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Gay Republicans running as delegates for D.C. primary

Log Cabin’s Cooper pledged to Huntsman



R. Clarke Cooper (Blade photo by Michael Key)

The campaigns for Republican presidential contenders Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, Jon Huntsman, and Ron Paul have each selected gay Republicans to run with them as candidates for delegate to the Republican National Convention next year in D.C.’s April 3 presidential primary.

Among the gay delegate candidates selected by Huntsman’s D.C. campaign is R. Clarke Cooper, executive director of the Log Cabin Republicans.

Cooper said he’s backing Huntsman as an individual, not as Log Cabin’s executive director. He said the national Log Cabin group won’t decide whether to endorse a candidate for president until the Republican convention convenes Aug. 27 in Tampa, Fla.

“Huntsman is a conservative hero who can unite the broader conservative movement and secure the votes necessary to beat Obama in 2012,” Cooper said. “Further, Huntsman believes in the equality of people born under the same constitution and is a strong Republican voice for the LGBT community.”

Huntsman, the former governor of Utah, says he supports civil unions for gays and lesbians, the only GOP presidential contender to back any form of legal recognition for same-sex couples. He is considered the most LGBT-supportive of the Republicans running for president.

But he trails far behind the other candidates in national polls, leading most political observers to conclude he has little chance of capturing the Republican nomination for president.

The Gingrich campaign selected as D.C. delegate candidates gay Republican activists Marc Morgan and Timothy Day. Both ran unsuccessfully in 2010 for seats on the D.C. City Council and both are members of Log Cabin Republicans of Washington.

The Romney campaign, meanwhile, recruited as a delegate candidate Rachel Hoff, who ran as an out lesbian last year for the presidency of the Young Republican Federation, a national GOP youth group.

Hoff finished in second place in that contest but made a positive impression on party leaders, leading to her selection as a member of the D.C. Republican Committee, according to the DCRC’s gay chair, Robert Kabel.

“I’m pretty pleased that we have openly gay people serving on all of these delegations either as delegates or alternates,” Kabel said. “I think that’s terrific. And the campaigns are all going to know that they are putting gay folks on their delegations.”

Morgan said he decided to support Gingrich knowing that the former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives opposes same-sex marriage and has declined to support other LGBT civil rights related bills pending in Congress.

But he said Gingrich met with Log Cabin Republican officials during his tenure as House speaker and has been supportive of what Morgan called “very progressive” AIDS-related proposals in Georgia, where Gingrich’s congressional district was located.

“What made me decide to support him is his pro-growth jobs and prosperity plan,” said Morgan, referring to Gingrich’s call for lowering taxes and overhauling the nation’s tax and government regulatory policies. “That made a lot of sense to me and I definitely support that.”

As of late this week, Republican presidential candidates Rick Perry, the governor of Texas; Michele Bachmann, the congresswoman from Minnesota; and Rick Santorum, the former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania, had not filed to run in the D.C. primary. The deadline for filing is Jan. 4.The three have emerged as the most outspoken opponents of LGBT-related issues on the presidential campaign trail.

President Barack Obama’s campaign filed papers last month for Obama to run in the D.C. primary. Under rules established by the D.C. Democratic Party, delegate and alternate delegate candidates pledged to Obama will be selected at a March 3 Democratic caucus on the campus of the University of the District of Columbia. All registered Democrats in D.C. are eligible to vote in the caucus.

As they have in past D.C. presidential election years, many LGBT Democrats are expected to enter their names as delegate candidates at the caucus. In past years, the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club, the city’s largest LGBT political group, has backed a slate of delegate candidates competing in the Democratic caucus.

Similar to the Republicans, Democratic Party rules require that all delegate candidates be approved by the Democratic presidential campaigns – in this case, the Obama campaign, before they can be eligible to run as a delegate candidate in the D.C. caucus.

The national Republican Party has allocated 16 delegates and 16 alternate delegates for D.C. to represent a presidential candidate at the Republican National Convention. The D.C. Republican Party this year chose to put in place a winner-take-all primary, allowing the candidate winning the most votes in the April 3 primary to take all 16 delegates and 16 alternates.

Under rules established for the primary by the D.C. Republican Committee, the names of the delegate and alternate delegate candidates will not appear on the ballot beside the name of the presidential candidate to whom they are pledged to support.

However, according to Paul Craney, a spokesperson for the D.C. Republican Party, a list of the Republican delegate and alternate delegate candidates’ names will be available at the polls for Republican voters to inspect before they cast their ballot.

In addition to Cooper, who is running as an alternate delegate candidate pledged to Huntsman, gay Republican David Black is running as a delegate candidate for Huntsman.

In addition to Hoff, who is running as a delegate candidate pledged to Romney, gay GOP activists Jose Cunningham and David Trebing are running as alternate delegate candidates pledged to Romney.

Gay Republican Terry Tahir is the only known gay person running on the delegate or alternate slate for the campaign of Ron Paul. Tahir is running as a delegate candidate.

Gay Republican sources said several other gays were running as delegate or alternate candidates for Huntsman and Gingrich, but the Blade could not reach them by press time to confirm whether they were out.


The White House

EXCLUSIVE: Jill Biden to host White House Pride celebration

Event to take place on June 26



First lady Jill Biden (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

First lady Jill Biden will host the White House Pride Month celebration on June 26, according to a press release previewed by the Washington Blade.

The party on the South Lawn will also feature a performance by singer, songwriter, actress, and record producer Deborah Cox and musical selections by DJ Trifle.

This year’s event comes on Equality Day this year, which honors the anniversaries of three landmark U.S. Supreme Court decisions that expanded rights and protections for LGBTQ Americans: Lawrence v. Texas (2003), which struck down sodomy laws, United States v. Windsor (2013), which struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, and Obergefell v. Hodges (2015), which made marriage equality the law of the land.

The White House highlighted some of the “historic action” taken by President Joe Biden to “advance LGBTQ+ equality for the community,” including:

  • Signing into law the landmark Respect for Marriage Act which protects the rights of same-sex and interracial couples;
  • Appointing a historic number of LGBTQI+ and transgender appointees, including the first transgender American to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate;
  • Directing all federal agencies to strengthen civil rights protections on the basis of gender identity, resulting in agencies working to strengthen protections in housing, health care, education, employment, the criminal justice system, nutrition programs, and more;
  • Reversing the ban on open service by transgender members of the military;
  • Signing an executive order focused on LGBTQI+ children and families that directs agencies to address the dangerous and discredited practice of so-called “conversion therapy” and finalized rule-making that ends disparities that LGBTQI+ children and parents face in the child welfare and foster care system and protects against disparities in health care; and
  • President Biden continues to call on Congress to pass the Equality Act to enshrine civil rights protections for LGBTQI+ Americans in federal law.

Last year, the president and the first lady hosted the celebration, which was the largest Pride event ever held at the White House.

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65% of Black Americans support Black LGBTQ rights: survey

Results show 40% have LGBTQ family member



(Logo courtesy of the NBJC)

The National Black Justice Coalition, a D.C.-based LGBTQ advocacy organization, announced on June 19 that it commissioned what it believes to be a first-of-its-kind national survey of Black people in the United States in which 65 percent said they consider themselves “supporters of Black LGBTQ+ people and rights,” with 57 percent of the supporters saying they were “churchgoers.”

In a press release describing the findings of the survey, NBJC said it commissioned the research firm HIT Strategies to conduct the survey with support from five other national LGBTQ organizations – the Human Rights Campaign, the National LGBTQ Task Force, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Family Equality, and GLSEN.

“One of the first surveys of its kind, explicitly sampling Black people (1,300 participants) on Black LGBTQ+ people and issues – including an oversampling of Black LGBTQ+ participants to provide a more representative view of this subgroup – it investigates the sentiments, stories, perceptions, and priorities around Black values and progressive policies, to better understand how they impact Black views on Black LGBTQ+ people,” the press release says.

It says the survey found, among other things, that 73 percent of Gen Z respondents, who in 2024 are between the ages of 12 and 27, “agree that the Black community should do more to support Black LGBTQ+ people.”

According to the press release, it also found that 40 percent of Black people in the survey reported having a family member who identifies as LGBTQ+ and 80 percent reported having “some proximity to gay, lesbian, bisexual, or queer people, but only 42 percent have some proximity to transgender or gender-expansive people.”

The survey includes these additional findings:

• 86% of Black people nationally report having a feeling of shared fate and connectivity with other Black people in the U.S., but this view doesn’t fully extend to the Black LGBTQ+ community. Around half — 51% — of Black people surveyed feel a shared fate with Black LGBTQ+ people.

• 34% reported the belief that Black LGBTQ+ people “lead with their sexual orientation or gender identity.” Those participants were “significantly less likely to support the Black LGBTQ+ community and most likely to report not feeling a shared fate with Black LGBTQ+ people.”

• 92% of Black people in the survey reported “concern about youth suicide after being shown statistics about the heightened rate among Black LGBTQ+ youth.” Those expressing this concern included 83% of self-reported opponents of LGBTQ+ rights.

• “Black people’s support for LGBTQ+ rights can be sorted into three major groups: 29% Active Accomplices, 25% Passive Allies (high potential to be moved), 35% Opponents. Among Opponents, ‘competing priorities’ and ‘religious beliefs’ are the two most significant barriers to supporting Black LGBTQ+ people and issues.”

• 10% of the survey participants identified as LGBTQ. Among those who identified as LGBTQ, 38% identified as bisexual, 33% identified as lesbian or gay, 28% identified as non-binary or gender non-conforming, and 6% identified as transgender.

• Also, among those who identified as LGBTQ, 89% think the Black community should do more to support Black LGBTQ+ people, 69% think Black LGBTQ+ people have fewer rights and freedoms than other Black people, 35% think non-Black LGBTQ+ people have fewer rights and freedom than other Black people, 54% “feel their vote has a lot of power,” 51% live in urban areas, and 75% rarely or never attend church.

Additional information about the survey from NBJC can be accessed here.

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U.S. Federal Courts

Club Q shooter sentenced to life in prison for federal hate crimes

Five people killed in 2022 mass shooting in Colo.



Assistant U.S. Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. (Justice Department YouTube screenshot)

Anderson Lee Aldrich, 24, formerly of Colorado Springs, Colo., was sentenced to 55 concurrent life sentences to run consecutive to 190 years in prison after pleading guilty to 74 hate crimes and firearms charges related to the Nov. 19, 2022, mass shooting at Club Q, an LGBTQ establishment in Colorado Springs.  

According to the plea agreement, Aldrich admitted to murdering five people, injuring 19, and attempting to murder 26 more in a willful, deliberate, malicious, and premeditated attack at Club Q. According to the plea, Aldrich entered Club Q armed with a loaded, privately manufactured assault weapon, and began firing. Aldrich continued firing until subdued by patrons of the club. As part of the plea, Aldrich admitted that this attack was in part motivated because of the actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity of any person.

“Fueled by hate, the defendant targeted members of the LGBTQIA+ community at a place that represented belonging, safety, and acceptance — stealing five people from their loved ones, injuring 19 others, and striking fear across the country,” said Attorney General Merrick Garland. “Today’s sentencing makes clear that the Justice Department is committed to protecting the right of every person in this country to live free from the fear that they will be targeted by hate-fueled violence or discrimination based on who they are or who they love. I am grateful to every agent, prosecutor, and staff member across the Department — from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado, to the Civil Rights Division, the ATF, and FBI — for their work on this case. The Justice Department will never stop working to defend the safety and civil rights of all people in our country.”

“The 2022 mass shooting at Club Q is one of the most violent crimes against the LGBTQIA+ community in history,” said FBI Director Christopher Wray. “The FBI and our partners have worked tirelessly towards this sentencing, but the true heroes are the patrons of the club who selflessly acted to subdue the defendant. This Pride Month and every month, the FBI stands with the survivors, victims, and families of homophobic violence and hate.”

“ATF will not rest until perpetrators like this defendant are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” said Steven Dettelbach, director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). “I hope today’s life sentence brings at least some peace to the victims and survivors of this senseless, horrific tragedy. That this sentence should come during Pride month reinforces how far we have left to go before all communities, including all LGBTQIA+ communities, are safe here. It also shows how far ATF and all our partners will go to ensure hatred does not win.”

“The defendant’s mass shooting and heinous targeting of Club Q is one of the most devastating assaults on the LGBTQIA+ community in our nation’s history. This sentence cannot reclaim the lives lost or undo the harms inflicted. But we hope that it provides the survivors, the victims’ families, and their communities a small measure of justice,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “Our message today should be loud and clear. No one should have to fear for their life or their safety because of their gender identity or sexual orientation. The Justice Department will vigorously investigate and prosecute those who perpetrate hate-fueled, bias-driven attacks.”

“Hate has no place in our country and no place in Colorado” said Acting U.S. Attorney Matt Kirsch for the District of Colorado. “I hope that today’s sentence demonstrates to the victims and those connected to this horrific event that we do not tolerate these heinous acts of violence.”

The FBI Denver Field Office, Colorado Springs Police Department, and ATF investigated the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Alison Connaughty and Bryan Fields for the District of Colorado and, Maura White of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division prosecuted the case.

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