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Mayor attends grand opening of D.C. Center’s new home

Groups pledge $76,000 in donations

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Jack Evans, D.C. Center, gay news, Washington Blade
Jack Evans, Vincent Gray, D.C. Center, David Mariner, gay news, Washington Blade

Mayor Vincent Gray and four members of the D.C. Council were on hand for the D.C. Center’s grand opening on Saturday. (Washington Blade photo by Blake Bergen)

D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray and four members of the City Council joined more than 100 guests on Saturday for the D.C. Center for the LGBT Community’s grand opening celebration of its new offices in the Reeves Center municipal building at 14th and U streets, N.W.

With Gray and Council members Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) and Jim Graham (D-Ward 1) standing before an overflowing crowd in the Center’s conference room, Center President and CEO Michael Sessa drew loud applause and cheers when he shouted, “We’re finally here – hooray!”

Also attending the event were Council members David Grosso (I-At-Large) and Muriel Bowser (D-Ward 4) and Busboys and Poets restaurant owner Andy Shallal, who donated food from his restaurant.

Shallal, Evans and Bowser have announced they are candidates for mayor in the April 1, 2014 D.C. Democratic primary. All three as well as Gray, who has yet to announce whether he will run for re-election, have been longtime supporters of the LGBT community.

Gray reiterated statements he made earlier this year that the city will make sure the D.C. Center finds another suitable space in which to move if the Reeves Center closes over the next two or three years to make way for a new development project linked to a land swap deal to build a soccer stadium next to the city’s Southwest waterfront.

“I just want to put that to rest as best we can, that we didn’t come this far to have this be just a temporary stopover,” Gray said. “We’ve come this far to make sure that the D.C. Center has a place in the future that it can count on to be able to do its work.”

Gray and the Council members attending the grand opening celebration called the D.C. Center a vital part of the LGBT community and an important part of the cultural fabric of the city.

Gay sports advocate Brent Minor announced at the gathering that on behalf of the Dupont Social Club, which organizes the city’s annual Miss Adams Morgan drag pageant, he was presenting the D.C. Center with a check for $16,000 to help support the Center’s programs.

Martin Espinoza of Stonewall Kickball, a D.C.-based LGBT sports league, announced his group has donated $10,000 to the D.C. Center and has pledged $50,000 in contributions to the Center over the next five years.

Bernie Delia, executive director of Capital Pride, the organization that sponsors the city’s annual LGBT Pride parade and festival, said Capital Pride has pledged $5,000 to the D.C. Center. Capital Pride rents office space at the Center.

D.C. Allen, co-owner of the Crew Club, a D.C. gym and spa catering to gay men, said the Crew Club was pleased to have donated $25,000 to the D.C. Center earlier this year to “jump start” the Center’s campaign to raise money to complete the renovation work needed to get its new space at the Reeves Center ready for occupancy.

Saturday’s celebration marked the culmination of a competitive bidding process that began more than two years ago in which the Center submitted a bid to rent space at the Reeves Center under a city program that invited both commercial businesses and non-profit organizations to propose different ways the space in the city-owned building could be used that would benefit the city and the community. Gray announced last December that the D.C. Center won the bid after a restaurant that initially had been selected for the space withdrew.

“I want to thank the mayor and his staff,” Sessa said. “They have been wonderful to work with. They have been gracious. They have been patient. They have really helped us establish this fabulous space.”

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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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