May 11, 2016 at 5:51 pm EDT | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Gray, Evans receive top scores from GLAA
GLAA rating, gay news, Washington Blade

Ward 7 City Council candidate Vincent Gray received the highest possible rating on LGBT issues from GLAA. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Ward 7 City Council candidate and former D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray and longtime Council member Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) received ratings of +10 from the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance, the highest possible rating given by the non-partisan group.

GLAA released its ratings on Wednesday for all candidates running for seats on the City Council in the June 14 Democratic, Republican and Statehood Green Party primaries. It rates candidates on a scale of -10, the lowest possible score, to +10, the highest rating based on candidates’ responses to a detailed questionnaire and on their records, if known, on LGBT-related issues.

In the Ward 7 Council race, incumbent Council member Yvette Alexander received a +5.5 rating. Two other Democrats challenging Alexander, Delmar Chesley and Grant Thompson, received an automatic rating of “0,” according to GLAA, because they failed to return the questionnaire and have no known record on LGBT issues.

In a statement accompanying the ratings, GLAA said Gray’s +10 rating was due to his extensive record of support on LGBT issues during his tenure as a past Ward 7 Council member, Council Chair and mayor. Among other things, the group said Gray’s record includes groundbreaking initiatives in support of the transgender community and his leadership helping to pass the city’s marriage equality law in 2009.

In the Ward 2 race, Evans, a longtime LGBT rights supporter, is running unopposed in the Democratic primary.

In the hotly contested race for the at-large Council seat, incumbent Vincent Orange (D) received a +4 rating compared to Democratic challenger Robert White, who received a +8.5 rating, the highest score among the at-large candidates.

GLAA assigned a 7.5 rating to Statehood-Green Party candidate G. Lee Aikin, who’s running for the at-large seat in the Statehood-Green Party’s separate primary on June 14

Gay former Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner David Garber, who’s running in the Democratic primary for the at-large seat, received a +6.5 rating.

In its statement, GLAA said Garber “agreed with GLAA on all issues and showed good substance in his questionnaire, but has a limited record on LGBT issues.”

GLAA said White, who received an 8.5 rating, also agreed with GLAA on all issues, offered “impressive substance in his questionnaire” and has a supportive record as an LGBT community ally in his role as a former staffer for Congressional Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton and D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine.

Republican at-large candidate Carolina Celnik received a “0” rating also for not returning the questionnaire and not having a known record on LGBT issues, GLAA said.

In the Ward 4 Council race, GLAA gave Democratic challenger Leon T. Andrews Jr. a +6 rating, one point higher than incumbent Democrat Brandon Todd, who received a +5. Democratic challengers Calvin Gurley and Ron Austin received ratings of +3.5 and “0” respectively. Austin did not return the questionnaire.

In the Ward 8 Council race, Democratic incumbent LaRuby May received a 7.5 rating. Democratic challenger Trayon White, who finished less than two points behind May in a special election for the seat last year, received a +4 rating. Democratic challenger Aaron Homes received a +2 rating and Democrats Maurice Dickens and Bonita Goode received “0” ratings for not submitting the questionnaire and not having known records on LGBT issues.

May “agreed with GLAA on all issues, showed significant substance in her questionnaire, and has been a reliable ally on the Council,” GLAA said in its statement. According to the statement, White also agreed with GLAA on issues outlined in the questionnaire “but offered little substance and has a limited record on LGBT issues.”

A detailed ratings breakdown for each of the candidates along with copies of their questionnaire responses can be obtained here.

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

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