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Arthur J. Kusinski dies at 76

Longtime federal gov’t employee

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Arthur J. Kusinski, gay news, Washington Blade

Arthur J. Kusinski

Arthur J. Kusinski died at his Washington home on Jan. 23 from chronic Lymphocytic leukemia, according to his friend, Donald Mahr. He was 76.

Kusinski was born July 30, 1940 in Utica, N.Y., and graduated from Hamilton College in 1962 and Columbia Law School in 1965. He was a long-time federal employee beginning as a lawyer at the Treasury Department and retiring as chief ethics officer at the Resolution Trust Corporation in 1992.

During the 1980s, Kusinski, who was gay, was an active volunteer at the Whitman-Walker Clinic (now Whitman-Walker Health). After retirement, he traveled extensively visiting six continents. For many years he was a guide at the U.S. Supreme Court and the Kennedy Center.

He is survived by a brother, Ronald, and Ronald’s wife Melanie, of Palatine, Ill.; two nieces, Natasha and Rachel; and a nephew, Gerrett. He had many friends in Washington and New York.

A memorial service will be held at the Friends Meeting House at 2111 Florida Ave., N.W., on Sunday, March 26 at 2:30 p.m. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Friends Meeting House or Human Rights Campaign.

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District of Columbia

D.C. mayor to hold 2nd annual LGBTQ flag raising ceremony

Event set for June 3 outside District Building

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Mayor Muriel Bowser speaks at last year's flag ceremony outside of the John A. Wilson Building. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s Office of LGBTQ Affairs announced this week the mayor will lead the city’s second annual LGBTQIA+ Flag Raising Ceremony at 4 p.m. on June 3 outside the John A. Wilson Building at 1350 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., which serves as the D.C. government’s city hall.

“We are delighted to invite you to the LGBTQIA+ Flag Raising Ceremony, a significant event celebrating the visibility and diversity of our LGBTQIA+ community,” said Japer Bowles, director of the Mayor’s LGBTQ Affairs Office, in a May 21 statement.

“Join us as we raise the LGBTQIA+ flag alongside Mayor Muriel Bowser, D.C. Council members, and community leaders,” Bowles said in the statement. “This event is free and open to the public, and we encourage everyone to attend,” the statement says.

“Washington, D.C. is proud to be a leader in LGBTQIA+ rights and advocacy,” the statement adds. “This ceremony symbolizes our ongoing commitment to equality and the vibrant diversity of our community.”

The event was expected to take place on the sidewalk in front of the Wilson building at the site of its flagpole.

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District of Columbia

Capital Stonewall Democrats clarifies ‘no endorsement’ of Pinto

Says it postponed action on Ward 2 D.C. race until November

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D.C. Council member Brooke Pinto. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

The president of the Capital Stonewall Democrats, D.C.’s largest local LGBTQ political group, expressed regret that he did not clarify in an announcement earlier this week that the organization chose to postpone deciding whether to endorse D.C. Council member Brooke Pinto (D-Ward 2) in the city’s June 4 primary election because she is running unopposed in the primary.

“I misspoke, and I take responsibility for that,” Michael Haresign, the group’s president, told the Washington Blade on Thursday. Haresign said that he regrets that he did not inform the Blade in a May 21 interview at a post endorsement party the group held that Pinto’s name was not on the endorsement ballot the group sent to its members earlier this month to vote on the endorsements.

Based on a press release issued by the group on May 21, the Blade reported that Capital Stonewall Democrats announced it had endorsed just four candidates appearing on D.C.’s June 4 primary ballot – President Joe Biden, D.C. Council members Robert White (D-At-Large) and Janeese Lewis Geroge (D-Ward 4), and D.C.’s U.S. Shadow Representative Oye Owolewa (D).

Among the candidates not endorsed that surprised some in the LGBTQ community were Pinto and D.C. Congressional Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D),  who, like Pinto, is a strong LGBTQ community supporter. In the group’s May 21 press release it did not disclose that Pinto’s name was not on the group’s endorsement ballot.

Elizabeth Mitchell, Capital Stonewall’s Vice President for Legislative and Political Affairs, and Austin Naughton, a member of the group’s endorsement committee from Ward 2, contacted the Blade by email on May 23 to point out that the group decided at the committee’s recommendation to postpone a decision on whether to endorse Pinto, and the membership did not vote on a Pinto endorsement.

 “We made a careful and considerate decision as an election committee to not impose upon CM Pinto’s busy schedule at this time as there was no challenger for the primary,” Mitchell told the Blade in an email. “We assured CM Pinto and her campaign that we would revisit the subject of endorsement after the primary as it’s possible a challenger may emerge at that time,” said Mitchell, who added that the group was unaware of anyone emerging to challenge Pinto in the November election.

“As such, we did not include her on our endorsement ballot,” Mitchell said. Mitchell was also referring to the decision not to invite Pinto to one of the group’s candidate forums related to the June 4 primary, even though Pinto made it clear she would be happy to participate in a forum.  

No candidates have emerged in the June 4 primary to challenge Pinto either as Democrats or as members of the city’s two other registered political parties – the Republican and Statehood Green parties. An independent candidate could emerge to challenge Pinto in the November general election, and voters are eligible to vote for a write-in candidate in both the primary and general election.

Mitchell said Norton’s office did not respond to an invitation to participate in the Capital Stonewall Democrats first of two candidate forums and told the group a conflict in her schedule prevented Norton from attending the group’s second candidates forum.

“Her office sent us a very professional letter explaining that she had a prior engagement the evening of our forum and would be unable to attend,” Mitchell said. “We explained that to our members,” according to Mitchell, who added, “She was on our ballot and failed to receive enough votes to win an endorsement.”

 Under the group’s endorsement policy, candidates must receive at least 60 percent of the vote from the members to receive an endorsement. Under that policy, Haresign said the group also did not make an endorsement for the Ward 7 and Ward 8 D.C. Council races or in the race for the D.C. U.S. Shadow Senator seat because no candidate received a 60 percent vote threshold.

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Delaware

Milton Pride kicks off Mardi Gras style June 8

Delaware town celebrating ‘Unity in Diversity’

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Laissez les bons temps rouler (let the good times roll)! 

The town of Milton, Del., will host its 2024 Pride festival with a Mardi Gras theme on Saturday, June 8. The Pride celebration is set to take place in the Milton Theatre’s Quayside festival grounds, at 110 Union St. in downtown Milton, from 4-8 p.m. The event is set to have food trucks, live music, and community vendors all celebrating the queer community.

The town of Milton, located 15 miles northwest of Rehoboth Beach, has partnered with Sussex Pride to put on the Pride Fest and is looking to celebrate the “Unity in Diversity” in Milton. The event also marks the 10th anniversary of the Milton Theatre and will celebrate a decade of performing arts in Milton. Expect sparkling beads, opulent masks, and musical performers that will “transport you to a world of joy!”

The americana duo Mama’s Black Sheep, Delaware’s Rainbow Chorale, and the self-described “bluesy rocker” Christine Havrilla are all slated to perform on the open-air Quayside stage. The shows will happen rain or shine. 

Local food trucks Belly Up and Hot Dogs At The Beach will serve bites at the festival grounds. Additionally, local vendors will sell rainbow-themed accessories on-site, provide resources, and more at the event. 

For more information on Milton Pride, visit the website at miltontheatre.com/pride.

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