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Feedback for March 26



The following comments were submitted as letters to the editor or posted to our web site. Visit to join the conversation.

Re: “The guiding hand in winning marriage equality” (viewpoint by Lane Hudson, March 5)

I appreciate the accolades from Lane Hudson in the DC Agenda. I’m extremely pleased with our success in achieving marriage equality. There were quite a large number of people who contributed to our win and we can all take some credit.

I do have a different recollection of how our effort progressed. At the founding meeting of DC for Marriage, I presented the on-going incremental plan that I had been working on for several years, at first while representing the Gay & Lesbian Activists Alliance (GLAA) and later in concert with them, especially Rick Rosendall, who was critical to the success of marriage equality in the District.

The assembled group seemed very pleased with my legislative plan and the criteria that I outlined for when the Congress would not interfere with us and how we could deal with an initiative. They also agreed that the time to move a bill hadn’t arrived, but we could do a lot to prepare for that day.

DC for Marriage’s embrace of my general strategy was quite a relief. I had worried that they were going to push for a marriage bill right away, or pull some other stunt that would delay or harm our efforts. Under Michael Crawford’s direction, DC for Marriage worked to create the public support we needed for our win. Michael created a social media and traditional media campaign, a direct contact and pledge effort, and other outreach that resulted in thousands and thousands of supporters. Countless other people found ways to make a difference and grow support for marriage equality.

A legislative, judicial or ballot loss could have set us back a decade or more. Going too soon would mean that we would be delayed in getting marriage equality. There would be a time when all the pieces came together and we would need to be prepared.

GLAA, the Gertrude Stein Club, and DC for Marriage leaders all agreed in January 2009 that the time for a marriage equality bill was not right. By April, we all agreed that the time had come for the marriage recognition bill and by summer we all agreed that it was time for the final bill, the Religious Freedom and Marriage Equality Act.

The careful incremental strategy didn’t rush us forward, but it moved us forward with deliberate steps. Each legislative victory carefully changed the laws that could have been used against us while increasing the rights of couples. In the end, everyone was on board and recognized that the moment had arrived and we were ready for it. — Bob Summersgill

Re: “3 arrested at White House protest” (news story by Lou Chibbaro Jr., March 18)

Funny how these rich self-congratulating queens, who do nothing for the cause themselves, apart from attending $1,000 a plate dinners, have the nerve to criticize those who are actually willing to put it all on the line. “Politically unsophisticated,” look who’s talking! These rich sellouts are telling us to mindlessly stand by President Obama and the Dems in Congress when they haven’t done jack for us for over a decade. It really is time for us to demand our rights, and tell President Obama and the Dems in no uncertain terms that if they don’t deliver on their promises to the LGBT community, they can forget about us volunteering for their campaigns, giving them money or showing up for them on Election Day, because true enough, that is what they understand. We must insist that they pass the Domestic Partnership Benefits & Obligations Act, ENDA, and repeal “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” this year, before the election. — Tim

American history was largely made by people who, under that standard, were “politically unsophisticated beyond belief.” — Doctor Whom

Obama never would have come to HRC’s dinner if Robin McGehee hadn’t organized the march on Washington. What will this direct activism generate? McGehee is becoming a genuine LGBT hero. — Joe

I applaud Lt. Choi. It is an incredibly gutsy thing to chain yourself to the White House fence while in uniform. This is one president who might actually take notice. We need more gay servicemen and women to take similar action so that the president, Congress and the rest of America can’t continue to ignore this deplorable situation. — Lee H

Way to go! If everyone did their part in spotlighting this issue it would be passed speedily. Certain people, like Lt. Choi, are lighting rods that can be used like today. As far as the “gay activist” Phil Attey, to each their own. You shouldn’t be negative toward others means of expression. Your way isn’t the only right way to progress the topic no matter what opinion you might have! Yes, Congress is where laws are made but the passion of the people cannot be contained in a bill. We must be vocal! We must be steadfast and use the media to remind Obama of his promise. — Michael A

Phil Attey may no longer work for HRC, but he sure as hell still thinks like someone getting a paycheck from them. The folks who need educating are the executives, board members and staffers at HRC, and what they need to be educated about is that a big portion of the gay community is fed up with being told to wait.

In the spring of 1993, before President Clinton proposed DADT, Tim McFeeley of HRCF and Tonya Domi of NGLTF organized a lift-the-ban rally. Guess where it was held? Freedom Plaza! Now, 17 years later, HRC takes us back there, but this time, the rally was turned into a march — to the White House.

Bravo to all who took action over HRC’s “wait and let’s put on some more gala dinners” approach today. — MPetrelis



Clarifying the record on Mexican homophobia case

Court judgment challenged as accusations of discrimination disputed



(This is a response to a story published Jan. 18 by contributor Armando Ocampo Zambrano)

I brought to the attention of the Washington Blade that no court decision exists in the terms set out by Armando Ocampo Zambrano in the interview published in the Blade on Jan. 18, 2019. 

Ocampo untruthfully stated that “he became the first Mexican to win a lawsuit due to homophobia against one of the most powerful law firms in the country”; such statement as the result of a judgment issued on Sept. 5, 2018 by the High Chamber of the Federal Court of Administrative Justice, which Ocampo falsely brags as a judgement against Chevez Ruiz Zamarripa y Cía., S.C. (“Chevez”) condemning it for acts of discrimination.

The firm represents the interests of Chevez in the lawsuit that resulted from the complaint/legal action filed by Ocampo with the National Council to Prevent Discrimination alleging several facts that Ocampo claims happened on November 2015, in which he and partners of Chevez participated; Ocampo considered them to be discriminatory and therefore filed the complaint.

Council, by decision issued on Jan. 26, 2017, concluded that Chevez was not liable for discriminatory acts affecting Ocampo.   

Ocampo filed legal action for the annulment of Council’s decision of Jan. 26, 2017 with the Federal Court of Administrative Justice; this Court annulled Council’s decision ordering it to re-issue same considering certain evidence provided by the parties. 

Chevez and Ocampo, both, contested the judgment through Amparo lawsuits, to be decided by the Seventh Collegiate Tribunal for Administrative Matters of the First Circuit, which will decide on the validity and legality of the Judgment, which obviously as of today is not final and conclusive. 

The above statement by Ocampo in the interview is totally and absolutely false because of the following two reasons:

1. There is no court decision issued by any Mexican court/authority that concludes that Chevez was found guilty of acts of discrimination against Ocampo. 

2. The judgement has been challenged by Ocampo precisely because Chevez was not found liable for acts of discrimination against Ocampo.

Chevez also challenged the judgment considering that Council´s decision issued on Jan. 26, 2017 is correct and impeccable, not being legally correct that the High Chamber of the Federal Court of Administrative Justice annuls Council´s decision. 

Luis Alfonso Cervantes Muñiz is an attorney licensed in Mexico by the Escuela Libre de Derecho, and founding partner of Cervantes Sainz, S.C.

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Letters to the editor

Chase Brexton criticized; CAMP Rehoboth wins praise



Speak Fire, gay news, Washington Blade

Speak Fire, AIDS Walk, gay news, Washington Blade

Chase Brexton Health Care (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Chase Brexton not an exemplary provider

Re: “Where is Chase Brexton growing?” (Op-ed by Nate Sweeney, Oct. 28)

I read Nate Sweeney’s op-ed with a mixture of anger and incredulity. Sweeney’s desperate appeal in defense of Chase Brexton conveniently glosses over a recent, well-documented pattern of irresponsible, unethical, and potentially illegal behavior at the beleaguered Baltimore institution that was once a beacon for the LGBTQ community.

“An exemplary LGBTQ provider and resource for our communities” does not fire five beloved staff members with outstanding service records (four of them openly gay, like Sweeney), as Chase Brexton did in August in a blatant attempt to retaliate against staff involved in organizing a labor union.

An exemplary LGBTQ provider does not deprive the community of hardworking, dedicated professionals who specialized in HIV/AIDS and LGBT care and were integral to the programs and services Sweeney boasts about.

An exemplary LGBTQ provider does not censor online commentary and ignore patient and community feedback, as Chase Brexton did when it took great pains to literally block out patients protesting outside the recent Charm Ball Fundraiser.

An exemplary LGBT organization doesn’t stifle employee voices, inform healthcare professionals they are only worth the number of patients they see, and disrespect its staff by hiring union busters to attempt to intimidate them into submission. Tell me Mr. Sweeney, what does your employee survey say now, after the despicable events of August of this year?

An exemplary LGBTQ organization isn’t captained by an arrogant, irresponsible board of directors that validates the status quo despite staff issuing a clear vote of no-confidence in the current CEO — a board that by all accounts demonstrates an astounding lack of basic LGBT literacy and has zero representation from transgender individuals.

No, Mr. Sweeney, these days Chase Brexton Health Care is far from an exemplary LGBTQ organization. Your words fall flat and can’t change the sad reality that an organization with deep roots in the gay community has been commandeered by myopic, vindictive “leadership” that values profit over patient care and has shown a callous indifference towards LGBTQ people, their health, and their history.  Marion Goldstein, Baltimore

Support CAMP Rehoboth

CAMP Rehoboth, gay news, Washington Blade

CAMP Rehoboth (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

I retired recently to Rehoboth Beach from Vermont and my transition was smooth, in large part, due to CAMP Rehoboth. Our Coastal Community is blessed with the good works, services, resources and multiple community programs provided by CAMP Rehoboth. For more than 25 years now CAMP Rehoboth has genuinely ‘Created A More Positive’ Rehoboth, with room for all. Please join me in showing our appreciation as a community in the coming winter months by attending one of the CAMP Rehoboth Chorus events. The CAMP Chorus truly is an asset in which Rehoboth, Sussex County and all of Delaware can take great pride.

Please mark your calendars: “Yule Love It,” Saturday, Dec. 10, 7 p.m. Epworth UMC $20. “Come Fly with Me!” Epworth UMC, $25 Friday, Jan. 27 at 7 p.m.; Jan. 28 at 7 p.m.; Jan. 29 at 3 p.m. And DelTech C.C. Georgetown $25, April 2 at 3 p.m. Tickets on sale in December at  HYPERLINK “” —Herb Russell, Rehoboth Beach

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Beyer a longtime LGBT rights supporter

His ‘evolution’ consistent with many leading politicians



Don Beyer, gay news, Washington Blade, Virginia

Don Beyer, gay news, Washington Blade, Virginia

Don Beyer (Photo public domain)

The following was submitted as a letter to the editor in response to “Beyer changed position on same-sex marriage” (news, March 19).


I was surprised to see the Blade single out Don Beyer as someone who has changed his position on gay marriage since 1997. Let’s be honest – a vast number of Americans have changed their position on gay marriage since 1997, and that is something that should be applauded, not criticized.

The truth is, like many of our friends and family, coworkers and neighbors, Don has evolved on this issue. In fact, Don evolved long before many of our current Democratic leaders. In 2003, Don endorsed Howard Dean’s presidential campaign in a primary in which Dean and no other candidate was in favor of gay marriage.

In 2006, when several Virginia Democrats joined Republicans in their crusade to ban gay marriage in the Commonwealth, Don personally contributed significantly to the effort opposing the Defense of Marriage Act referendum in Virginia. In doing so, he bucked many in his own party and even the majority of Virginia voters.  Don came to the conclusion that it was the right thing to do well before many others, including many in the Democratic Party.

When my partner and I decided to start our own family in 2002, Don and his wife were among the first of our friends, gay or straight, to offer to help us. They have been unwavering advocates in the community for our family, which now includes two children, and we believe Don’s experience and perspective will be critical to addressing the unique issues we face going forward.

President Obama, Vice President Biden, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton and nearly every Democratic elected official in Virginia has progressed on this issue, and ultimately, that’s what matters.

From prohibiting discrimination in housing, employment and elsewhere, to supporting the inclusion of sexual orientation-based crimes in hate crime statutes, Don has been a strong advocate for LGBT rights. To try to paint him as anything otherwise is disingenuous and misleading; it also does a disservice to the people of Virginia.

I realize that in a crowded Democratic primary field we look for points of differentiation among the candidates. This isn’t one of them. —Mark C. Lowham

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