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Judge strikes down Virginia gay marriage ban

Two couples filed lawsuit against gay nuptials ban

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Carol Schall, Mary Townley, gay marriage, same-sex marriage, marriage equality, Virginia
Carol Schall, Mary Townley, gay marriage, same-sex marriage, marriage equality, Virginia

Carol Schall (left) with Mary Townley and their daughter Emily. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

A federal judge Thursday struck down Virginia’s constitutional amendment that defines marriage as between a man and a woman as unconstitutional.

“The court is compelled to conclude that Virginia’s marriage laws unconstitutionally deny Virginia’s gay and lesbian citizens the fundamental freedom to choose to marry,” said Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. “Government interests in perpetuating traditions, shielding state matters from federal interference, and favoring one model of parenting over others must yield to this country’s cherished protections that ensure the exercise of the private choices of the individual citizen regarding love and family.”

Allen, who President Obama nominated to the federal bench in 2010, repeatedly referenced the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark 1967 ruling that struck down Virginia’s interracial marriage ban in her 41-page decision. She also opened her decision with a quote from Mildred Loving, who publicly backed marriage rights for same-sex couples before her death in 2008.

“Tradition is revered in the commonwealth, and often rightly so,” said Allen. “However, tradition alone cannot justify denying same-sex couples the right to marry any more than it could justify Virginia’s ban on interracial marriage.”

Allen also dismissed arguments made by those who defend Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban that marriage rights for gays and lesbians harms children.

“Of course the welfare of our children is a legitimate state interest,” she said. “Limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples fails to further this interest. Instead, needlessly stigmatizing and humiliating children who are being raised by the loving couples targeted by Virginia’s Marriage Laws betrays that interest.”

Allen’s ruling comes less than two weeks after she heard oral arguments in a lawsuit that Timothy Bostic and Tony London of Norfolk and Carol Schall and Mary Townley of Chesterfield filed last year.

“We want to be married for the happy times, but we need to be married for the sad times,” Schall told the Washington Blade earlier this month before Wright heard oral arguments in their case. “When one of us is sick or when one of us needs surgery or when health care is an issue, we need to be there for each other. And Virginia should not be in the business of standing in the way of people wanting to care for each other and take responsibility for each other.”

Virginia voters in 2006 approved the marriage amendment by a 57-43 percent margin.

Attorney General Mark Herring last month announced he would not defend the amendment.

The Republican-controlled Virginia House of Delegates earlier this month overwhelmingly approved a bill that would allow any state lawmaker to defend a law if the governor and attorney general decline to do so. Gov. Terry McAuliffe a few days earlier denied a request from 30 state lawmakers to appoint a special counsel to defend the marriage amendment.

A federal judge in Harrisonburg on Jan. 31 certified a second lawsuit the American Civil Liberties Union, Lambda Legal and the ACLU of Virginia filed on behalf of two lesbian couples from the Shenandoah Valley who are seeking marriage rights in the commonwealth as a class action.

“This decision is a victory for the Constitution and for treating everyone equally under the law,” said Herring in a statement after Allen issued her ruling in the Bostic case.

McAuliffe also applauded the decision.

“In order to grow our economy and attract the best businesses, entrepreneurs, and families to Virginia, we must be open and welcoming to all who call our commonwealth home,” he said in a statement. “As this case continues through the judicial process, I will enforce the laws currently on the books, but this decision is a significant step forward in achieving greater equality for all of our citizens.”

Former U.S. Solicitor General Ted Olson, who successfully argued against California’s Proposition 8 before the U.S. Supreme Court with David Boies, joined the lawsuit last September with the American Foundation for Equal Rights. Olson said in an AFER press release that Allen’s decision has “upheld the principles of equality upon which this nation was founded.”

“Virginia’s prohibition on marriage for same-sex couples relegates gay and lesbian Virginians to second-class status,” he said. “Laws excluding gay men and lesbians from marriage violate personal freedom, are an unnecessary government intrusion, and cause serious harm. That type of law cannot stand.”

Equality Virginia Executive Director James Parrish said Wright’s ruling “finally puts Virginia on the path toward allowing lesbian and gay couples to marry the person they love here in the place they call home.”

“This is an historic day in Virginia,” added Parrish.

National Organization for Marriage President Brian Brown blasted Allen.

“This is another example of an Obama-appointed judge twisting the constitution and the rule of law to impose her own views of marriage in defiance of the people of Virginia,” said Brown in a statement.

Brown also again sharply criticized Herring for not defending the commonwealth’s marriage amendment.

“This case also leaves a particular stench because of the unconscionable decision of Attorney General Mark Herring to not only abandon his sworn duty to defend the laws of the state, but to actually join the case against the very people he is duty-bound to represent,” said Brown.

Victoria Cobb, president of the Family Foundation of Virginia, also criticized Herring.

“Regardless of one’s stance on marriage, the people of Virginia were disenfranchised by this ruling as our voice and our vote that amended our Constitution have been rendered meaningless by a single federal judge with the assistance of our own attorney general,” she said.

Neighboring Maryland is among the 18 states and D.C. that have extended marriage rights to same-sex couples.

The Southern Poverty Law Center earlier on Thursday filed a federal lawsuit against Alabama’s same-sex marriage ban on behalf of a gay widower who married his late-husband in Massachusetts in 2011.

A federal judge on Wednesday ruled Kentucky must recognize same-sex marriages legally performed in other states.

Gays and lesbians in West Virginia, Utah, Pennsylvania, Florida, Missouri, Louisiana and other states have filed lawsuits seeking marriage rights in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision last June that found a portion of the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional. Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto earlier this week announced she will no longer defend her state’s same-sex marriage ban in court.

Attorney General Eric Holder on Feb. 10 announced the Justice Department will now recognize same-sex marriages in civil and criminal cases and extend full benefits to gay spouses of police officers and other public safety personnel. This directive applies to Virginia and the 31 other states that have yet to allow nuptials for gays and lesbians.

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) earlier on Thursday introduced a bill that would ban the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages in states that ban gay nuptials.

Allen has stayed her ruling, pending the outcome of an appeal.

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28 Comments

28 Comments

  1. James Scott

    February 14, 2014 at 3:09 am

    You mean I am no long a second class citizen who pays taxes to the support this country, but EQUAL finally and same rights as everyone else, HOW great is that

    • El Dorado

      February 14, 2014 at 1:16 pm

      No, as a gay man, you can still be fired, denied accommodations and housing in Virginia legally even if you can eventually be married so you’re far from equal!

  2. Mike Witkop

    February 14, 2014 at 3:40 am

    Fight all you want bigots…we won't give up until we are equal across the country. We have overcome.

  3. John Gould

    February 14, 2014 at 4:58 am

    i get so mad when the gay rights struggle is compared to racial justice; they are not similar at all. you are the race you are strictly based on the race(s) of your parents. people are not gay because their parents were gay! in fact all gay people are the result of a heterosexual encounter. this is laughable, i cannot believe human intellect comes to such a conclusion?? #delusional

    • El Dorado

      February 14, 2014 at 1:21 pm

      I get mad when people like you are too blind to see that discrimination and injustice isn’t limited to race. Religion isn’t a benign characteristic that you are born with yet people have been discriminated against because of it. Gays have an established history of discrimination that can be traced back through history. Simply having had sodomy laws alone were a means to control, stigmatize and ostracize people.

  4. John Gould

    February 14, 2014 at 4:58 am

    i get so mad when the gay rights struggle is compared to racial justice; they are not similar at all. you are the race you are strictly based on the race(s) of your parents. people are not gay because their parents were gay! in fact all gay people are the result of a heterosexual encounter. this is laughable, i cannot believe human intellect comes to such a conclusion?? #delusional

  5. Ken Nardone

    February 14, 2014 at 5:16 am

    John, the comparison illustrates the agony, harm and disrespect people feel when laws are set up for some people, but denied to others. No one is comparing the race of African American, black or brown people to LGBTI people. I respect and honor you as a person that has different struggles than I do. However, we can and should agree that equality of law is the most important issue here. In a country based on freedom, we should not tolerate it when laws deliberately exclude others, as evidenced by the the horrible ways racial bias played out in this nation.

  6. Ken Nardone

    February 14, 2014 at 5:16 am

    John, the comparison illustrates the agony, harm and disrespect people feel when laws are set up for some people, but denied to others. No one is comparing the race of African American, black or brown people to LGBTI people. I respect and honor you as a person that has different struggles than I do. However, we can and should agree that equality of law is the most important issue here. In a country based on freedom, we should not tolerate it when laws deliberately exclude others, as evidenced by the the horrible ways racial bias played out in this nation.

  7. John Gould

    February 14, 2014 at 5:28 am

    Ken Nardone i can respect that and i believe everyone should be treated with respect and decency. i see LGBT rights compared to the black civil rights struggle frequently and I just don't see any similarity. it's just not an accurate comparison. my parents had to go to an all black high school because they were not allowed to attend the white public schools in virginia. all blacks were required to do that – be they male, female, gay, straight, whatever. they could not go to schools, stay in hotels, eat in restaurants, vote just because they were born with African blood. that is not the LGBT struggle at all. i've known lots of gay people throughout my life and they all have moved about freely, attending any schools they want, getting good jobs, and basically living day-to-day life without limitation. LGBT needs to find a different justification other than comparing their struggle to that of race. i never had to come out as black; it was obvious as soon as one laid eyes on me.

  8. Ken Nardone

    February 14, 2014 at 5:45 am

    John Gould, thank you for your reply. As I stated in my post to you. "No one is comparing the race of African American, black or brown people to LGBTI people. I respect and honor you as a person that has different struggles than I do. However, we can and should agree that equality of law is the most important issue here."

    You did not have the same struggles as your parents or grandparents but you share the same race. However, the civil rights movement your parents and/or grandparents participated in created great change in our nation. Equality of law was enacted and enforced so that all people had basic human rights that include access to education, voting, and being a true, free and respected citizen with dignity in our nation.

    As we continue on this journey of equality of law, we look at the struggles we caused by wrong ways in the past that hurt, harmed, disrespected and excluded others.

    For example, if there were a large number of Asian Americans in this country that received horrible treatment in the past, we would point that out to show how wrong it was. It so happens, the fact of the matter is, our nation did treat your people very badly. It was wrong. It hurt people. It harmed people. We only point that out to illustrate that when our nation fails in applying the law equally, people get hurt. People are harmed. People are left out.

    I hope I explained it better. Remember, we are comparing your people's struggle with the LAW, not with your race or specific, terrible and uniquely bad situations they went through. No one can erase history and we have not intentions of doing so.

    Discrimination sucks, regardless of reason others are doing it. All people should be treated equally under the law.

  9. Ken Nardone

    February 14, 2014 at 5:56 am

    Oh, John, another example I forgot to include that may help. What if you fell completely in love with a white woman and you wanted to marry her but the courts said you are not allowed? How would that make you feel?

    Our struggle is about marriage equality. There was a time, not too long ago that black and whites were not allowed to marry in our nation. That was wrong. That was discrimination to both people involved. This is an issue of marriage equality and it does compare directly to that issue. Peace.

  10. brian

    February 14, 2014 at 4:19 am

    “Elections matter,” it’s often said. And so they do.

    Virginia is reminded again of the promises of Mr. Jefferson– and that of his successor across an arc, Mr. Obama.

    “It’s been a long time coming,” Sam Cooke recorded fifty years ago this month. Lovers in and of Virginia will celebrate again when SCOTUS affirms, of course. But from the Chesapeake and Potomac through its beautiful Blue Ridge, we “know a change is going to come.”


    “It bends because each of us in our own ways put our hand on that arc and we bend it in the direction of justice…”
    –Barack Obama (April, 2008)

  11. Chris Radtke

    February 14, 2014 at 12:53 pm

    I am a tax paying citizen of the state of VA and I am also a gay man that has been a committed relationship with the man I love for many years now. This should have been done a long time ago and for those that live in Va that are still against marriage equality for all need to come out of the dark ages and look around, the GLBT community will overcome. As Martin Luther King once said Thank GOD almighty FREE at last FREE at last.

  12. William DeHerrera-Villarini

    February 14, 2014 at 2:15 pm

    John so states like kansas say any person can deny goods or services to gays based on religon is ok? You say all this now because if a white did this you could sue sounds like jim crow to me sounds like those activist judges should not have voided loving v loving

  13. William DeHerrera-Villarini

    February 14, 2014 at 2:15 pm

    John so states like kansas say any person can deny goods or services to gays based on religon is ok? You say all this now because if a white did this you could sue sounds like jim crow to me sounds like those activist judges should not have voided loving v loving

  14. Lee Delaino

    February 14, 2014 at 2:31 pm

    The only stench here is Brian Brown's ignorance

    • El Dorado

      February 14, 2014 at 1:24 pm

      I’m sure more than his ignorance stinks!

  15. Lee Delaino

    February 14, 2014 at 2:40 pm

    John Gould I appreciate this respectful conversation and would just add that while you may often see LGBT people moving about "freely" taking jobs and living/shopping where they please, this is a mis-perception. I have been required to live outside of the United States for the past fourteen years b/c my partner is a woman. we have risked being seperated when we cross the boarder and worse, having our children seperated from one of us. I am separated from my aging relatives and until very recently could not have moved there to be of help if they needed me. If we were in my home state, Florida, and I died (as the biological parent of the children) there were NO protections for their other mother and could have been apprehended by the state. Imagine living with that kind of worry. Similarly, my partner lives with a lot of fear because of her appearance and the homophobia that she expereinces (being stared at, told she's in the wrong washroom, glared at by angry bypassers.) these fears are based on reality. We do not live our daily lives without limitation—in fact, I'm deeply hurt by your assumption. My stories are not all our stories of discrimination and many LGBT live with much worse.

  16. Jose David Del Sol

    February 14, 2014 at 4:07 pm

    :)

  17. John Gould Jr

    February 14, 2014 at 5:54 pm

    Just a brief comment…this struggle is not about marriage equality…it is about marriage REDEFINITION. Marriage is not a human invention or an accommodation of social engineering or evolutionary development…it was ordained and defined by its Originator. If we abandon this truth, then marriage is whatever anyone chooses to call it.

  18. Ken Nardone

    February 14, 2014 at 5:58 pm

    John Gould Jr, is that how you feel regarding interracial marriage? Did you read my comment above discussing this issue? Many people felt very strong about their "Originator", indicating that whites should only marry whites, blacks should only marry blacks, etc. Is that how you feel / what you believe? And if so, should those beliefs be forced on others in a free nation?

  19. John Gould Jr

    February 14, 2014 at 6:21 pm

    Ken Nardone, yes, I read your comments but am not persuaded in the least by your argument. Interracial marriage does not in any way redefine MARRIAGE…inter-gender "marriage" does…

  20. Katrina Rose

    February 14, 2014 at 6:36 pm

    "You mean I am no long a second class citizen who pays taxes to the support this country, but EQUAL finally and same rights as everyone else"

    Only if Virginia enacts a state ENDA

  21. Ken Nardone

    February 14, 2014 at 7:47 pm

    John Gould Jr, That is your interpretation of marriage and interracial marriage. We just just can't pick and chose some imaginary interpretation and say that's the law; we must look at how the law will benefit all adult citizens, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation or gender identity. If the church you choose only marries certain types of people, that's OK for the religion and/or church, but it has no place imposing that belief on others.

    In a nation that clearly has separation of church and state as well as freedom from religion, we need to define equality of law that benefits all adult citizens. Soon as we start picking and choosing what citizens are "eligible" for laws, we deny freedoms, disrespect, harm and hurt countless other people. I know you understand that issue; you stated so previously.

    By the way, it's interesting that you started out objecting to these issues based on the judge in the article comparing LGBTI struggles to racial issues. However, now your argument seems to be more about redefining marriage to fit your interpretation of law.

    Frankly, I am disappointed that someone like you, that knows first hand exactly what discrimination feels like and knows first hand that it is wrong, would support such harmful ideologies. John, you know better. You are better than that. The only advice I can give you is try to understand the struggles of others and have more empathy and compassion.

    I supported civil rights issues my entire life and I always will because I know it's the right thing to do. I can only ask you consider the same for others; it's not your place or societies place to judge others. It's not your place or society's place to deny others equality of law. Our Constitution and Bill of Rights were intentionally set up that way. Peace.

  22. Dave Edmondson

    February 14, 2014 at 9:40 pm

    Victoria Cobb needs to keep up with her own movement's talking points. Right after the Maryland marriage vote, the 'phobes did a 180 and said that morality should not be subject to a popular vote. It's almost as though their stated and actual reasons didn't line up perfectly.

  23. Chris Radtke

    February 15, 2014 at 12:10 am

    All states need to do the same, Martin Luther King Jr widow even stated that it was an injustice to not only the GLBT community but to all that has faced oppression and injustice we all Need to unite as one and fight against the travesties that all the states try to put in place. As a tax paying American We are all entitled to our rights under the constitution, and one of those rights is to be able to love and marry the person we choose to without the local government bodies dictating whether we can or not.

  24. Ken Collins

    February 15, 2014 at 9:49 pm

    I just wish the judge hadn't quoted, in her decision, the constitution as saying that all men are created equal. That's not in the Constitution, it's in the Declaration of Independence. That's a pretty big oops for a judge.

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Comings & Goings

Nathanson takes role at Outright Action

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Rikki Nathanson

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] 

The Comings & Goings column also invites LGBTQ+ college students to share their successes with us. If you have been elected to a student government position, gotten an exciting internship, or are graduating and beginning your career with a great job, let us know so we can share your success. 

Congratulations to Rikki Nathanson on her new position as Senior Advisor – Global Trans Program with OutRight Action International in New York. Nathanson will be based in D.C.  

 “I am absolutely thrilled to be taking on this new role as Senior Advisor in OutRight’s Global Trans Program,” said Nathanson. “I have finally found the perfect fit for me: as a trans woman who has been fighting for equality not only for myself, but for others globally, this position is not only a job, it’s intrinsically part of who I am. So, what better way to live, nurture and grow myself.” 

Nathanson will be working closely with all program staff to ensure a cohesive and intentional approach to gender issues throughout OutRight’s programs, including its approach to gender ideology movements. She will lead new initiatives on gender advocacy and policy change, focused but not limited to legal gender recognition and anti-discrimination legislation and policies.

Prior to this Nathanson was director of housing programs at Casa Ruby in D.C. She has also held a number of other positions including: founder/executive director of Trans Research, Education, Advocacy & Training (TREAT), Zimbabwe; chairperson Southern Africa Trans Forum, SATF, Cape Town, South Africa; executive director, Ricochet Modeling Agency, Zimbabwe; and company secretary for Dunlop Zimbabwe Limited, Zimbabwe. 

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SMYAL Director Shakir to step down Dec. 31

Board to launch Executive Search beginning in January

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SMYAL Executive Director Sultan Shakir addresses the crowd at the 2021 Fall Brunch. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Sultan Shakir, who has served as executive director of D.C.’s LGBTQ youth advocacy organization SMYAL since August 2014, announced on Friday that he will be stepping down from his position effective Dec. 31.

In a Dec. 3 announcement, SMYAL said details of Shakir’s future career plans would be announced in the coming weeks.

“While we are sad to see Sultan leave, we wish him nothing but the same success in his new endeavor as he had at SMYAL,” said Rob Cogorno, SMYAL’s board chair. “His leadership and vision enabled SMYAL to expand greatly needed services to LGBTQ youth in the DC metro area throughout his tenure,” Cogorno said.

“I am immensely proud of the work we have been able to accomplish together in my time at SMYAL,” Shakir said in a statement released by SMYAL. “SMYAL has been an integral and vital resource in the DMV community for over 37 years, and while we have come a long way in combating homophobia, transphobia, racism, sexual health stigma, homelessness, violence against the LGBTQ community, and oppression, we have a long way to go,” he said.

“This work has never been about one person,” said Shakir. “SMYAL was founded by our community and we’re still around because of our community,” he said. “I leave knowing that the commitment and passion of the SMYAL Board, staff, volunteers, and youth leaders have created a solid foundation from which our work will continue to grow until LGBTQ youth no longer need us.”

The SMYAL statement says that under Shakir’s tenure, SMYAL, which stands for Supporting and Mentoring Youth Advocates and Leaders, expanded its programs and services for LGBTQ youth. Among other things, in 2017 SMYAL opened its first of several housing facilities for homeless LGBTQ youth that include culturally competent case management, education and employment assistance.

“The Youth Housing Program now comprises five programmatic models that serve a combined 61 youth residents,” the statement says.

It points out that also under Shakir’s leadership, SMYAL expanded the age range of the youth its programs serve under a new Little SMYALs program, which welcomes LGBTQ youth ages 6-12. And earlier in 2021 under Shakir’s guidance, SMYAL began a new Clinical Services Department “which provides affirming and accessible mental health counseling,” the statement says.

“The SMYAL Board of Directors will officially launch an Executive Search beginning in January 2022 and expects to have named a new Executive Director by summer 2022,” the statement says. It says the board will soon name an interim executive director to work with SMYAL’s Deputy Executive Director, Jorge Membreno, and the organization’s leadership team to oversee the day-to-day activities until a new executive director is named.

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Rainbow History Project to honor LGBTQ ‘Pioneers’

Virtual celebration to take place on Dec. 9

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David Mariner, gay news, Washington Blade
David Mariner (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

D.C.’s Rainbow History Project says it will honor and recognize 12 individuals and one organization by designating them as Community Pioneers “for their diverse contributions to the Washington-area LGBTQ community” at a Dec. 9 virtual celebration.

“Rainbow History Project is an all-volunteer organization dedicated to collecting, preserving and sharing the LGBT history of metropolitan Washington, D.C.,” the group says in a statement announcing the event. “The Pioneers awards recognize diverse community leaders for their roles as organizational founders, innovators, advocates and volunteers,” the statement says.

“The Pioneers celebration will be held virtually and is designed with special features that reproduce the feeling of attending in-person, such as live streaming and video chatting with other attendees and Pioneers before and after the core awards programing,” according to the statement.

“Celebrating our Community Pioneers has been a cherished tradition since Rainbow History Project’s founding 21 years ago,” said Rob Berger, the organization’s chairperson. “It’s always an inspiring event, and we are happy that our virtual platform will still allow participants to meet and talk with the Pioneers,” Berger said in the statement.

The virtual event is free and open to the public, the statement says. Organizers released this link for those interested in attending, saying a short registration process may require registering in advance. 

Remo Conference

Following is the list of Community Pioneers scheduled to be honored at the Dec. 9 event as released by Rainbow History Project along with the project’s description of their backgrounds.

Arlington Gay and Lesbian Alliance, a local group that since its founding has addressed equal rights issues for LGBTQ Virginians from a state and local perspective.

– Eboné F. Bell, founder and editor-in-chief of Tagg Magazine and Tagg Communication LLC.

Bart Forbes, founding member of “Gay Fairfax,” a pioneering television newsmagazine program in Northern Virginia.

– Ellen Kahan, youth and family advocate, president of Rainbow Families, former director of the Lesbian Services Program at Whitman-Walker Health, and currently senior director of programs and partnerships at the Human Rights Campaign Foundation.

– Theodore Kirkland (deceased), a co-founder of D.C. Black Pride in 1991, member of the Gay Liberation Front and Skyline Faggots, active community health volunteer and advocate.

– Paul Marengo, community leader through LGBTQ organizations including Reel Affirmations, Cherry Fund, and Pride celebrations for youth, Latino, Black and Transgender communities.

– David Mariner, executive director of CAMP Rehoboth, and former executive director of the D.C. Center for the LGBT Community.

– Mark Meinke founder longtime chair, Rainbow History Project, and co-founder of Rainbow Heritage Network, a national organization for the recognition and preservation of sites, history and heritage associated with sexual and gender minorities.

– Michael “Micci” Sainte Andress, artist, health educator and advocate and an early leader in bringing African Americans into HIV/AIDS clinical trials.

– Boden Sandstrom, founder and owner of Woman Sound (later City Sound), the first all-woman sound company, which makes LGBTQ rights rallies and the women’s music scene possible.

Casse Culver (deceased), nationally acclaimed D.C. lesbian feminist singer-songwriter, and partner of Boden Sandstrom, whose followers said her love songs and feminist lyrics moved audiences from foot stomping to silent reflection.  

Alan Sharpe, playwright, director and co-founder of the African American Collective Theater in Washington, D.C., in 1976, which now focuses on LGBTQ life and culture in the Black community.

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