Equality Maryland backs trans candidate, rivals
Equality Maryland announced this week its endorsement of transgender candidate Dana Beyer — and the three candidates with whom she is competing in her race for a seat in the Maryland House of Delegates.
If successful, Beyer, an eye surgeon turned community activist, would be the nation’s first out transgender person to win election to a state legislature. She is running in the Sept. 14 Democratic primary for one of three seats assigned to House of Delegates District 18, which includes parts of Montgomery County.
“We couldn’t not endorse her,” said Equality Maryland spokesperson Kevin Walling, in discussing Beyer and her role as a board member for the group and an advocate for LGBT issues.
“But we also couldn’t not endorse the other three, who are champions of our bills,” he said.
Under Maryland’s electoral system, candidates and incumbents compete in a combined race for three seats in each of the state’s 47 delegate districts. In Beyer’s race, Democratic incumbents Al Carr, Ana Sol Gutierrez and Jeffrey Waldstreicher — all of whom Equality Maryland has endorsed — currently hold the three seats. Beyer and two other challengers, Randy Evan McDonald and Vanessa Atterbeary, are running against the incumbents.
The three candidates receiving the highest vote count are declared the winners in the primary. Although voters have the option of voting for three candidates in delegate races, campaign workers often ask backers of a particular candidate to cast just one vote, known as a “bullet vote,” for the candidate they prefer the most, an action that increases the candidate’s chance of winning.
In the solidly Democratic Montgomery County, the winners of the primary are assumed to be the strong favorites to win the general election in November.
Walling said Car, Sol Gutierrez and Waldstreicher are sponsors of a same-sex marriage equality bill and a transgender non-discrimination bill that are pending before the legislature. He noted that all three have been supportive on virtually all other LGBT-related issues.
“We would be equally satisfied if any of the four would be elected to those positions,” he said.
Beyer said she is happy to receive the endorsement and is working hard to show Montgomery County voters that she will be a champion for them on a wide range of issues, especially economic and social services issues.
She said that because the progressive leaning voters in District 18 are supportive of LGBT rights, including same-sex marriage, she intends to show that she’s better than her rivals on other issues.
LOU CHIBBARO JR.
Va. Partisans endorses Moran for Congress
The statewide LGBT Democratic group in Virginia last week threw its support behind Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) in his bid for re-election.
In a statement dated June 22, Terry Mansberger, president of the Virginia Partisans, formally endorsed Moran and called the lawmaker an “advocate on all the important issues around LGBT concerns for many years, even before it was a politically popular or safe position.”
“As a long-time friend and mentor to our community, Jim deserves our vote and financial support to keep doing the good work that he naturally knows how to do,” Mansberger said.
Since he first began serving in Congress in 1991, Moran has been recognized as a supporter of the LGBT community. He was among 67 U.S. House members to vote against the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996.
Moran has also been vocal in his support for repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” In December, he sent a letter signed by 96 lawmakers to Defense Secretary Robert Gates requesting monthly reports on service members discharged under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” that detail the expelled troops’ rank and time served.
In a statement to the Blade provided by his campaign, Moran said he is “deeply appreciative” of Virginia Partisans’ support and hopes to “continue working with them to bring about a more open, honest, inclusive and progressive society.”
“For me, these issues are a no-brainer,” Moran said. “Discrimination is wrong. One’s sexual orientation shouldn’t prevent them from being granted the same opportunities as every other American.”
The 10-term lawmaker is fighting to retain his seat to represent Virginia 8th congressional district against Republican Patrick Murray, an Iraq war veteran. The 8th district, which includes Arlington and Alexandria, is heavily Democratic and Moran is favored to win.