

 

Rep. Barney Frank
Massachusetts / US Houser of Representatives (Democrat)

First US Congressman to come out freely and win reelection

Rep. Jim Kolbe

Arizona / US House of Representatives (Republican)

 

Rep. Tammy Baldwin

Wisconsin / US Senate, US House of Representatives (Democrat)

First openly gay US Senator, First lesbian elected to Congress

 

Gov. James McGreevey

New Jersey / Governor

 

Mayor Ron Oden
Palm Springs CA / Mayor

First openly gay African-American Mayor popularly elected in US

 

Mayor Neil Guillano

Tempe, AZ / Mayor

Rep. Patricia Todd

Birmingham, AL / State Representative (Democrat)

 

Rep. Nicole LeFavour
Idaho / State Representative

First openly gay official in Idaho

 

Commissioner Sam Adams
Portland OR / City Commissioner

First openly gay Commissioner in Portland

 

Sheriff Lupe Valdez
Dallas TX / Sheriff

First Latina lesbian sheriff in US

 

Councilmember David Catania
Washington DC / City Council

First openly gay Republican Councilman in nation's capitol

 

Anise Parker

Houston, TX / Mayor

 

Sam Adams

Portland, Oregon / Mayor

 

 


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ALGBTICAL

Association for Lesbian Gay Bisexual & Transgender Issues in Counseling of Alabama