March 12, 2014 at 5:12 pm EDT | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Levine seeks U.S. House seat from Va.
Mark Levine, Democratic Party, Virginia, gay news, Washington Blade

Mark Levine (Photo courtesy of Levine for Congress)

Gay rights attorney and radio talk show host Mark Levine on March 9 officially launched his campaign for the U.S House seat in Northern Virginia being vacated by retiring Rep. Jim Moran (D).

At a rally in his Old Town Alexandria townhouse packed with supporters and family members, including his parents, Levine described himself as an “aggressive progressive” who will fight for the progressive causes and policies that he said many fellow Democrats have shied away from.

As a staff attorney for gay former Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), Levine said LGBT rights and marriage equality would be an important part of his campaign platform and would be at the top of his agenda if elected to Congress.

“I think all too often Democrats take what they can get and maybe cast a vote but aren’t out there changing the course of the debate,” he said.

“So those of you who know me and even some of you that don’t know me that well know that I’m really not a quiet person,” he said, drawing laughter and applause. “I don’t think we need quiet people in Congress.”

Levine is one of 11 candidates running in the hotly contested Democratic primary in a heavily Democratic district where the winner of the primary is expected to win the general election in November.

Among the others running are gay Virginia State Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria), and State Del. Mark Sickles (D-Fairfax), who came out as gay last month in a column in the Washington Post.

The Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, which raises money for out LGBT candidates, has endorsed Ebbin. The group called Ebbin a champion for progressive causes and LGBT equality during his nine years in the Virginia General Assembly, both as a senator and former delegate.

Levine said he hopes to distinguish himself from his rivals by drawing attention to his experience in legal and public policy work for more than 20 years. He pointed to his stint as a congressional staffer and his outspoken advocacy for progressive causes, including universal health care, in his regular appearances on radio and TV political talk shows such as those on Fox News and MSNBC.

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

  • Well all this all sounds great, but I’d like to know a bit more about this Levine guy, especially the kind of work he did for Barney Frank as a staffer.

  • There are too many quiet Democrats in Congress who don’t forcefully stand up for what is right and fair. We don’t need another squishy liberal who votes right but cannot articulate what they believe. Levine would be a powerful advocate for LGBT rights as well as the issues important to our region. Barney Frank did so much to advance our issues, and Levine is the heir apparent.

  • I’ve heard Levine speak several times. He’s definitely not a yes-man.

  • Mark is an incredible fighter for equal rights and progressive causes. He raises his voice to defend the constitution. My husband, my friends and I marched with him recently and he is a strong leader that our congress desperately needs. Look him up if you don’t know. You’ll see what I mean.

  • I marched with him to promote his candidacy. Great guy… look him up if you don't recognize him. A great voice for NoVa.

  • He is a “must-have” person for the U.S. Congress! I promise that he will shake things up and in the most positive way EVER. Please support and vote for him.

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