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Fenty beat Gray in gay precincts

But visible LGBT enclaves are mostly in white neighborhoods

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Vince Gray and Mayor Adrian Fenty. (Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Editor’s note: Go here to see a breakdown of votes in the gayest neighborhoods. Our chart does not include the last of the 15 LGBT precincts we analyzed for this story — Precinct 23, which includes parts of Columbia Heights and the U Street, N.W. corridor. In that precinct, Fenty received 443 votes (57 percent) and Gray received 332 votes (42 percent).

Election returns for the city’s Sept. 14 Democratic primary show that Mayor Adrian Fenty won in 12 of the 15 electoral precincts believed to have high concentrations of LGBT residents, even though many LGBT activist leaders backed City Council Chair Vincent Gray for mayor.

Gray won the primary with a citywide vote of 54 percent to 44 percent, making him the strong favorite to win the November general election in a city where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by a margin of nearly nine to one.

LGBT-supportive D.C. Council member Phil Mendelson (D-At-Large) also beat gay challenger Clark Ray, the city’s former parks and recreation director, by lopsided margins in all 15 of the gay-oriented precincts. Ray came in third behind Michael D. Brown, the city’s shadow senator, in all but one of the 15 LGBT precincts.

Many LGBT activists following the election said Ray was an attractive candidate but they saw no reason for backing him over Mendelson, who is one of the Council’s strongest supporters on LGBT issues.

While the visible “gay” precincts went for Fenty by wide margins, nearly all of those precincts are in majority white neighborhoods, suggesting that the LGBT vote could have split along the same racial lines as the city vote as a whole in the mayoral race.

All but one of the 15 precincts believed to have high concentrations of LGBT residents are in majority white Wards 1, 2 and 6, which Fenty won. Majority white Ward 3 also went heavily for Fenty.

Majority black Wards 4, 5, 7, and 8 went for Gray by wide margins.

Both Gray and Fenty have strong records of support on LGBT issues. Gray voted for and Fenty signed the city’s same-sex marriage law.

“The black gays in Washington, D.C. tend to be from Washington, D.C. and they live in all parts of the city,” said gay Democratic activist Brad Lewis, who is black. “So I don’t think there’s any one particular precinct that would be the black LGBT precinct,” he said. “I’m at a loss to tell you which one that would be.”

Lewis, a former president of the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club, the city’s largest LGBT political group, joined other activists who hold the view that most black gays voted for Gray.

“I think there were a lot of concerns, especially in the African-American community that their voices weren’t necessarily being listened to by Mayor Fenty,” Lewis said. “I think that transcended sexual orientation.”

Gay Democratic activist Phil Pannell, who also lives in Ward 8 and who backed Gray, has identified Precinct 112 in Ward 8’s Anacostia neighborhood as the one precinct east of the Anacostia River where an identifiable concentration of black gays live. Gray won Precinct 112 by a wide margin.

The precincts selected as areas where high concentrations of LGBT people live include the longstanding gay neighborhoods of Dupont Circle, Adams Morgan, and Logan Circle. They also include areas where large numbers of LGBT people have migrated in recent years such as Columbia Heights, Shaw and the U Street, N.W. corridor that stretches between 9th Street and 17th Street.

Two precincts on Capitol Hill and Precinct 127 in the Southwest D.C. waterfront neighborhood are also included as LGBT-oriented areas.

In addition to winning in Precinct 112 in Anacostia, Gray won Precincts 127 in Southwest and 18 in Shaw, which are believed to have large numbers of black LGBT residents.

Speculation begins on appointments

Gray most likely will name a new director of the city’s Office of GLBT Affairs and ask Police Chief Cathy Lanier to remain in her position, according to sources familiar with Gray.

Gray’s impending decision on whether to retain controversial city schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee has captured the attention of the media and most political insiders.

But to many LGBT activists, Gray’s decision on whether to keep Lanier as chief and his working relationship with her should she stay on will have a critical impact on the status of the department’s Gay & Lesbian Liaison Unit and efforts to combat hate crimes.

During his campaign for mayor, Gray criticized Fenty’s decision to adopt a plan by Lanier to downsize the GLLU’s central headquarters as part of an effort to create a system of affiliate GLLU officers in each of the department’s seven police districts.

“I don’t think it should be an either-or proposition,” Gray told the Blade in an August interview, saying he would prefer to have a fully staffed GLLU headquarters along with affiliate officers.

The local group Gays and Lesbians Opposing Violence has complained that Lanier spurned their longstanding request to retain a fully staffed GLLU headquarters office, which GLOV says is needed to train and coordinate the affiliate officers.

Once source familiar with the Gray campaign said Gray would likely set a policy on how the GLLU should be set up and ask Lanier to follow that policy should he decide to retain Lanier. But one police source said Lanier feels strongly about keeping in place the changes she has made with the GLLU.

The source, who spoke on condition of not being identified, predicted Lanier would resist Gray’s plan to add more officers to the GLLU’s central office, a development that would “test” Gray’s resolve in keeping to his campaign promise to restore the GLLU to a staffing level set by former Police Chief Charles Ramsey under the administration of Mayor Anthony Williams.

Gray has declined to disclose his plans for appointments for all city agencies, saying it would not be appropriate for him to discuss personnel matters until after the November general election.

Most local activists have praised Christopher Dyer, who has served since 2007 as director of the GLBT Affairs Office under Fenty. But sources close to the Gray mayoral campaign, who spoke on condition that they not are identified, said they expect Gray to name his own person to head the GLBT office.

The City Council created the office through legislation introduced by gay Council member Jim Graham (D-Ward 1) during the Williams administration. The legislation also established a mayoral GLBT advisory committee, to which Fenty named Dyer as chair.

Gray has said he strongly supports the GLBT Affairs Office and its advisory panel. During his campaign for mayor he has said the office and advisory panel would play an important role in his administration if he were elected mayor.

Some activists have speculated that Jeffrey Richardson, president of the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club, which endorsed Gray for mayor, and Christopher Fitzgerald, coordinator of Gray Pride, an LGBT committee established under Gray’s mayoral election campaign, would be among the candidates Gray would likely consider to head the LGBT Affairs Office.

Neither Richardson nor Fitzgerald could be reached for comment by press time.

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Comings & Goings

Cummings joins White House Office of National Cyber Director

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John Cummings

The Comings & Goings column is about sharing the professional successes of our community. We want to recognize those landing new jobs, new clients for their business, joining boards of organizations and other achievements. Please share your successes with us at: [email protected]

Congratulations to John Cummings on joining the Office of the National Cyber Director at the White House as Director of Supply Chain and Technology Security. Upon getting the position, he said, “I am beyond thrilled to join the growing team at the National Cyber Director’s Office and bring my experience to our mission of mitigating the cyber threats facing our nation and ensuring every American can enjoy the full benefits of the digital ecosystem. It is truly a privilege to work with this incredibly brilliant and collegial group of cyber experts.” 

Prior to joining the White House, Cummings served as Associate General Counsel at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI). Before that role, he served as interim Chief Counsel for ODNI’s National Counterintelligence and Security Center and as Associate General Counsel for the Office of the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community.

He has provided legal advice and counsel on matters of government-wide and interagency policy and national security in the areas of executive authority, cyber, constitutional law, civil rights and civil liberties, legislative affairs, and international cooperation. He has worked on recruiting LGBTQ, women, and minority applicants for government roles in national security and is experienced in public relations, stakeholder relationships, and international partnerships. 

Cummings began his career clerking for the Honorable Ivan L.R. Lemelle, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, and also clerked for the House Committee on Homeland Security and the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Law and National Security.

He attended Villanova University where he received a bachelor’s degree in English. He earned his J.D. from Loyola Law, New Orleans, and his LL.M. in National Security Law from Georgetown Law.

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Maryland

Abortion rights in post-Roe Maryland, Delaware

Practice generally legal, with some restrictions

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Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (Public domain photo)

The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday overturned Roe v. Wade, which in 1973 found that the decision to receive an abortion was generally protected by the Constitution of the United States. With the broadest federal protection of abortion access now rescinded, the legality of abortion will by and large be determined on the state level.

In Delaware, abortion is legal through the Medical Practice Act — but with some restrictions.

After fetal viability, or the point where a fetus can survive outside the uterus, abortion in the First State becomes illegal unless necessary for the patient’s “life or health,” or if the fetus has a condition “for which there is not a reasonable likelihood” that it will survive outside the uterus, according to Subchapter IX of the act

Additionally, under the state’s Parental Notice of Abortion Act, physicians cannot perform a surgical abortion on minors under the age of 16 unless the patient’s parent or guardian has received at least 24 hours notice from a medical professional. Notice is not required for nonsurgical abortions.

On the federal level, the funding of abortion is illegal through the 1977 Hyde Amendement “except in cases of life endangerment, rape or incest,” according to the Guttmacher Institute, a sexual and reproductive rights advocacy organization. States are only federally required to fund abortions that meet these conditions through federal-state Medicaid programs. 

While some states also fund abortions deemed medically necessary regardless of whether they endanger a patient’s life, Delaware state law does not extend beyond federal guidelines: The state only funds abortions in cases of life endangerment, rape or incest.

Abortion legislation in Delaware mirrors neighboring Maryland, whose laws include similar restrictions on abortion after fetal viability and abortion for minors under the age of 16. But abortion laws in these states are generally more restrictive than other mid-Atlantic counterparts, such as New Jersey and New York.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) weighed in on the state’s abortion law on Friday.

“In 1992, Maryland voters approved a constitutional referendum legalizing and protecting access to abortion as a matter of state law – that measure remains in effect today following the Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson. I swore an oath to uphold the Constitution and the laws of Maryland, and that is what I have always done and will continue to do as governor.”

The impact of Roe v. Wade’s fall in Delaware remains uncertain. While the abortion rate in Delaware steadily declined between 2014 and 2017, recent findings show that instances of abortion are increasing once again in the state, reflecting a rise on the national level.

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Virginia

Youngkin backs abortion ban after 15 weeks of pregnancy

Republican governor supports exceptions for incest, rape and protecting mother’s life

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Republican Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin in response to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade said he will seek to ban abortions in his state after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

“Virginians do want fewer abortions as opposed to more abortions,” Youngkin told the Washington Post. “I am not someone who is going to jump in and try to push us apart … There is a place we can come together.”

Youngkin, a Republican, took office in January.

His party controls the Virginia House of Delegates, but Democrats maintain a 21-19 majority in the state Senate.

“Today, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Dobbs, giving power back to the states to make decisions on abortion,” said Lt. Gov. Winsome Earle-Sears in a statement. “The court has recognized that the 1973 decision was an example of judicial and federal overreach. The important question of abortion has now been returned to statehouses across the country, in order for them to make their own policy decisions, which is exactly what the founding fathers envision when they wrote the 10th amendment to the Constitution.” 

“I applaud the court for recognizing this wrong and having the courage to correct it. I look forward to working with the governor and the General Assembly in the next legislative session on legislation that respects life,” she added.

Abortion is currently legal in Virginia during the first and second trimesters.

Youngkin on Friday said he supports abortion exemptions in cases of rape, incest or if the mother’s life is at risk.

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