February 21, 2014 at 3:53 pm EST | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Gay marriage opponent working for Shallal campaign
Andy Shallal, Busboys and Poets, District of Columbia, Democratic Party, gay news, Washington Blade

Democratic mayoral candidate Andy Shallal’s campaign has paid $4,000 to an official who ran for D.C. mayor in 2010 on a platform supporting a voter referendum to overturn the city’s same-sex marriage law. (Photo by Laela25; courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

A candidate who ran for D.C. mayor in 2010 on a platform supporting a voter referendum to overturn the city’s same-sex marriage law was paid $4,000 in December as a consultant to Democratic mayoral candidate Andy Shallal, according to campaign finance records.

Records filed with the D.C. Office of Campaign Finance on Jan. 31 identify the consultant as 2010 mayoral candidate and former TV news anchor Leo Alexander.

In his run for mayor, Alexander’s campaign received at least $1,950 from the anti-gay National Organization for Marriage (NOM) and was backed by Bishop Harry Jackson, the Maryland minister who led the unsuccessful campaign to repeal the city’s marriage equality law.

Alexander received less than 1 percent of the vote in the September 2010 Democratic primary, far behind then City Council Chair Vincent Gray, who won the primary and then Mayor Adrian Fenty, came in second place behind Gray.

Shallal has expressed strong support for LGBT rights, including same-sex marriage. As owner of the local Busboys and Poets restaurant chain, Shallal has hosted LGBT events at his restaurants.

Shallal campaign spokesperson Dwight Kirk told the Washington City Paper that Alexander met with Shallal before joining the campaign and promised that he changed his mind and that his positions “evolved” on the same-sex marriage issue since his 2010 campaign.

But City Paper columnist Will Sommer, who was the first to report Alexander’s connection with the Shallal campaign, said in a posting on Thursday that Alexander wouldn’t tell him whether his positions on gay marriage changed.

News of Alexander’s involvement in the Shallal campaign comes two weeks after news surfaced that an advocate for a voter referendum on the D.C. marriage equality law in 2010 was working as a paid consultant in January for Gray’s re-election campaign.

Ward 5 Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Bob King, who was paid by the anti-gay NOM in 2010, is currently being paid to help the Gray campaign arrange logistics to drive senior citizens to the polls for the April 1 primary. Gray campaign chair Chuck Thies said King has no role in policy making issues and now accepts the marriage equality statute as the “law of the land.”

Alexander and Kirk couldn’t immediately be reached for comment by the Blade.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou


    There really IS something worse than anti-gay marriage bigots working in mayoral campaigns…

    Vincent Gray has a anti-LGBT police chief working as the top cop of this city. Gray’s Chief of Police is now using her high office to DEMONSTRATE to MPD’s chain-of-command how police favoritism to anti-LGBT politicians (and by inference, anti-LGBT police bias) will be rewarded by the mayor’s MPD bosses.

    Last Thursday night, Cathy Lanier honored virulent anti-gay marriage foes, Ward 5 area ANC Commissioners Carolyn Steptoe and Debbie Steiner with OFFICIAL MPD Police Awards.

    FWIW, Debbie Steiner is now in her second stint as a DC PUBLIC OFFICIAL (ANC Commissioner, Edgewood), having ran in 2006 for Ward 5 Councilmember.

    In 2010, just months after Marriage Equality became the law in DC, then MPD-5DCAC Treaurer, Debbie Steiner made public, demonizing attacks on gay-marriage on the Ward 5 Yahoo! listserv.

    At the time, even Chief Lanier denounced and distanced MPD from Steiner’s “homophobic comments” in a public statement. But this week, despite no known public retraction by Steiner of her 2010 homophobic comments, Lanier presented Steiner with her “Chief of Police Special Award.”

    “Special” indeed.

    Also FYI, Carolyn Steptoe ran for Council in 2006, too, as a losing Statehood Green candidate. Still, excepting winner Harry Thomas, Jr., Steptoe garnered more votes for Ward 5 Council than any other candidate in 2006.

    Carolyn Steptoe is also a *CURRENT* ANC Commissioner in Ward 5. In other words, Steptoe is a longstanding *DC PUBLIC OFFICIAL*, a very activist politician, just like Steiner.
    But get this…
    Carolyn Steptoe is also *CURRENTLY* running to unseat Ward 5’s incumbent LGBT civil rights champion, Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie.

    So despite Carolyn Steptoe’s very active, OFFICIAL political status, Gray’s top cop (a Ward 5 resident herself, mind you) recognized no problem at all in publicly honoring a fiercely anti-gay politician with MPD’s prestigious “Citizen of the Year Award.”

    How many people live in DC city now? Out of what– 650,000? ‘Citizen of the Year’? For a public OFFICIAL of DC GOVERNMENT? A politician’s politician? And virulently anti-LGBT at that?

    Apparently, so blind to elementary government ethics is Gray’s Administration that neither the mayor nor our police chief understand a simple rule for maintaining public trust our city’s MPD…

    Every police department must remain scrupulously NON-POLITICAL and NON-PARTISAN in ALL aspects of its official policing functions.

    One does not have to be a professional ethicist to understand why that is a fundamental maxim of urban policing best practices.

    Police corruption is just as wrongful — whether its motive is money and/or material gain, or the trappings of political power and influence.

    For shame, Mr. Mayor! You owe the LGBT community of DC an apology for the apparent hypocrisy and unethical police practices going on in your 2014 campaign– and in your increasingly politicized police department.

    We simply can not tolerate the appearance of anti-LGBT police bias anywhere within MPD’s ranks– especially from its leadership.

    COUNCIL should also act immediately to prevent the use of MPD for political favoritism, influence and corrupt practices by this and any other future chief of police.

    The trust of DC citizens in THEIR police department and the honor of dedicated, rank and file police officers deserve no less.

  • I don’t know the background of why these awards were given but I do know that Cathy Lanier in not anti-gay. While she and I have not always agreed she has done a great job as Chief. I don’t know why these awards were given to these people and what they are for but I will ask which the first commenter hasn’t bothered to do. There is a reason the chief is the most popular Chief this city has ever had and that is becasue she has been fair and done a great job.

    As for the Mayor Vince Gray has been the best friend the LGBT community has ever had in the Mayor’s office. He supports the LGBT community because he really cares and has fought his whole life for everyone’s civil and human rights including his own. He is one of the main reasons we have Marriage-equality in the District and he has worked closely with the Transgender community to make sure they are treated equally and fairly in our city.

  • You see how Gray speaks with forked tongue to DC’s LGBT community? Likewise to the entire city regarding Gray’s & Lanier’s very selective release of crime stats.

    How do I put this gently, but honestly? OK. Got it.

    They’re simple LYING to us, Peter. Apparently to Gray supporters, too.

    When you compare apples to apples…
    — DC is now the FIFTH MOST DANGEROUS city for crime above 500,000 population.
    — Only Philly, Memphis, Baltimore and Detroit were worse than DC.
    — Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Columbus, OK City, Houston, San Antonio, Seattle, Charlotte, Portland, LA, San Jose, NYC, San Diego and El Paso– and a lot more– were all among the cities SAFER THAN DC in 2013.

    Don’t let Gray and Lanier get away with lying to you about their “great” crime record. It is in fact, WAAY below average. Just GOOGLE…

    “Safest and Most Dangerous U.S. Cities 2013 infoplease”
    As to Gray and Lanier being the best mayor and chief for DC’s LGBTs— that’s just laughable, too.

    Everyone can see that Gray and Lanier are more than happy to quietly curry favor with the city’s most virulent opponents to Marriage Equality and LGBT families’ interests.

    Gray is unethically using his now-corrupt police department management at its HIGHEST levels to manipulate Council elections, while hawking Police Service awards like common carnival barkers. For shame!

    It is an ongoing ethical embarrassment to our city. Who does not get that– irrespective of political party and belief?

    It is also an embarrassment to a formerly great police department, whose non-political, quiet professionalism was once comparable to PDs in New York and London. This is about good government– and simple common sense when it comes to police ethics, too.

    BTW, not only did former MPD Police Chief Charles Ramsey set up a robust, award-winning GLLU unit for DC’s LGBT community. He also established a Metropolitan Police Department Sworn Law Enforcement Officer Code of Ethics– which Gray and his police chief are now trampling upon.

    Peter, I’m glad you at least admitted you don’t know the virulent anti-gay/ anti-Marriage Equality record and/or statements of MPD’s awardees– which Lanier’s political policing team went out of their way to choose. Here’s a hint. GLAA just gave Steptoe a MINUS TWO (-2) rating in her run to unseat pro-LGBT champion Kenyan McDuffie for Ward 5 Council.

    FYI, virulent anti-gay Commissioner Steptoe was a surprise, last-minute choice, too. Steptoe was so giddy she wrote publicly (on MPD’s own listserv, of course) that it was a “Valentine’s present” from MPD.

    This is intentional, despicable high-level anti-LGBT political favoritism exercised by DC’s police department. That’s added to Lanier’s and Gray’s constant assaults on GLLU’s core unit. Read…

    Hey, there’s simply not enough space here to cover what you Gray supporters don’t know of Gray’s 2014 shadow campaign. But for sure, you can probably count on a lot more shoes dropping in MPD’s crowded tenement of anti-LGBT bias.

    That’s a dangerous public safety by-product– compliments of Gray and Lanier.

    PS — Peter, I voted for Gray last time. And Fenty before him. When are we LGBT Democrats going to recognize that we’re being used and lied to?

  • There is a small thing in this country called freedom. People are allowed to have different opinions and the have the freedom and the right to express those opinions. Freedom really is the ability to defend to the death another’s right to express an opinion diametrically opposed to your own. The louder you scream for everyone who is opposed to your way of thinking, the closer you become to a dictatorship. That is not what this country is about, at least it used to be.

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