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Sanders raising funds against gay congressional candidates

2016 hopeful seeking to defeat down-ticket LGBT contenders



Bernie Sanders, gay news, Washington Blade
Bernie Sanders, gay news, Washington Blade

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) (Photo by Gino Santa Maria; courtesy Bigstock)

Following criticism that he hasn’t aided candidates down ballot from the presidential race, Bernie Sanders has announced three congressional hopefuls he supports — and two of them are seeking to defeat openly gay contenders.

In a fundraising email on Wednesday, Sanders announced he has endorsed three U.S. House candidates who support him in the presidential race and are seeking the Democratic nomination to run for Congress.

Sanders declared support for Lucy Flores, a former Nevada Assembly member running in Nevada’s 4th congressional district; Pramila Jayapal, a member of the Washington State Senate running in Washington’s 7th congressional district; and Zephyr Teachout, a law professor at Fordham University running in New York’s 19th congressional district.

The candidate makes the endorsements amid criticism he hasn’t aided other candidates seeking office despite having raised $140 million this election cycle. An unprecedented amount comes from small donors, whom Sanders often says have contributed a average of $27 to his campaign.

According to the Huffington Post, the fundraising email isn’t the first time two of these three candidates have worked with the Sanders campaign. Both Flores and Jayapal introduced the presidential candidate during rallies in their respective home states of Nevada and Washington. Flores also appeared in an advertisement for Sanders that ran before the Nevada caucuses.

But two of these three candidates are seeking to defeat openly gay contenders seeking the Democratic nomination to run for Congress. As of right now, a total of seven lawmakers serving in the Congress are openly gay, lesbian or bisexual, or slightly more than 1 percent of the legislative body. That’s short of the estimated 3.5 percent of the U.S. population as a whole who identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual, according to the Williams Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles. (Transgender people make up an estimated one-third of one percent of the U.S. population, but no member of Congress, nor any member of a state legislature, is openly transgender.)

Teachout is running against Will Yandik, an openly gay farmer and Livingston deputy town supervisor who recently had a child with his same-sex spouse. Their primary is on June 28, weeks after the presidential contest on Tuesday.

Jayapal is competing against two openly gay candidates: Joe McDermott, a former member of the Washington legislature and now a member of the King County Council, and Brady Walkinshaw, a member of the Washington State House. Their primary is set for August 2, some time after the Washington presidential caucuses for Democrats, which took place on March 26, and the Republicans, which is set for May 24.

Both McDermott and Walkinshaw told the Washington Blade they objected to Sanders’ endorsements of their opponents at a time LGBT people aren’t proportionately represented in Congress.

McDermott called Sanders’ endorsement out-of-state interference in a race that should be decided by people of his district n Washington State.

“The people of Washington’s seventh congressional district should decide their next representative, not out of state interests, whether from Super PACs or presidential candidates,” McDermott said. “As a gay legislator, I led efforts to include our transgender citizens in our state’s hate crime statute, and was a leader in the years long work to achieve marriage equality in Washington. I’ll put my track record of proven progressive results up against anyone, and so long as the voters of the seventh district aren’t drowned out by outside money, I’m very confident we’ll be successful in November.”

Walkinshaw said Sanders’ effort is undermining efforts to seat an openly LGBT and Spanish-speaking person as a representative in Congress.

“It’s sad that any national campaign would ignore the fact that multiple progressive leaders are running in competitive Democratic primaries like Washington’s 7th, where we have the chance to send our State’s first openly LGBT member to Congress and a first native Spanish speaker,” Walkinshaw said. “We’re seeing states and a radicalized Republican party around our country pursuing discriminatory policies with newfound fervor, and now is not the time to be closing doors on LGBT candidates.”

Their opponent whom Sanders endorsed, Jayapal, is a civil rights activist who recently was executive director of the pro-immigration advocacy group OneAmerica. During her brief tenure starting this year as a member of the Washington State Senate, Jayapal voted against SB 6443, anti-trans bathroom legislation that would have prohibited transgender students from using public restrooms in schools consistent with their gender identity.

The campaign for Yandik declined to comment for this article. Teachout, who served as CEO for the campaign finance reform Mayday PAC, has taken part in New York City Pride and during her 2014 primary challenge to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was endorsed by some local New York City LGBT groups.

McDermott has endorsed Hillary Clinton for president, but neither Walkinshaw nor Yandik have made an endorsement in the presidential race.

The campaign for Sanders, who has a long record in support of LGBT rights and voted against the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act in 1996, didn’t respond to repeated requests from the Washington Blade to comment on whether Sanders was aware he’s raising money against gay congressional candidates and whether he thinks the endorsements are undermining LGBT representation in Congress.

During a campaign rally Wednesday night attended by an estimated 27,000 people in New York City, Sanders said his campaign about ensuring a “decent standing of living” for all Americans, invoking the Stonewall riots among other things as an example of progress.

“This campaign remembers, interestingly enough, something that happened two or three blocks away from here,” Sanders said. “And that is that 47 years ago, the gay community said that in this country, right over here in the Stonewall Inn, that in this country, people will have the right to love each other no matter what their gender is.”

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  1. gaylib

    April 14, 2016 at 5:59 pm

    Wow. I used to like this guy, but every day the evidence piles up that he’s just a self-centered, egotistical jerk.When critics said he wasn’t supporting down ticket Democrats, they didn’t mean to pick and choose sides in primary battles to effectively buy endorsements. Meanwhile Hillary has raised millions for downticket Democrats, even ones that haven’t endorsed her, including the ones Sanders is buying off now. She’s party building while he is doing his best to tear the party to pieces.

    • Derrick Mathis

      April 14, 2016 at 6:48 pm

      There’s nothing in this article that says Sanders is opposing the gay candidates BECAUSE they’re gay.

      Gaylib you’re an idiot.

      • LesbianTippingHabits

        April 14, 2016 at 8:31 pm

        gaylib, anyone seeking the Presidency, including Hillary, by definition is a self-centered, egotistical jerk.

        At least Bernie Sanders is helping to address income inequality by tipping generously for good service.

        Hillary does not, as has been extremely well documented since early 2000 at a diner in Albion, New York – waitress Theresa Lupo.

        • PandaInMyPants

          April 14, 2016 at 8:35 pm

          This is a fantastic novelty account

        • Iron Maiden

          April 15, 2016 at 1:20 am

          Bernie is a communist ! Wait until you get in line for a loaf of bread ! Everyone voting for Bernie is a lazy F*ck!

      • gaylib

        April 14, 2016 at 9:01 pm

        And you can’t read. I didn’t say anything about that.

    • Iron Maiden

      April 15, 2016 at 1:19 am

      Trump 2016 ! Bernie is old and will crook and Hillary is a dike !

      • Cydney

        April 15, 2016 at 11:26 pm

        IM, you are such a troll!!!


      April 15, 2016 at 2:56 am

      Gaylib you were always a Clinton supporter even during the 2008 campaign

      • gaylib

        April 15, 2016 at 9:59 am

        What does that have to do with anything?

        • THEBEARCUB

          April 18, 2016 at 1:25 am

          EVERYTHING! I remember how nasty you were about Obama!

    • TonyS

      April 15, 2016 at 5:10 pm

      Umm, you do realize that the Hillary Victory Fund, which is what she set up to help down ticket democrats, makes the money conditional on the state supporting her campaign in the primary, right? That’s how she had such a huge superdelegate lead on day one… she bought support from 33 state democratic parties in return for the cash. So no, she didn’t do any fundraising for those who didn’t endorse her, and in fact she made it an explicit requirement of getting the funds that the entire state democratic party “support her campaign”.

    • Yshuaben Moshe

      April 15, 2016 at 8:30 pm

      There is lots of false information you’re claiming. For example, Tim Canova is getting his money from Bernie supporters. Don’t believe this article. Also, not all gays are progressives.

    • Brooks Austin

      April 15, 2016 at 9:35 pm

      By party building, you mean calling all Black Lives Matter protesters criminals and liars?

    • BigBroFan

      May 30, 2016 at 11:53 am


  2. kempsternyc

    April 14, 2016 at 7:02 pm

    While I can’t say much about the West Coast races, I voted for Teachout against Cuomo in the last election. She’s a hardcore Socialist and the endorsement doeant surprise me.

  3. Nathan Surrett

    April 14, 2016 at 7:34 pm

    I’m sorry, but this is really shallow. Being openly gay does not grant you the right to win an election just because you are gay. It’s a non-issue. I am openly gay, and I certainly would not use that status to shame others into voting for me. Vote for the people that actually accomplish something, and that are the most qualified to create change. You are purposely shaming and dividing here. It is nasty.

    • Linda Riana

      April 14, 2016 at 8:22 pm

      All you need to be a congressman or woman is support from your public and be over 30 years old. Enough of this qualified BS, He is supporting candidates that are running against gay candidates. There are 535 seats in congress up for grabs. Why does he only support these people.

      • PandaInMyPants

        April 14, 2016 at 8:30 pm

        Because they are progressives

        • Brian's Ions

          April 14, 2016 at 11:59 pm

          Qualified or UNqualified progressives?

          How can we trust a 74-yo male ‘progressive’ candidate whose first instinct was to attack a highly-qualified female candidate’s qualifications?

          Will the real Bernie Sanders please stand up?

          • Iron Maiden

            April 15, 2016 at 1:14 am

            Bernie is old and will Crook soon !

          • Cydney

            April 15, 2016 at 11:19 pm

            So will she!! She’s not much younger. What a stupid comment Iron Maiden. Anyone can CROAK with little notice. She’s older than I am and she has brain issues!!☺

          • Chris W. Luczak

            April 15, 2016 at 5:53 pm

            She is qualified to be president in the current political system..the broken and defunct …bought and sold political system….we need something totally different to change the status quo.

          • disqus_L9kdHXsEcd

            April 15, 2016 at 6:35 pm

            She’s not qualified. However, she does think she’s entitled. She’s such a pig.

          • BigBroFan

            May 30, 2016 at 11:47 am

            Shame on you.

          • disqus_L9kdHXsEcd

            May 30, 2016 at 3:36 pm

            Shame on me? You mean shame on her for thinking just because she has a vagina she deserves this high office. GTFOH

          • Ghostdreams

            April 16, 2016 at 4:06 pm

            Out his 23 staffers.. THREE are women. Out of his top 12 staffers ONE is a woman. There ya have it.. He says he supports minorities, women, LGBT but there’s no proof in the pudding.

          • Marceline Valmore

            April 17, 2016 at 4:28 pm

            And Hillary paid women on her staff three quarters of what she paid men.

          • HeywoodJa

            April 26, 2016 at 5:54 am

            That’s a lie.

          • Everybodhi

            June 1, 2016 at 4:24 am

            10 out of 10 of Bernie’s top paid staffers are white men, he is the only candidate that ran for POTUS with that record.

          • CCinRI

            April 18, 2016 at 10:24 am

            #HillNo Hillary has a great resume, and a LONG history of bad decisions as Senator and SOS, who’s great accomplishments representing NY amount to nothing more than getting Post Offices named.

          • BigBroFan

            May 30, 2016 at 11:49 am

            False. She fought to get NY $10 BILLION dollars to rebuild after 9/11. You are wrong.

          • CCinRI

            May 30, 2016 at 10:00 pm

            She “Fought”??? Seriously? Bush had already pledged $20 Billion in aid to the city & state…facts have a funny way of being easy to find.

          • SteveNorquist

            May 1, 2016 at 11:11 am

            Grifters only do that when there’s a big score available. Feel The Sting.

        • WarrenHart

          April 15, 2016 at 1:58 pm

          No, becasue they endorsed him.

          • Josue Rafael De La Rosa

            April 17, 2016 at 1:30 am

            They endorsed him because they are progressives. What is your point?

          • WarrenHart

            April 17, 2016 at 10:39 am

            He’s paying them off for doing their part to damage the democratic party is my point. Bernie Sanders isn’t a democrat and Hillary is progressive too. What’s your point? Nevermind, I dont really care.

          • CCinRI

            April 18, 2016 at 10:22 am

            Hillary’s a progressive? #WhichHillary?

      • John Caravella

        April 14, 2016 at 11:02 pm

        Because they’re good candidates who share his policies

      • cratewasher

        April 15, 2016 at 10:30 am

        Why did Hillary think gay marriage should stay illegal until just a few years ago?

          • cratewasher

            April 16, 2016 at 1:27 pm

            Hillary wasn’t even for Domestic Partnerships…
            Way behind the curve – just watch this video to make your skin crawl…

          • Dan Sloan

            April 25, 2016 at 11:07 am

            An out of context video doesn’t override the fact that she supported Civil Unions/Domestic Partnerships as far back as the early 1990s.

          • cratewasher

            April 25, 2016 at 11:09 am

            Oh, please share some proof of her courage… maybe a clip or public statement to that effect.

          • SteveNorquist

            May 1, 2016 at 11:12 am

            Don’t you have crates to wash?

          • cratewasher

            May 1, 2016 at 11:13 am

            Ah, another Clinton elitist; no respect for the working man, either….

          • cratewasher

            April 25, 2016 at 11:12 am

            I thought it was funny the other day when Obama alluded to his children helping him “evolve” on gay marriage; and I thought to myself:
            Wow, Hillary’s only child was married off to a hedge fund manager BEFORE Hillary evolved…
            What’s with “evolving” anyway?
            If you are a leader, you need to preface other’s evolutions, not wait until it’s safe for you and your political career…

        • Ghostdreams

          April 16, 2016 at 4:04 pm

          Bernie supported Fidel Castro WHILE Fidel was imprisoning and killing LGBT people… I’m much more offended by Bernie supporting a mass murderer of gay people.

          • Josue Rafael De La Rosa

            April 17, 2016 at 1:29 am

            Hillary is very friendly with the Saudis, she,gets millions of dollars from them for her foundation and guess what, they are very, very anti gay over there, as in, you will get the death penalty or jail. Are you offended by that?

          • Lars

            May 30, 2016 at 8:43 am

            It does not matter to what sexual orientation a person is for me to believe murder is wrong. So tell me, are you naive enough to believe that nine people missing in Arkansas with evidence of the Clintons, Vince Foster, the Mcdougalds etc.
            Is it not plausible that people with great influence have the power to get away with murder?

        • SteveNorquist

          May 1, 2016 at 10:57 am

          Why does Barney Frank consistently advocate for Sec. Clinton, and point out how Sanders is an empty suit? Because he knows Hillary will work for LGBT issues, while BS will blow smoke up keesters worldwide, and send out fundraising letters about how the Huns are at the gate every time he’s trying to get himself elected again.

          The real question is, why would anyone who is LGBT want to piss around trashing the winner of a Democratic primary process and whine about how a 74-year-old white man whom they happened to like got far fewer votes? In case you haven’t noticed, the Republican Party controls just about every lever of power in the US BUT the White House, and their records, to a man and woman practically, concerning LGBT issues, are far worse than Hill’s.

          • cratewasher

            May 1, 2016 at 11:00 am

            Because Barney Frank is a card carrying member of the DNC; which after this election, will be severely undermined by nominating a corporatist hawk, and long time staller on gay rights as their standard bearer.
            Clinton does not put anyones issues above her own personal quest for power.

          • SteveNorquist

            May 1, 2016 at 11:03 am

            Is that the Trumpster in your pic? Ah, I see. The Susan Sarandon philosophy! A) Vote in Trump, B) Revolution! C) Fairy dust and unicorns.

          • cratewasher

            May 1, 2016 at 11:04 am

            No, take a close look; it’s a mash up of two faces.
            Two faces of the same beast…

          • BigBroFan

            May 30, 2016 at 11:44 am

            Yah, right. You make NO sense. Hillary loves the gays and we love her right back! HILLARY 2016! ???

          • Buie Wynn

            May 22, 2016 at 8:30 pm

            Thank you, Mr/Ms. Republican troll!

          • Buie Wynn

            May 22, 2016 at 8:29 pm

            Yes! We should pay attention to Barney. He worked with Bernie and Hillary. And Barney is an iconic trailblazer.

        • Buie Wynn

          May 22, 2016 at 8:26 pm

          Why did Bernie? Why did Obama?

        • BigBroFan

          May 30, 2016 at 11:36 am

          Because she has evolved; just like many other people have. Bernie couldn’t care any less about gay rights. He’s a one issue candidate. Don’t fool yourself. HILLARY WILL GET THINGS DONE! Please vote for her! ???

    • Lulu Grandiron

      April 14, 2016 at 8:28 pm

      Gays who support Hillary are shallow? Imagine that. This is nothing but clickbait for Queen Hillary’s band of bourgeois merry gays. Queen Hillary who has never made a mistake in her life and is GUARANTEED to be President! This is really low, Blade and not even worth the webspace…

      • LesbianTippingHabits

        April 14, 2016 at 8:30 pm

        Hillary is also a cheap tipper. The best way to address income inequality in America – today – is to tip generously for good service.

        • eebaltimore

          April 17, 2016 at 1:18 pm

          OMG… what the heqq do you know? That all you got?

      • Iron Maiden

        April 15, 2016 at 1:15 am

        Hillary is a Lizbo! She is having an affair with Yoko Ono

        • augie4evr

          April 16, 2016 at 7:33 pm

          Did your mom have an affair with Yoko and share secrets in bed?

          • Iron Maiden

            April 16, 2016 at 8:27 pm

            No my mom is not Yoko Ono , I’m not Sean Lennon . Yoko is butt ugly and she destroyed the Beatles !

        • k8

          April 17, 2016 at 10:03 am

          That’s from a satire site, but I don’t suppose you care if it’s true as long as it supports your narrative.

          • Iron Maiden

            June 1, 2016 at 10:42 pm

            We need to stop “Crooked Hilary”

    • Rob Cochran

      April 15, 2016 at 4:23 am

      I agree. That’s like someone saying, “Oh, you’re GAY? You should meet my friend, Steve! He’s gay TOO!!”

    • TonyS

      April 15, 2016 at 2:08 pm


    • dmarr

      April 15, 2016 at 2:59 pm

      Will you also dismiss his signature on this:

    • Dave Glimp

      April 15, 2016 at 5:11 pm

      This article is bullshit and I honestly prefer HRC. It’s trying too hard to find something against Sanders though. I’m 100% certain that if Sanders is trying to help someone get elected it’s because he likes what they’re trying to do and has NOTHING to do with the sexual orientation of their rival. ….And I personally don’t get offended when someone else is more qualified for something than I am – I sure don’t blame it on people having a problem with me being gay (unless they specifically say that).

      • MidgardMortal

        April 15, 2016 at 8:20 pm

        Please reconsider, and support Bernie. <3

        • Vindication

          April 16, 2016 at 10:31 pm

          Please reconsider and support Hillary. <3

      • JasonTremblay

        April 19, 2016 at 12:42 am

        Please look at Hilary’s past record on LGBT issues. Bad. Very, very bad.

        • Dave Glimp

          April 19, 2016 at 1:12 am

          LOL, all I care about is what she represents now and that she’s not Sanders so you’re wasting your time. But, you know, excuse me for calling out this article as bullshit and actually defending Sanders even though I’d never vote for him. I promise I won’t make THAT mistake again.

        • Dave Glimp

          April 19, 2016 at 1:18 am

          HRC is not my ideal candidate, but since she’s not Sanders I’ll take her. It’s already past my state so you’re wasting your time. But please excuse me for calling out an article as BS against him when I thought it was.

          • John Buck

            May 26, 2016 at 7:58 am

            What are your problems with Sanders?

        • Tamara Baker

          May 30, 2016 at 11:35 am

          Please look at Sanders’ past record. Much, much worse. Barney Frank knows, which is why Bernard Sanders hates him. (That, and Barney’s being much more effective than Bernie at passing regulations that go after the big banks.)

          • sleepd

            May 31, 2016 at 4:11 am

            Please look at Barney Frank’s record while in Congress. One out of every three dollars contributed to his campaigns came from the Finance sector – and no surprise that he now sits on the board of a bank. Dodd-Frank was a bill the Democrats put together only because they were trying to absolve themselves of blame from enabling Fannie and Freddie insolvency. And when you are done examining his legislative history, take a look at how his office sheltered his prostitute boyfriend, for which he was censured. Just because he wraps himself in a rainbow flag does not mean he isn’t a creep.

          • William Carr

            May 31, 2016 at 8:42 am

            “One out of every three dollars contributed to his campaigns came from the Finance sector”

            And to ‘Bots, that makes him a criminal.

            What the rest of us know, but you don’t, is the source of fundraising cash doesn’t actually oblige you to anything.

            It’s especially interesting that you have decided to join the “trash Barney Frank” parade.

            “Dodd-Frank was a bill the Democrats put together only because they were trying to absolve themselves of blame from enabling Fannie and Freddie insolvency.”

            We didn’t “enable” Fannie and Freddie.

            Most people don’t know that F&F accounted for 25% of the shaky loans and they’d already stopped accepting them.

            That means that 75% of the problem came from the mainstream Banks.

            And Democrats passed Dodd-Frank to regulate the Banks after years of Republicans weakening Regulations.

        • CoolBeans

          May 31, 2016 at 4:18 pm

          Past, they are past. Do you beleive she or any other has the right to evolve?

      • anomaly

        May 31, 2016 at 1:47 pm

        I’m a big HRC supporter and agree this article was silly. I was waiting on reasons the other candidates lack in policy or their views/record but there was none of that. It’s evident Sanders sells his endorsement to whomever endorses him but that doesn’t necessarily make those candidates the lesser choice.

    • Fresh Haus

      April 17, 2016 at 1:05 am

      shallow? gay men? never.

    • Galina Galanos

      April 18, 2016 at 3:26 pm

      I agree with you on your statement that “Being openly gay does not grant you the right to win an election just because you are gay.” But it is quite telling that he supports only those who oppose those who are. I think each case should be assessed individually.

    • William Carr

      May 31, 2016 at 8:38 am

      You realize, though, that Sanders didn’t support the openly gay Candidates because they “weren’t PURE enough” ?

      He supports people who he feels will twist Congress in HIS direction.

      So to him, these LGBT candidates aren’t “good enough”.

      He could have given his endorsements elsewhere.

      But he’s in effect suppressing the LGBT Democrats by promoting his choices.

  4. Lori Gardner

    April 14, 2016 at 7:41 pm

    Hillery is raising money to get more Democrats elected. She is trying to get rid of Republicans. Sanders is trying to get rid of certain Democrats. He has very narrow criteria. He only cares about socialism. He doesn’t care about equitable representation in government by women, minorities or LGBT. These are not important to him. He does not know these areas or the people. When Democratic leaders back a certain candidate electability comes into play. The people in these districts are all trying to win Republicans seats. He would be a disaster at the head of the Democratic Party. He would never embrace the whole Party.

    • IvarHusa

      April 14, 2016 at 8:02 pm


    • PandaInMyPants

      April 14, 2016 at 8:32 pm

      Trying to get rid of democrats? He’s not endorsing anyone who is running against an incumbent dem (and believe me, I’m sure he would love to endorse Tim Canova)

      Doesn’t care about representation by women or minorites? ALL THREE of the candidates he endorsed are women, and 2 are women of color.

      • MidgardMortal

        April 15, 2016 at 8:49 pm

        I believe he has endorsed Tim Canova.

      • Iron Maiden

        April 16, 2016 at 10:55 am

        Bernie is still a lowlife communist !

    • John Caravella

      April 14, 2016 at 11:11 pm

      Each candidate he’s supporting is running in a district that’s either a) currently held by a republican or b) being vacated by a retiring democrat. In other words, nobody is “getting rid of democrats.”

      In the case of Lucy Flores – the one who *isnt* running against an openly gay candidate – Hillary and the democrat establishment are back Susie Lee – a neophyte millionaire – over Flores, a political veteran who overcame extreme poverty and gang violence.

    • MidgardMortal

      April 15, 2016 at 8:49 pm

      He is trying to get rid of corporate puppets. I don’t want him to embrace the whole Party. Many of them, like Hill$, are corrupt.

    • Iron Maiden

      April 16, 2016 at 10:55 am

      Bernie Sanders is a communist ! Trump 2016

      • Denise Kelly

        May 5, 2016 at 5:49 pm

        Repeating yourself does not magically make your statement true, but it’s very telling when that’s the best you can do.

  5. Markuse O.

    April 14, 2016 at 7:51 pm

    this is dumbest article and headline ever.

  6. Tolerance

    April 14, 2016 at 8:01 pm

    This article is so stupid. The next headline will probably lead with “Sanders raising funds against Christian congressional candidates.”

  7. Pam Keeley

    April 14, 2016 at 8:31 pm

    This piece basically argues for selection of a candidate based upon sexual preference, similar to arguments for supporting a candidate based on gender. Sorry, I’m one of the pioneers of LGBTQ civil rights and what I’ve learned over the decades is that voting with our brains gets us more every time. WA Senator Pramila Jayapal has been a true and reliable advocate for ALL marginalized communities for over two decades and simply because she’s not gay and has received the endorsement of Bernie Sanders is no reason to disparage her. She and the other down ballot candidates mentioned here are true champions for the underdog and outsider classes. Wake up, Blade, this is the 21st century.

    • Iron Maiden

      April 15, 2016 at 1:18 am

      Bernie is gay

    • GinaO

      April 15, 2016 at 3:15 pm

      In total support of your comment here, Pam Keeley. Thank you.

  8. AKRNC

    April 14, 2016 at 9:47 pm

    There’s nothing in this article that leads me to believe that Sanders is raising money for the opponents of these candidates because they are gay and his record certainly would add credibility to the idea that their sexuality has nothing to with why he would or wouldn’t support a candidate. I’m not a supporter of Sanders but I’m firmly of the opinion that this is b.s. He should, however, be raising money for the entire party to be distributed among our downticket candidates. If we have a Democratic President but a Republican led Congress for another 6+ years, we’ll see nothing but gridlock again. Bernie Sanders agreed to raise money for the downticket members of the DNC when he was permitted to run as a Democrat. It’s a promise he needs to live up to.

    • Iron Maiden

      April 15, 2016 at 1:20 am

      Bernie sucks

    • TonyS

      April 15, 2016 at 4:32 pm

      @AKRNC:disqus: And as he pointed out at the debate, he has lived up to that promise. He has caucused with democrats for years, and fundraised through the DSCC for a whole host of down ticket democrats running for senate positions. Additionally, at every Sanders event I’ve been to in Missouri, we’ve met local candidates that the Sanders campaign has given time… usually the majority of the time… to in order to make sure they get elected.

      On the Hillary side of things, it’s true that she has raised a lot more money for down-ticket democrats via her Hillary Victory Fund, but she also made that money conditional on state democratic parties supporting her campaign, which I think is REALLY low. The reason she had the support of so many more superdelegates on day one this year is because she had quite literally bought the support of 33 state democratic parties. I don’t think that’s right at all.

      I personally have been out campaigning for Berniecrats, and will attempt to get progressives elected wherever I can, because you’re absolutely right that we’re going to need to retake the senate and at least make a dent in the house if we want to get anything done. That’s one of the reasons I back Sanders… he’s brought in a TON of new voters to the Democratic party, and those voters are going to help us take back congress.

  9. Joe

    April 14, 2016 at 9:49 pm

    This is terrible reporting. An equally fair headline would be “Sanders raises money for women of color running against rich white men.”

    • John Caravella

      April 14, 2016 at 11:11 pm

      And one very rich white woman in the case of the Nevada district

    • Iron Maiden

      April 15, 2016 at 1:21 am

      Bernie hates gay people ! We need Trump he loves gays

  10. Aesithiar Runekafi

    April 14, 2016 at 11:14 pm

    Where was Barney Franks endorsement? Oh yeah, he threw it to the establishment. Being Gay is not a sole qualifier to being a progressive. There are gay republicans too, you want him to support those guys too?

  11. Brian's Ions

    April 14, 2016 at 11:30 pm

    Tipping the Two Faces of Bernie?

    So Sanders, the not even half-Democrat, spent half of last week running a half-sexist campaign– unbelievably, attacking as ‘unqualified’– among the most-qualified presidential candidates in American history. Ever.

    That must have been a ‘one-off’ for good old, avuncular lib, Bernie Sanders. Right???

    But now we discover that Sanders is opposing, with cold hard cash, openly gay Democrats in TWO out of THREE down-ballot congressional races.

    I’d say that justifies LGBTs cutting Sanders’ remaining ‘tips’ by at least two thirds… for his bold delivery of really bad service on gender equality and LGBTQ empowerment.

    Generously tipping a waiter who has repeatedly provided sloppy service and empty-plate promises is not just goofy. It also encourages the waiter to extend his sloppy service to others.

    • Rob Cochran

      April 15, 2016 at 4:19 am

      I’m gay, but that doesn’t mean I’m automatically going to vote for a gay candidate just because they’re gay. That’s like saying, “Oh, your GAY? You should meet my friend, Steve! He’s gay TOO!” I’m all for more gay folks in public office, but I’m not gonna slam someone just because they support a non-gay candidate over a gay one.

  12. Thomas A. Porter

    April 15, 2016 at 2:22 am


    • TonyS

      April 15, 2016 at 4:43 pm

      lol Sanders & his GOP party?! Huh?

  13. Rob Cochran

    April 15, 2016 at 4:09 am

    I agree with Nathan. I am also an openly gay man. But that doesn’t mean I would automatically vote for a gay candidate. Assuming that is like saying, “Oh, you’re gay? I should introduce you to my friend Steve! He’s gay TOO!” Come on…

  14. kevin

    April 15, 2016 at 8:08 am

    So simply being gay trumps policy considerations? In other words are we to support Aaron Schock unconditionally?

  15. MyAss

    April 15, 2016 at 9:28 am

    Oh my… and just to think of it: I wanted to start a discussion, but there have been about 30 guys/women before me who have had the same thought… )))
    Chris Johnson – shame, shame, shame.
    The only thing you have failed to do yet, is transferring a Hillary for President decal on your forehead and running around with it.
    Petit bourgeois – that’s the only recation you deserve.
    No, I will not vote for Hillary. Your effors are for naught. Sorry.

  16. JackNasty

    April 15, 2016 at 10:25 am

    #HillarySoQualified that her minions are forced to write nonsensical hit pieces like this article.

  17. cratewasher

    April 15, 2016 at 10:29 am

    Sanders fought for gay rights, while Hillary was throwing gays under the bus.
    She thought gay marriage should be illegal until 2013.
    Thanks for reminding us that Bernie is the leader; and that Hillary follows the money.

  18. cratewasher

    April 15, 2016 at 10:31 am

    If this clip of Hillary doesn’t make your skin crawl, then you are not an ally to the LGBT community.
    Bernie is an ally, and was long before Hillary found the “courage”.

  19. Alan

    April 15, 2016 at 11:37 am

    Saying Bernie is raising money against gay candidates is like saying he’s against all children of Cuban immigrants (i.e. Ted Cruz)! In that same light, is Blade magazine and this article’s writer against Women and Immigration reform in light of this pro-gay candidate rant? Of course not. I love that the journalist buried in the article that both the candidates Bernie supports also voted against anti-gay and anti-trans legislation.

  20. WarrenHart

    April 15, 2016 at 1:59 pm

    Bernie Sanders is so divisive.

  21. TonyS

    April 15, 2016 at 2:11 pm

    So… to recap, Bernie is continuing to send money down-ballot by backing 3 more congressional candidates, who are allies, 2 of whom are running against incumbents who are gay… because they believe they are better on fiscal policy. And the author expects me to, on that basis, reject Sanders and all 3 congressional candidates as anti-LGBT?!

    You, sir, are acting shamefully. This is really indefensible.

  22. L B

    April 15, 2016 at 2:13 pm

    This article is trash. It does nothing but cause confusion for voters in my district.

    Walkinshaw will represent our district very well and speak with a clear progressive voice.

    Come to an upcoming campaign event or contact his campaign to learn more.

    I don’t work for the campaign and am a supporter who is sad to see people using this terrible article as an example of what Brady Walkinshaw stands for. This is a very disappointing and misleading article.

  23. Marc Herlands

    April 15, 2016 at 3:31 pm

    Being gay isn’t a ticket in. It must NOT be a door to keep people out.

  24. Kathy11

    April 15, 2016 at 4:03 pm

    He should definitely endorse some gay Republicans because it doesn’t matter if they have the same policies….

  25. Bill Haffey

    April 15, 2016 at 4:29 pm

    Sanders does not have a “long record” of supporting LGBT folk, he has a spotty record. In 1994 he released a statement that his vote against DOMA was bases on state’s rights not support of “same gender marriage.” He finally made a statement in support of marriage equality in 2010. His claims of support is nothing but pandering. With his choice candidate to endorse we see his REAL attitude toward LGBT folk.

    • TonyS

      April 15, 2016 at 4:34 pm

      Incorrect. He has been an ally since at least 1973, and his record has been SOLID ever since then.

      • Bill Haffey

        April 15, 2016 at 5:00 pm

        The 1994 date was a typo, however the rest of the post is accurate. The 1973 you quote, shows a letter to the editor written about a national drive to rewrite criminal codes in the several states. This drive included removing several “victim less crimes,” such as sodomy. However, what neither the article nor the letter states is in the 49 states that had sodomy laws in 1969 sodomy laws were not limited to same gender sexual activities, but included many heterosexual activities as well. Sanders’ letter supporting the reworking of the criminal code was not aimed at supporting the gay community but clearing up the code.
        It was 10 years later that Sanders signed a parade permit for a pride march, after the majority of the city council voted for it.
        The article you cite points out that Bernie’s support has been spotty at best. It proves he has not been a long term supporter of marriage equality as he claims. He has not supported anti-discrimination laws until recently.
        I may make typos in my posts, but at least I check my history BEFORE accusing others of posting incorrect information.

          • Bill Haffey

            April 15, 2016 at 6:27 pm

            Not even a good try Tony.
            The first link says “He didn’t do anything special, he just made them welcome.” That is not support of LGBT rights, it is being kind. And it also talks about 1980s NOT the ’70s.
            The second link connect to nothing.
            The third link list things like voting against DOMA, which you previous link explained was not a vote in favor of marriage. His vote against DADT left the total ban of LGBT folk in the military, hardly a stand for equality. Trashing a group that did not endorse him by calling it a part of the establishment, is not a move of equality. Particularly when it comes from a member of the establishment as an elected office for 30 years.. And the vote to uphold the decision of the government of DC is expected from all democrats.
            The fourth link repeats Bernie’s claims about his vote on DOMA which was disproved by the article in your last post, and it included the letter to the editor which was explained in my last post.
            The fifth link is an endorsement of Bernie, which does not mention LGBT rights at all.
            Bernie’s record is not solid at all.

          • TonyS

            April 15, 2016 at 10:09 pm

            I’m confident that others can google (and read) Bernie’s record better than you can.

          • Bill Haffey

            April 15, 2016 at 11:23 pm

            Tony, it is you that need to read Bernie’s record. I have read it, and researched it. I know what he has and has not done. I also have read every link you have posted, and they have all proved my points not yours. You are free to believe what you wish, you do have the right to be wrong. However, those who can actually do research will know the TRUTH, which is Bernie’s record on LGBT rights is spotty at best.

          • Bill Haffey

            April 16, 2016 at 2:07 am

            No Tony, you are. Look it up if you dare. Or even better, read the links YOU posted. YOU disprove your own argument.

          • Josue Rafael De La Rosa

            April 17, 2016 at 12:48 am

            So Bernie voting against DOMA is not as good as Hillary campaigning and favoring DOMA. Get a grip, troll

          • Bill Haffey

            April 17, 2016 at 1:05 am

            Excuse me, but what was Hillary campaigning for? She was not in elected office, nor would she be running for one for another 4 years. Bernie telling lies about why he voted against DOMA in order to get votes is worse than anything Hillary has done.
            I love how you ignore the issue, and then call anyone who will not accept Bernie’s propaganda a troll. When you stp[ being concerned about the truth and onlyattack those who speak it you become the troll.

          • Josue Rafael De La Rosa

            April 17, 2016 at 1:31 am

            She was in favor of DOMA, that is a fact…and you are a troll, also a fact

          • Bill Haffey

            April 17, 2016 at 1:33 am

            Two unproven facts, nothing new from you. I could ask you to provide proof that she support DOMA, but trolls like you do not believe you have to provide proof for anything. Usually because you cannot. Isn’t it past your bed time little boy?

          • Josue Rafael De La Rosa

            April 17, 2016 at 1:38 am

          • Bill Haffey

            April 17, 2016 at 1:44 am

            I read the article, and it talks about he statement in 2015, it says nothing about her campaigning for it it 1996. It says her husband signed it, it did not say she support it. Once again troll, where is your proof that she campaigned for it in 1996?

          • Josue Rafael De La Rosa

            April 17, 2016 at 1:50 am

            lol, she is defendinit and even gay activists who suppoert her are calling her on this saying that not only is she wrong but she is also trying to rewrite history, like she did with Nancy Reagan and the aids epidemic…

            So you Clinton fans are very happy to talk about how great the 90’s were and try to tie her to that “success” only when it is convenient. Disappointment with Hillary Clinton’s version of how the Defense of Marriage Act became law is bubbling into public conversation among activists.

            During an interview with Rachel Maddow on Friday, Clinton described her husband signing DOMA in 1996 as a “defensive action,” meant to stave off passage of a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.


            But that’s not how activists on the ground remember the fateful law’s passage.

            “It’s just not true,” wrote Michelangelo Signorile in a column today for The Huffington Post. “There was no talk, among activists, antigay forces or politicians, of a constitution amendment in 1996 when Clinton signed DOMA.”

            Bernie Sanders amplified the historical disconnect when he used a speech before the Jefferson-Jackson dinner in Iowa to highlight his vote at the time against DOMA.

            “Now today, some are trying to rewrite history by saying that they voted for one antigay law to stop something worse,” he told them. “That’s not the case.”

            Sanders had long shied away from attacks on Clinton, and he never mentioned his opponent by name, a tactic The Washington Post referred to glibly as “one long subtweet of Hillary Clinton.” Then Sanders reiterated the criticism when asked about it during an appearance on State of the Union on CNN Sunday.

            Even some big-name political activists and longtime Clinton supporters, like Hilary Rosen, are siding with Sanders’s version of the story.

            “Bernie Sanders is right,” Rosen wrote on Twitter on Saturday. “Note to my friends Bill and Hillary: Please stop saying DOMA was to prevent something worse. It wasn’t, I was there.”

            “The LGBT community should NEVER allow any politician to revise our noble and courageous history for political purposes,” wrote activist David Mixner Sunday.

            Their tweets and those from other activists triggered a story from the Washington Blade — “Gay Activists Unhappy With Clinton Remarks on DOMA” — that noted the increasingly outspoken dissatisfaction with Clinton’s version of events. That story has been picked up by a number of news sites, even conservative ones like Glenn Beck’s The Blaze and The Daily Caller.

            And freshly being passed around is an op-ed written in 2013 by the former head of the Human Rights Campaign, Elizabeth Birch, who responded to President Bill Clinton once trying to offer the same version of history being shared now by Hillary Clinton.

            Under a very straightforward headline, “President Clinton Is Wrong About the History of DOMA,” Birch wrote definitively for AmericaBlog that, “In 1996, I was President of the Human Rights Campaign, and there was no real threat of a Federal Marriage Amendment.”

            “President Clinton signed DOMA into law for purely political reasons,” wrote Birch. “I get it. As horrible as it was, I got it then. My point is that now I want the older and wiser President Clinton to reflect more deeply — to challenge himself. I want my friend to say: I was wrong, and you were all served badly by that moment in history.”

          • Bill Haffey

            April 17, 2016 at 2:11 am

            So your answer is you have no proof. Instead you presenting any non-existent proof, you chose to launch an attack, hoping that no one will notice that you avoided the issue. well isn’t to bad that did not work.
            Now, about you attack. You really should know who you are attacking before you start. You talk about activists on the ground in 1996 when DOMA was passed. I was one of those activists, and had been “on the ground for 29 years. I I joined the Mattichine society the day I turned 18, in 1967. I gave my first gay rights speech at a small church related college in NC in 1970, protested Anita Bryant, and fought homophobia before it was a word. I demonstrated for Gay Rights (we had not added all the letter yet) in GA from 1972-75.
            I took part in the founding of the United Church of Christ Lesbian Gay Coalition ( later to be called LGBT) the first mainline religious LGBT group in the nation. I served on the Gov. Advisory Board on Sexual Orientation in OH, and participated in OH first Pride march 4 years before Bernie signed a parade permit for one in Burlington. I was a founder of the the Untied Church AIDS Network and the AIDS National Interfaith Network, I lobbied Congress on LGBT issues for several years. I was a leader of the boycotts of both CO and Cincinnati. over their discriminatory anti-LGBT laws. I served as National Moderator of the UCCLGBTC. I have also been a member of more LGBT social action and social justice committees than I can count.
            Don’t presume to lecture me about what the condition was on the ground in 1996, or 1969, or 2015. I have lived and participated in the action on the ground since long before you ken what was going on. I also walked with Hillary in the NYC Pride March since the Secret Service allowed her to participate in 2000.
            Save your condescending attitude for someone who does not know what was going on.
            Now troll. you have two choices, an apology, or no return post.

          • Josue Rafael De La Rosa

            April 17, 2016 at 2:22 am

            Lol, As recently as last year she was still lying and defending DOMA as the lesser of two evils. In that article even some of her supporters called her on that lie.I am guessing that the gay activists that called her on her lie must have some kind of standing if they were interviewed by several media outlets… Maybe the media should ve contacted you. Apparently they dont know who you are. I dont care how many things YOU, not Hillary Clinton, have done in favor of gay rights, I dont have to apologize for telling the truth about her. After all you have done in favor of gay rights you are now standing on the. Wrong side of history.

          • Bill Haffey

            April 17, 2016 at 2:53 am

            When you start telling the truth, then we will worry about your not needing to apologize.
            You have been telling lies through out this conversation. You claimed Hillary campaigned for DOMA, and when pressed for proof, you present a link about comments mad in 2015, claiming it proved comments in 1996. When challenged on that, you claimed that you knew more about what happened “on the ground” than I did, which is a lie. When confronted with proof, you resorted to the final line of trolls every where, insults.
            The reason I have not been asked lately, for my opinion is I stopped being a professional gay years ago. Instead of dealing with folks like you who believe you know everything, when in fact you know nothing, I chose to spend my time teaching. So two Masters dDegrees and two PhDs. I find my enjoyment with people who actually want to learn the truth.
            You have your right to embrace inaccurate information, to show how little you know by trolling folk who know more, and demonstrate that propaganda can work on the willing. And I have my right to tell the truth, and challenge folk like you who thrive on trolling the intelligent.

    • TonyS

      April 15, 2016 at 4:36 pm

      and by the way, DOMA wasn’t even authored, let alone voted on, until 1996.

  26. Chris W. Luczak

    April 15, 2016 at 5:51 pm

    Gay is not a qualification, it is who you love..not a prerequisite for political office. Being a gay, married disabled combat veteran, I voted against the last gay politician here in SD as he was NOT qualified to serve…Bernie is not gay but he is the best choice for president as he is not bought and paid for. He has fought for us ALL..not special interests.

  27. Juanjo Cid

    April 15, 2016 at 7:00 pm

    For a second I thought I was reading The Onion.

  28. retaliate

    April 15, 2016 at 7:35 pm

    I’m sure if he supported the openly-gay candidates instead of the 3 women he’s supporting… he’d be getting grief for “raising funds against women”.

    He can’t win can he? Anything Bernie does or says is somehow a massive outrage and will be negatively framed with intent – such as the headline of this article makes clear what the intent of the article is… to smear.

  29. MidgardMortal

    April 15, 2016 at 8:18 pm

    News Flash… Gays can be Establishment, Corporate Puppets too!

  30. Brooks Austin

    April 15, 2016 at 9:32 pm

    This article proves the hypocrisy of the Democratic establishment elites. First they whine that Sanders hasn’t done enough to support the party, then when he does support the party, they whine and make slanderous lies about Sanders somehow being homophobic because he didn’t endorse the candidates the establishment has selected. If we live in a truly equal society, politicians should be voted on based on what their policies are and not what their sexuality is. If sexuality is all you care about, then you might as well vote for the Log Cabin Republicans. To insinuate that if you vote against a gay politician no matter what your reason that somehow makes you homophobic is insulting to all American voters and is dangerous thought crime. At least Washington Blade finally got Sanders’ name right after months of calling him Bernard instead of Bernie.

  31. Eric N Gross

    April 15, 2016 at 9:34 pm

    I’m bisexual (but leaning toward gay) and: if there was a primary election between an openly gay candidate supported by the business establishment, versus a hardcore progressive populist/socialist type (think Kshama Sawant), I’d go with the left populist every time.

  32. Desiree Lee Henry

    April 16, 2016 at 1:02 am

    This whole article is a fluff piece. The only reason to write it is click bait and to smear Bernie. Bernie is far from bigoted against LGBTQ… just look up his famous outburst on the Congressional floor defending gay servicemen and women.

  33. melissa thompson

    April 16, 2016 at 1:09 am

    This is a blatant attempt to create a crisis where there is none, and to imply that Senator Sanders’ is opposed to the candidates mentioned BECAUSE they are gay and we all know that is ludicrous. He has been ally to the LGBT community for decades. Unlike his opponent who is on record as opposing marriage. equality.

  34. David

    April 16, 2016 at 1:58 am

    He can’t endorse people because they might compete with a few openly gay candidates? What kind of drivel is this author and paper spouting?

  35. K1nsey6

    April 16, 2016 at 8:20 pm

    Being gay doesn’t grant immunity. I don’t care about gay, straight or whatever, I care if the candidate works in the best interest of their constituents.

  36. Shawn Orlopp

    April 16, 2016 at 11:56 pm

    The title should be “Sanders raising funds for other progressives.” It’s pretty pathetic when people vote for someone because of their skin color, gender, or sexual preference. Yeah, I’d love to see more openly gay men and women in politics. But no, I don’t think their sexual orientation should be a factor, whether positively or negatively. It’s kind of insulting to me as a gay man when people imply that it should.

  37. Josue Rafael De La Rosa

    April 17, 2016 at 12:34 am

    I am a Gay man and that doesn’t mean that I am going to support someone just because that person is gay. There are many gay people supporting Hillary, the one that until recently was against marriage equality and praised Nancy Reagan and her work in “favor of aids patients” (knowingly pandering for republican votes…because she is not that dumb). I believe in Bernies message and I will support and vote for tose who stand for real change. Their sexual orientation is not an issue for me and it shouldnt be an issue for Bernie or anyone else.

  38. Fresh Haus

    April 17, 2016 at 1:08 am

    Zephyr Teachout primaried the governor of New York and did very well, she is reams more qualified than her opponent. Sanders also has a top grade rating from the HRC, there is no story here.

  39. Jeanette Armstrong

    April 17, 2016 at 6:52 am

    Bernie should just donate to Democratic candidates and let the voters decide who wins. Isn’t that what
    he’s asking to have for himself? Seems like the democratic thing to do.

  40. rpinter

    April 17, 2016 at 11:31 am

    Chris Johnson your reporting is embarrassing.

  41. Barbarrow

    April 18, 2016 at 10:14 am

    Sorry, but when Congress is balanced to represent the male and female population ratio, then I’ll worry about what percentage of gay people hold office.

  42. CCinRI

    April 18, 2016 at 10:17 am

    How pathetic is this, suggesting that we LGBT voters should vote for or against a candidate simply because of their sexuality or gender identity? Personally, I’m offended, and the author neglects to similarly point out that the HRC has endorsed Republican Mark Kirk over Democratic Lesbian Senator Tammy Baldwin; but I suppose that’s different, both Baldwin and the HRC endorsed Hillary. For myself, I’d rather vote for the candidates who are consistant, have credibility and the long-term courage of their convictions; which, in Bernie’s case, I can say are completely aligned with my own. Political opportunists are a dime a dozen, and represent the status quo of our completely corrupt government. More bought & Paid-4 representatives derailing our democracy is something we can’t afford, Black, White, Gay and with or without imaginary friends.

  43. rucio

    April 21, 2016 at 9:23 pm

    What if the situation were framed as the gay candidates running against progressive women of color? This is infantile, regressive, and counterproductive identity politics. The best candidate for all on the widest range of issues deserves to win.

  44. clipon

    April 24, 2016 at 1:37 pm

    This is what I consider a libelous comment. The headline is totally misleading and the facts of the article do not support the headline. Bernie is supporting the candidates who support him. These candidates are pro gay civil rights. The fact that they happen to be running against gays is immaterial. You don’t deserve a place at the table simply because you are gay or black. Elections are about leadership. They are not about affirmative action. One of the candidates Bernie’s endorsed candidate is running against is a Hillary Clinton supporter.

  45. cratewasher

    May 1, 2016 at 11:11 am

    By the time Hillary “evolved” on gay marriage, her daughter was already married to a hedge fund manager….

  46. 3Kibbles

    May 28, 2016 at 4:42 pm

    Will Yandick is a good guy- and he actually prefers Sanders. Guess that doesn’t matter. .

  47. Lars

    May 30, 2016 at 8:25 am

    Trying to convince a Hillbot to support Bernie is a waste of time. How much more evidence through the decades could there be against the Clintons? Either they are to naive to believe that people with great power have the means to skirt the law or they have no moral compass. Either way, it is up to those of us to see the Clintons for what they are and support the candidate who can defeat Trump. The sad thing is that if she is nominated and Trump wins, it will be tough to find people who admit that they supported her. I am proud to say that I feel the Bern!

  48. Tamara Baker

    May 30, 2016 at 11:41 am

    Not surprised at all by this. Sanders is an old-style “No struggle but class struggle” Socialist, and those types sneer at what they call “identity politics”, which is their term for anything that this mostly white cisgendered hetero male dominated crowd doesn’t see as important. (Or what Ralph Nader calls “gonadal politics” when referring strictly to women’s and LGBTQ issues.)

    His past record bears this out:


  49. LesbianTippingHabits

    June 3, 2016 at 10:59 pm

    Well, raising the Minimum Wage is a great idea. However, real people can start tipping generously for good service today, without waiting on Congress or Republicans or Hillary to decide [not] to do anything. Thank you.

  50. Non of your business

    June 8, 2016 at 4:16 am

    I don’t care if he’s gay. I do care about being lied to.

  51. Non of your business

    June 8, 2016 at 4:17 am

    Why would Bernie endorse a Hillary democrat?

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Equality Act, contorted as a danger by anti-LGBTQ forces, is all but dead

No political willpower to force vote or reach a compromise



Despite having President Biden in the White House and Democratic majorities in both chambers of Congress, efforts to update federal civil rights laws to strengthen the prohibition on discrimination against LGBTQ people by passing the Equality Act are all but dead as opponents of the measure have contorted it beyond recognition.

Political willpower is lacking to find a compromise that would be acceptable to enough Republican senators to end a filibuster on the bill — a tall order in any event — nor is there the willpower to force a vote on the Equality Act as opponents stoke fears about transgender kids in sports and not even unanimity in the Democratic caucus in favor of the bill is present, stakeholders who spoke to the Blade on condition of anonymity said.

In fact, there are no imminent plans to hold a vote on the legislation even though Pride month is days away, which would be an opportune time for Congress to demonstrate solidarity with the LGBTQ community by holding a vote on the legislation.

If the Equality Act were to come up for a Senate vote in the next month, it would not have the support to pass. Continued assurances that bipartisan talks are continuing on the legislation have yielded no evidence of additional support, let alone the 10 Republicans needed to end a filibuster.

“I haven’t really heard an update either way, which is usually not good,” one Democratic insider said. “My understanding is that our side was entrenched in a no-compromise mindset and with [Sen. Joe] Manchin saying he didn’t like the bill, it doomed it this Congress. And the bullying of hundreds of trans athletes derailed our message and our arguments of why it was broadly needed.”

The only thing keeping the final nail from being hammered into the Equality Act’s coffin is the unwillingness of its supporters to admit defeat. Other stakeholders who spoke to the Blade continued to assert bipartisan talks are ongoing, strongly pushing back on any conclusion the legislation is dead.

Alphonso David, president of the Human Rights Campaign, said the Equality Act is “alive and well,” citing widespread public support he said includes “the majority of Democrats, Republicans and independents and a growing number of communities across the country engaging and mobilizing every day in support of the legislation.”

“They understand the urgent need to pass this bill and stand up for LGBTQ people across our country,” David added. “As we engage with elected officials, we have confidence that Congress will listen to the voices of their constituents and continue fighting for the Equality Act through the lengthy legislative process.  We will also continue our unprecedented campaign to grow the already-high public support for a popular bill that will save lives and make our country fairer and more equal for all. We will not stop until the Equality Act is passed.”

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), chief sponsor of the Equality Act in the Senate, also signaled through a spokesperson work continues on the legislation, refusing to give up on expectations the legislation would soon become law.

“Sen. Merkley and his staff are in active discussions with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to try to get this done,” McLennan said. “We definitely see it as a key priority that we expect to become law.”

A spokesperson Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who had promised to force a vote on the Equality Act in the Senate on the day the U.S. House approved it earlier this year, pointed to a March 25 “Dear Colleague” letter in which he identified the Equality Act as one of several bills he’d bring up for a vote.

Despite any assurances, the hold up on the bill is apparent. Although the U.S. House approved the legislation earlier this year, the Senate Judiciary Committee hasn’t even reported out the bill yet to the floor in the aftermath of the first-ever Senate hearing on the bill in March. A Senate Judiciary Committee Democratic aide, however, disputed that inaction as evidence the Equality Act is dead in its tracks: “Bipartisan efforts on a path forward are ongoing.”

Democrats are quick to blame Republicans for inaction on the Equality Act, but with Manchin withholding his support for the legislation they can’t even count on the entirety of their caucus to vote “yes” if it came to the floor. Progressives continue to advocate an end to the filibuster to advance legislation Biden has promised as part of his agenda, but even if they were to overcome headwinds and dismantle the institution needing 60 votes to advance legislation, the Equality Act would likely not have majority support to win approval in the Senate with a 50-50 party split.

The office of Manchin, who has previously said he couldn’t support the Equality Act over concerns about public schools having to implement the transgender protections applying to sports and bathrooms, hasn’t responded to multiple requests this year from the Blade on the legislation and didn’t respond to a request to comment for this article.

Meanwhile, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who declined to co-sponsor the Equality Act this year after having signed onto the legislation in the previous Congress, insisted through a spokesperson talks are still happening across the aisle despite the appearances the legislation is dead.

“There continues to be bipartisan support for passing a law that protects the civil rights of Americans, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity,” said Annie Clark, a Collins spokesperson. “The Equality Act was a starting point for negotiations, and in its current form, it cannot pass. That’s why there are ongoing discussions among senators and stakeholders about a path forward.”

Let’s face it: Anti-LGBTQ forces have railroaded the debate by making the Equality Act about an end to women’s sports by allowing transgender athletes and danger to women in sex-segregated places like bathrooms and prisons. That doesn’t even get into resolving the issue on drawing the line between civil rights for LGBTQ people and religious freedom, which continues to be litigated in the courts as the U.S. Supreme Court is expected any day now to issue a ruling in Fulton v. City of Philadelphia to determine if foster care agencies can reject same-sex couples over religious objections.

For transgender Americans, who continue to report discrimination and violence at high rates, the absence of the Equality Act may be most keenly felt.

Mara Keisling, outgoing executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, disputed any notion the Equality Act is dead and insisted the legislation is “very much alive.”

“We remain optimistic despite misinformation from the opposition,” Keisling said. “NCTE and our movement partners are still working fruitfully on the Equality Act with senators. In fact, we are gaining momentum with all the field organizing we’re doing, like phone banking constituents to call their senators. Legislating takes time. Nothing ever gets through Congress quickly. We expect to see a vote during this Congress, and we are hopeful we can win.”

But one Democratic source said calls to members of Congress against the Equality Act, apparently coordinated by groups like the Heritage Foundation, have has outnumbered calls in favor of it by a substantial margin, with a particular emphasis on Manchin.

No stories are present in the media about same-sex couples being kicked out of a restaurant for holding hands or transgender people for using the restroom consistent with their gender identity, which would be perfectly legal in 25 states thanks to the patchwork of civil rights laws throughout the United States and inadequate protections under federal law.

Tyler Deaton, senior adviser for the American Unity Fund, which has bolstered the Republican-led Fairness for All Act as an alternative to the Equality Act, said he continues to believe the votes are present for a compromise form of the bill.

“I know for a fact there is a supermajority level of support in the Senate for a version of the Equality Act that is fully protective of both LGBTQ civil rights and religious freedom,” Deaton said. “There is interest on both sides of the aisle in getting something done this Congress.”

Deaton, however, didn’t respond to a follow-up inquiry on what evidence exists of agreeing on this compromise.

Biden has already missed the goal he campaigned on in the 2020 election to sign the Equality Act into law within his first 100 days in office. Although Biden renewed his call to pass the legislation in his speech to Congress last month, as things stand now that appears to be a goal he won’t realize for the remainder of this Congress.

Nor has the Biden administration made the Equality Act an issue for top officials within the administration as it pushes for an infrastructure package as a top priority. One Democratic insider said Louisa Terrell, legislative affairs director for the White House, delegated work on the Equality Act to a deputy as opposed to handling it herself.

To be sure, Biden has demonstrated support for the LGBTQ community through executive action at an unprecedented rate, signing an executive order on day one ordering federal agencies to implement the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last year in Bostock v. Clayton County to the fullest extent possible and dismantling former President Trump’s transgender military ban. Biden also made historic LGBTQ appointments with the confirmation of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Rachel Levine as assistant secretary of health.

A White House spokesperson insisted Biden’s team across the board remains committed to the Equality Act, pointing to his remarks to Congress.

“President Biden has urged Congress to get the Equality Act to his desk so he can sign it into law and provide long overdue civil rights protections to LGBTQ+ Americans, and he remains committed to seeing this legislation passed as quickly as possible,” the spokesperson said. “The White House and its entire legislative team remains in ongoing and close coordination with organizations, leaders, members of Congress, including the Equality Caucus, and staff to ensure we are working across the aisle to push the Equality Act forward.”

But at least in the near-term, that progress will fall short of fulfilling the promise of updating federal civil rights law with the Equality Act, which will mean LGBTQ people won’t be able to rely on those protections when faced with discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

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D.C. bill to ban LGBTQ panic defense delayed by Capitol security

Delivery of bill to Congress was held up due to protocols related to Jan. 6 riots



New fencing around the Capitol following the Jan. 6 insurrection prevented some D.C. bills from being delivered to the Hill for a required congressional review. (Blade file photo by Michael K. Lavers)

A bill approved unanimously last December by the D.C. Council to ban the so-called LGBTQ panic defense has been delayed from taking effect as a city law because the fence installed around the U.S. Capitol following the Jan. 6 insurrection prevented the law from being delivered to Congress.

According to Eric Salmi, communications director for D.C. Council member Charles Allen (D-Ward 6), who guided the bill through the Council’s legislative process, all bills approved by the Council and signed by the D.C. mayor must be hand-delivered to Congress for a required congressional review.

“What happened was when the Capitol fence went up after the January insurrection, it created an issue where we physically could not deliver laws to Congress per the congressional review period,” Salmi told the Washington Blade.

Among the bills that could not immediately be delivered to Congress was the Bella Evangelista and Tony Hunter Panic Defense Prohibition and Hate Crimes Response Amendment Act of 2020, which was approved by the Council on a second and final vote on Dec. 15.

Between the time the bill was signed by Mayor Muriel Bowser and published in the D.C. Register under procedural requirements for all bills, it was not ready to be transmitted to Congress until Feb. 16, the Council’s legislative record for the bill shows.

Salmi said the impasse in delivering the bill to Congress due to the security fence prevented the bill from reaching Congress on that date and prevented the mandatory 60-day congressional review period for this bill from beginning at that time. He noted that most bills require a 30 legislative day review by Congress.

But the Evangelista-Hunter bill, named after a transgender woman and a gay man who died in violent attacks by perpetrators who attempted to use the trans and gay panic defense, includes a law enforcement related provision that under the city’s Home Rule Charter passed by Congress in the early 1970s requires a 60-day congressional review.

“There is a chance it goes into effect any day now, just given the timeline is close to being up,” Salmi said on Tuesday. “I don’t know the exact date it was delivered, but I do know the countdown is on,” said Salmi, who added, “I would expect any day now it should go into effect and there’s nothing stopping it other than an insurrection in January.”

If the delivery to Congress had not been delayed, the D.C. Council’s legislative office estimated the congressional review would have been completed by May 12.

A congressional source who spoke on condition of being identified only as a senior Democratic aide, said the holdup of D.C. bills because of the Capitol fence has been corrected.

“The House found an immediate workaround, when this issue first arose after the Jan. 6 insurrection,” the aide said.

“This is yet another reason why D.C. Council bills should not be subject to a congressional review period and why we need to grant D.C. statehood,” the aide said.

The aide added that while no disapproval resolution had been introduced in Congress to overturn the D.C. Evangelista-Hunter bill, House Democrats would have defeated such a resolution.

“House Democrats support D.C. home rule, statehood, and LGBTQ rights,” said the aide.

LGBTQ rights advocates have argued that a ban on using a gay or transgender panic defense in criminal trials is needed to prevent defense attorneys from inappropriately asking juries to find that a victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity or expression is to blame for a defendant’s criminal act, including murder.

Some attorneys have argued that their clients “panicked” after discovering the person against whom they committed a violent crime was gay or transgender, prompting them to act in a way they believed to be a form of self-defense.

In addition to its provision banning the LGBTQ panic defense, the Evangelista-Hunter bill includes a separate provision that strengthens the city’s existing hate crimes law by clarifying that hatred need not be the sole motivating factor for an underlying crime such as assault, murder, or threats to be prosecuted as a hate crime.

LGBTQ supportive prosecutors have said the clarification was needed because it is often difficult to prove to a jury that hatred is the only motive behind a violent crime. The prosecutors noted that juries have found defendants not guilty of committing a hate crime on grounds that they believed other motives were involved in a particular crime after defense lawyers argued that the law required “hate” to be the only motive in order to find someone guilty of a hate crime.

Salmi noted that while the hate crime clarification and panic defense prohibition provisions of the Evangelista-Hunter bill will become law as soon as the congressional review is completed, yet another provision in the bill will not become law after the congressional review because there are insufficient funds in the D.C. budget to cover the costs of implementing the provision.

The provision gives the D.C. Office of Human Rights and the Office of the D.C. Attorney General authority to investigate hate related discrimination at places of public accommodation. Salmi said the provision expands protections against discrimination to include web-based retailers or online delivery services that are not physically located in D.C.

“That is subject to appropriations,” Salmi said. “And until it is funded in the upcoming budget it cannot be legally enforced.”

He said that at Council member Allen’s request, the Council added language to the bill that ensures that all other provisions of the legislation that do not require additional funding – including the ban on use of the LGBTQ panic defense and the provision clarifying that hatred doesn’t have to be the sole motive for a hate crime – will take effect as soon as the congressional approval process is completed.

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D.C. man charged with 2020 anti-gay death threat rearrested

Defendant implicated in three anti-LGBTQ incidents since 2011



shooting, DC Eagle, assault, hate crime, anti-gay attack, police discrimination, sex police, Sisson, gay news, Washington Blade

A D.C. man arrested in August 2020 for allegedly threatening to kill a gay man outside the victim’s apartment in the city’s Adams Morgan neighborhood and who was released while awaiting trial was arrested again two weeks ago for allegedly threatening to kill another man in an unrelated incident.

D.C. Superior Court records show that Jalal Malki, who was 37 at the time of his 2020 arrest on a charge of bias-related attempts to do bodily harm against the gay man, was charged on May 4, 2021 with unlawful entry, simple assault, threats to kidnap and injure a person, and attempted possession of a prohibited weapon against the owner of a vacant house at 4412 Georgia Ave., N.W.

Court charging documents state that Malki was allegedly staying at the house without permission as a squatter. An arrest affidavit filed in court by D.C. police says Malki allegedly threatened to kill the man who owns the house shortly after the man arrived at the house while Malki was inside.

According to the affidavit, Malki walked up to the owner of the house while the owner was sitting in his car after having called police and told him, “If you come back here, I’m going to kill you.” While making that threat Malki displayed what appeared to be a gun in his waistband, but which was later found to be a toy gun, the affidavit says.

Malki then walked back inside the house minutes before police arrived and arrested him. Court records show that similar to the court proceedings following his 2020 arrest for threatening the gay man, a judge in the latest case ordered Malki released while awaiting trial. In both cases, the judge ordered him to stay away from the two men he allegedly threatened to kill.

An arrest affidavit filed by D.C. police in the 2020 case states that Malki allegedly made the threats inside an apartment building where the victim lived on the 2300 block of Champlain Street, N.W. It says Malki was living in a nearby building but often visited the building where the victim lived.

“Victim 1 continued to state during an interview that it was not the first time that Defendant 1 had made threats to him, but this time Defendant 1 stated that if he caught him outside, he would ‘fucking kill him.’” the affidavit says. It quotes the victim as saying during this time Malki repeatedly called the victim a “fucking faggot.”

The affidavit, prepared by the arresting officers, says that after the officers arrested Malki and were leading him to a police transport vehicle to be booked for the arrest, he expressed an “excited utterance” that he was “in disbelief that officers sided with the ‘fucking faggot.’”

Court records show that Malki is scheduled to appear in court on June 4 for a status hearing for both the 2020 arrest and the arrest two weeks ago for allegedly threatening to kill the owner of the house in which police say he was illegally squatting.

Superior Court records show that Malki had been arrested three times between 2011 and 2015 in cases unrelated to the 2021 and 2020 cases for allegedly also making threats of violence against people. Two of the cases appear to be LGBTQ related, but prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s Office did not list the cases as hate crimes.

In the first of the three cases, filed in July 2011, Malki allegedly shoved a man inside Dupont Circle and threatened to kill him after asking the man why he was wearing a purple shirt.

“Victim 1 believes the assault occurred because Suspect 1 believes Victim 1 is a homosexual,” the police arrest affidavit says.

Court records show prosecutors charged Malki with simple assault and threats to do bodily harm in the case. But the court records show that on Sept. 13, 2011, D.C. Superior Court Judge Stephen F. Eilperin found Malki not guilty on both charges following a non-jury trial.

The online court records do not state why the judge rendered a not guilty verdict. With the courthouse currently closed to the public and the press due to COVID-related restrictions, the Washington Blade couldn’t immediately obtain the records to determine the judge’s reason for the verdict.

In the second case, court records show Malki was arrested by D.C. police outside the Townhouse Tavern bar and restaurant at 1637 R St., N.W. on Nov. 7, 2012 for allegedly threatening one or more people with a knife after employees ordered Malki to leave the establishment for “disorderly behavior.”

At the time, the Townhouse Tavern was located next door to the gay nightclub Cobalt, which before going out of business two years ago, was located at the corner of 17th and R Streets, N.W.

The police arrest affidavit in the case says Malki allegedly pointed a knife in a threatening way at two of the tavern’s employees who blocked his path when he attempted to re-enter the tavern. The affidavit says he was initially charged by D.C. police with assault with a dangerous weapon – knife. Court records, however, show that prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s Office lowered the charges to two counts of simple assault. The records show that on Jan. 15, 2013, Malki pleaded guilty to the two charges as part of a plea bargain arrangement.

The records show that Judge Marissa Demeo on that same day issued a sentence of 30 days for each of the two charges but suspended all 30 days for both counts. She then sentenced Malki to one year of supervised probation for both charges and ordered that he undergo alcohol and drug testing and undergo treatment if appropriate.

In the third case prior to the 2020 and 2021 cases, court records show Malki was arrested outside the Cobalt gay nightclub on March 14, 2015 on multiple counts of simple assault, attempted assault with a dangerous weapon – knife, possession of a prohibited weapon – knife, and unlawful entry.

The arrest affidavit says an altercation started on the sidewalk outside the bar when for unknown reasons, Malki grabbed a female customer who was outside smoking and attempted to pull her toward him. When her female friend came to her aid, Malki allegedly got “aggressive” by threatening the woman and “removed what appeared to be a knife from an unknown location” and pointed it at the woman’s friend in a threatening way, the affidavit says.

It says a Cobalt employee minutes later ordered Malki to leave the area and he appeared to do so. But others noticed that he walked toward another entrance door to Cobalt and attempted to enter the establishment knowing he had been ordered not to return because of previous problems with his behavior, the affidavit says. When he attempted to push away another employee to force his way into Cobalt, Malki fell to the ground during a scuffle and other employees held him on the ground while someone else called D.C. police.

Court records show that similar to all of Malki’s arrests, a judge released him while awaiting trial and ordered him to stay away from Cobalt and all of those he was charged with threatening and assaulting.

The records show that on Sept. 18, 2015, Malki agreed to a plea bargain offer by prosecutors in which all except two of the charges – attempted possession of a prohibited weapon and simple assault – were dropped. Judge Alfred S. Irving Jr. on Oct. 2, 2015 sentenced Malki to 60 days of incarnation for each of the two charges but suspended all but five days, which he allowed Malki to serve on weekends, the court records show.

The judge ordered that the two five-day jail terms could be served concurrently, meaning just five days total would be served, according to court records. The records also show that Judge Irving sentenced Malki to one year of supervised probation for each of the two counts and ordered that he enter an alcohol treatment program and stay away from Cobalt.

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