November 17, 2011 | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Gay mayor re-elected in Takoma Park

Building contractor and longtime LGBT rights advocate Bruce Williams won election to a third two-year term as mayor of Takoma Park, Md., on Nov. 8 in an uncontested race.

Williams was first elected mayor of the suburban Washington, D.C. city in 2007. Prior to becoming mayor he served as an elected member of the Takoma Park City Council from 1994 until the time he took office as mayor in January 2008.

Williams became Maryland’s first openly gay elected official when he won his race for City Council in 1993.

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Takoma Park has a population of just under 17,000 people. City Clerk Jessie Carpenter said a full-time city manager runs the city’s day-to-day operations while the mayor, who is a member of the City Council, and his six fellow Council members set policy and play an oversight role in the city’s management.

Williams and his partner of 33 years, Geoffrey Burkhart, have lived in Takoma Park since 1980. With Williams’ strong support, the City Council in 2004 passed a resolution endorsing same-sex marriage, becoming the first jurisdiction in the state to adopt such a position. Earlier this year, Williams lobbied the Maryland Legislature in support of a same-sex marriage bill that passed in the state Senate but died in the House of Delegates.

Williams told the Montgomery County Gazette in October that he plans to continue in his role as a strong advocate for a state same-sex marriage bill when the measures comes up before the legislature in 2012.

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Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

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