Connect with us

Local

ELECTION ROUNDUP: Va. elects first openly gay senator

Ebbin wins big; gay S.F. mayoral candidate trails

Published

on

Adam Ebbin

Adam Ebbin (Photo courtesy Adam Ebbin)

Democrat Adam Ebbin, a gay man who has served in the Virginia House of Delegates since 2004, won election on Tuesday to the Virginia Senate, becoming the state’s first openly gay senator.

Ebbin defeated Republican challenger and political newcomer Timothy McGhee by a margin of 64 percent to 35 percent. He ran in a district with a solid Democratic majority that includes parts of Alexandria, Arlington and Fairfax counties.

“I am honored by the trust the voters have showed in me,” Ebbin said in a statement. “During the campaign, I listened to the voters’ concerns and will work on behalf of the values we all share: improving our public schools, expanding our transit system and cleaning up Virginia’s environment. I will make sure their voices are heard.”

Ebbin emerged as an outspoken advocate for LGBT equality during his tenure as the state’s only out gay member of the House of Delegates. He said one of his top priorities in the Senate will be to push legislation to ban job discrimination against state government employees because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

In a separate race, gay Republican Patrick Forrest lost his bid to unseat Virginia State Sen. Janet Howell (D-Reston), a longtime supporter of LGBT rights. Forrest, who had been endorsed by the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, was vying to become the first openly LGBT Republican to win election to a state legislature.

ALSO IN THE BLADE: GAY TAKOMA PARK MAYOR RE-ELECTED

He created a stir when he and his campaign accused the Howell campaign of using “gay baiting” tactics to discourage Republican voters from supporting him. His campaign identified a Democratic Party volunteer who admitted to a Forrest campaign worker that she told voters that Forrest was gay and would likely promote a “gay agenda” for the state’s public schools.

Howell said the party volunteer was not part of her campaign and was dismissed from her role as a party canvasser when Howell learned of the allegation. Gay Democrats backing Howell complained that the Forrest campaign and the Victory Fund were unfairly linking Howell to the gay baiting claim.

Terry Mansberger, chair of the Virginia Democratic Party’s LGBT Caucus, expressed concern that the Victory Fund’s support of Forrest was hurting LGBT rights efforts in the state because a win for Forrest and just one other Republican would lead to a GOP takeover of the State Senate.

LGBT Democratic activists pointed out that a solid majority of Senate Democrats support LGBT rights. They noted that most Senate Republicans and Republican candidates seeking Senate seats strongly oppose LGBT rights initiatives and, in some cases, have advocated for anti-gay laws, including a bill to prohibit gays from adopting children.

With the apparent loss of two other Democratic seats, Republicans were poised to win control of the Senate independently of Forrest’s race. Republicans control the House of Delegates.

Ebbin has said his efforts to push LGBT supportive bills and block anti-gay measures would be in jeopardy if the State Senate flips from Democratic to Republican control in the 2012 legislative session.

In another Virginia electoral contest, gay candidate Michael Sutphin appears to have won his race for a seat on the Blacksburg, Va., Town Council by a solid margin. With results in for nine out of the town’s 10 precincts as of early Wednesday morning, Sutphin came in second place in a race where five candidates were competing for three seats up for election.

Sutphin is poised to become the first known openly gay candidate to win election to public office in a part of the state outside Northern Virginia, which is a D.C. suburb.

In a hotly contested race on the other side of the country, gay former San Francisco Supervisor Bevan Dufty was in seventh place in his bid to become San Francisco’s first out gay mayor. In a mayoral contest with 16 candidates, Dufty won just 4.7 percent of the “first choice” vote and was trailing far behind frontrunner Ed Lee, the incumbent mayor, who had 31.4 percent of the “first choice” vote.

Under San Francisco’s “ranked choice” voting system, voters cast ballots for their first, second and third choice for mayor. If no candidate received at least 51 percent of the vote, the candidate with the least number of votes is eliminated and the city counts the second choice votes of that candidate. The process is repeated until a candidate obtains a 51 percent majority.

Second place candidate John Avalos had 18.7 percent of first choice votes and third place candidate, City Attorney Dennis Herrera, had 11.3 percent of the first choice vote. Herrera, a strong supporter of LGBT rights, had been considered Dufty’s strongest competitor for LGBT votes.

Dufty has said he expected the vote count to go to at least one or more rounds before someone emerged as the winner. He said he had a good shot at winning in a second or later round of vote counting.

But observers say Lee remains the strong favorite to win a later round due to his strong showing in the “first choice” vote.

ALSO FROM THE BLADE: LGBT ELECTION NIGHT VICTORIES FROM AROUND THE NATION 

Continue Reading
Advertisement
8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Mayor Jeffrey Slavin

    November 8, 2011 at 11:50 pm

    I am glad Adam won and will be able to work with newly re-elected Senator Janet Howell, who has been to date Adam’s strongest ally in the Virginia Senate.

    • Seth Morrison

      November 9, 2011 at 3:00 pm

      I strongly agree with Jeffrey, we are lucky to have both Adam and Janet fighting for our rights. Keep your fingers crossed that the recount preserves the Democratic majority.

  2. Bill Owens

    November 9, 2011 at 3:38 am

    I´d really like to know where District 30 is. Norfolk? Northern VA? Richmond? A lot of us don´t live in VA and I bet even some Virginians don´t know all the numbers of the districts.

  3. Fr. Scott Russell

    November 9, 2011 at 9:19 am

    We in Blacksburg are thrilled to have Michael on our town council. Don’t forget 11/8 is the anniversary of Harvey Milk first being elected to San Francisco’s board of supervisors!

  4. psst

    November 9, 2011 at 12:04 pm

    Bill–district 30 is Northern VA, so Alexandria and Arlington areas…definitely some of the most liberal parts of the state.

  5. laurelboy2

    November 10, 2011 at 6:58 pm

    Why does being gay make him a good choice for a senate seat?

  6. Robin

    November 20, 2011 at 3:45 pm

    @ laurelboy2 I don’t see anything in the article implying that at all. Hopefully no one votes for any politician based solely on sexual orientation! I think gay people are just proud that Ebbin is a good role model and a liberal who will vote for their equal rights.

    The point here, I believe is that straight people voted for him because they believed he is most qualified for the job, without taking sexual orientation into account, which is as it should be.

    I voted for Obama not BECAUSE he is black, but I am proud that we are as a nation finally getting to a place where we don’t judge people on anything other than, “The content of their characters.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Local

Comings & Goings

Umana named associate with Gustafson Guthrie Nichol

Published

on

Wolfgang Umana (Photo courtesy of Umana)

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 Wolfgang Umana on being named an associate with Gustafson Guthrie Nichol (GGN). He has been with them for more than five years and is currently its D.C. studio’s office manager. 

“I am honored to become GGN’s newest Associate,” Umana said.I have the glorious privilege of supporting GGN’s continuing dedication to progress, inclusion, social justice, sustainability, and beautification of the world we live in.”

Umana also works with NBR Computer Consulting as an LLC Computer Technician consultant. He has experience in social media, communications, outreach, and technical services, and provides a dynamic approach to the fast-changing world of technology. NBR Computer Consulting, LLC is a gay-owned business. 

Umana has also served as D.C. Army National Guard Director of Environmental Affairs and with EMS Consultation Services. 

He has his bachelor’s in Environmental Science & Public Policy, Human and Ecosystem Response to Climate Change, from George Mason University. 

Continue Reading

Local

Capital Pride bids for D.C. to host World Pride 2025

International event draws thousands of visitors

Published

on

Confetti rained down in New York’s Times Square at Stonewall 50 WorldPride New York’s closing ceremony two years ago. D.C. organizers hope to host the event in 2025. (Blade photo by Lou Chibbaro, Jr.)

The Capital Pride Alliance, the group that organizes D.C.’s annual LGBTQ Pride events, announced on Sept. 21 that it has submitted a bid to host 2025 World Pride, the international Pride event that draws thousands of participants from throughout the world to the host city.

The announcement by Capital Pride says its bid to host the event in D.C. notes that the event, among other things, would commemorate the 50th anniversary of D.C.’s first LGBTQ Pride event in 1975, which began as a block party near Dupont Circle.

World Pride is licensed and administered by the international LGBTQ organization InterPride. The World Pride events themselves, which usually take place every other year, are organized by InterPride’s member organizations such as Capital Pride Alliance.

The Capital Pride announcement notes that World Pride “promotes visibility and awareness of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ+) issues on a global level.” The announcement adds, “World Pride events include parades, marches, festivals and other cultural activities often enjoyed at Pride celebrations, along with other components such as a human rights conference and large-scale opening and closing ceremonies.”

The InterPride website says the deadline for submitting a bid for the 2025 World Pride has passed. It says D.C.’s Capital Pride and Kaohsiung Pride, located in the large Taiwan port city of Kaohsiung, are the only two remaining cities in competition for hosting the 2025 World Pride.

Ryan Bos, Capital Pride’s executive director, said InterPride was expected to make its decision on which of the two cities to select sometime in November of this year.

“A recent study conducted by Booz Allen Hamilton revealed that the annual Capital Pride Celebrations, during normal years, result in approximately $371 million in positive economic impacts to the region, a number that may be doubled if the organization is awarded the prestigious event,” the Capital Pride statement says.

The 2021 World Pride took place earlier this year in Copenhagen, Denmark. The 2019 World Pride was held in New York City to commemorate the 50th anniversary of New York’s Stonewall riots, which many activists consider the start of the modern LGBTQ rights movement.

InterPride says the 2023 World Pride will take place in Sydney, Australia.

Continue Reading

Local

Va. county supervisors back resolution against ‘required’ pronoun questions

Unanimous vote in Stafford County allows school defunding

Published

on

What's Your Pronoun? review, gay news, Washington Blade
(Image courtesy of Liveright Publishing)

The Stafford County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously approved a resolution that gives it the authority to deny funds to schools that require students to give their pronouns and teach the 1619 Project and critical race theory.

The resolution denounces “the teaching of the 1619 Project and critical race theory (CRT) and related principles in Stafford County Public Schools,” and states the board does not support Stafford County Public School students “being required to identify their chosen pronouns.”

The approved document had been updated to change “requested” to give pronouns to “required.”

Republican Supervisor Gary Snellings told the board he brought the resolution forward, which passed by a 6-0 vote margin, in response to communication from parents. One supervisor was not present.

Snellings called critical race theory “racism.” He also called the New York Times’ 1619 Project published on the 400th anniversary of the arrival of enslaved Africans to the Virginia colony a “theory.”

Critical race theory is not taught in Virginia public schools, but a state law passed in 2020 requires local school boards to adopt policies that are more inclusive for transgender and non-binary students that follow, or exceed, guidelines from the state’s Department of Education.

Snellings said the problem with preferred pronouns was in requiring students to give them. He said that was not in the governing Virginia law.

“This (resolution) does not eliminate anything. It just follows state law,” Snellings said.

A Virginia court in July dismissed a lawsuit that challenged the Department of Education’s guidelines for trans and non-binary students. Equality Virginia and the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia were parties to the amicus brief in support of the protections.

“We are deeply disappointed that these adults made such a hateful decision for kids in the community,” tweeted the ACLU of Virginia in response to the board’s vote.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

Follow Us @washblade

Sign Up for Blade eBlasts

Popular