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Longtime Baltimore attorney, activist Ed Jeunette dies

Worked for City Council President Clark



Edward Jeunette, gay news, Washington Blade
Edward Jeunette, 62, died suddenly on New Year’s Day after developing pneumonia. (Photo courtesy Baltimore OutLoud)

Edward Jeunette, a longtime attorney for the Baltimore City Department of Social Services, community activist, and former aide to City Councilwomen Mary Pat Clark when she was President of the City Council, died suddenly on New Year’s Day after developing pneumonia. He was 62 years old and lived in Mount Washington with his spouse and husband of 30 years James “Jeb” King.

Jeunette was the son of Edward R. Jeanette, an attorney, and Margaret Clark Jeunette, who died when Ed was 11. Like his father and two brothers, he attended and graduated from Mount Saint Joseph High School. He then graduated from Towson State University, and the University of Baltimore School of Law. As soon as he finished law school in 1982, he took over his father’s Hampden-based law practice. He ran the law practice until he began a lifelong career in public service.

Jeunette and Jeb met on April 29, 1989. In 2013, the year that gay marriage became legal in Maryland, Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Edward Hargadon, now retired, married them on April 29, their anniversary date. Judge Hargadon knew Jeunette from his years as a Judge in Juvenile Court where Jeunette tried many cases and said, “To be asked by Ed to officiate his and Jeb’s wedding was such an honor. When I had lunch with them to plan the ceremony, I could see how much they loved one another. They were so playful and gentle together.”

When the two first met, Jeunette was not out to his conservative Catholic family. That all changed when Jeunette was planning to go to a family gathering and asked Jeb if he wanted to come along. Jeb’s answer was an emphatic yes and from then on, they were a couple — to Jeunette’s family and everyone else. Jeb said, “I really believe that was a turning point in Ed’s life because he was not out anywhere up to that point. From that moment on, Ed began living the life that he deserved, wanted and was extremely proud of.”

Jeunette spent much of his life volunteering for community organizations. He grew up in Baltimore’s Hampden neighborhood and remained committed to the community even after he moved away. He was a board member of the Hampden Business Association, served as a marshal in the Mayor’s Christmas Parade, volunteered for the Hampden Family Center, and was a past vice president of the Hampden-Woodberry Community Council. He later worked for marriage equality and participated in Pride activities.

He was also active in the Democratic Party and in 1987 joined Mary Pat Clarke’s successful citywide campaign for president of the City Council. Following her election, Jeunette joined her as her director of legislation and was involved during her challenging but successful transition as the first woman elected City Council president. He worked on a number of important early legislative initiatives, but Clarke remembers most an incident that showed Jeunette’s thoughtfulness and humor. She said, “[f]or all the support and help Ed brought to the office, I best recall a surprise transformation of my office itself on our first St. Patrick’s Day in office. I began the day chairing the Board of Estimates and when I returned to my office, the red chairs had all been replaced with green chairs. A wonderful sight to behold, which made my day and stands out in my happy memories of those transitional days. Ed never said where those green chairs came from, and I never asked.”

In 1990, Jeunette began a 30-year career as an attorney with the Department of Social Services representing the agency in difficult child abuse and neglect cases and trials protecting vulnerable adults.

In addition to Jeb, Jeunette is survived by brothers Michael and Clark, sister Patricia Dideriksen, step brother Chuck Thompson, step sister Susan Kohler, nine nieces and nephews, and eight great nieces and nephews. A stepsister Libby Rector died recently.

Jeunette’s family, many friends, and colleagues attended a packed memorial celebration of his life on Jan. 8. The family has suggested that donations be made in his honor to the Maryland SPCA.


District of Columbia

Rooftop Pool Party postponed

Capital Pride Alliance moves official event to June 22



A scene from last year's Capital Pride Rooftop Pool Party. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

The Capital Pride Rooftop Pool Party, originally scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. tonight, has been postponed until Thursday, June 22, according to a statement released by the Capital Pride Alliance on Instagram. This action comes amid an international climate event created by the Canadian wildfire that has resulted locally in poor air quality and a haze around the region.

The Capital Pride Alliance Instagram account posted, “As with all concerns regarding health and safety issues, the Capital Pride Alliance will closely monitor the air quality situation resulting from Canadian wildfire smoke and take necessary precautions in consultation with our partners in the DC government.”

“What does this mean for the pool party?” a question one private Instagram account user posed in the comment section.

“Important Update:” A representative of the Capital Pride Alliance responded through the group’s official Instagram account. “Tonight’s Capital Pride RoofTop Pool Party at VIDA The Yards is being postponed until Thursday, June 22 at 8:00 pm, due to the current air-quality situation resulting from the Canadian wildfires smoke. Please note that this postponement only applies to today’s event.”

The Capital Pride Alliance has yet to cancel or postpone any further events.

The White House earlier today rescheduled a large outdoor Pride reception planned for this evening to Saturday.

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District of Columbia

White House postpones Pride event due to wildfire smoke

Thousands expected for celebration bumped to Saturday



The White House on June 8, 2023. A White House Pride reception was postponed due to the Canadian wildfire smoke. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The White House announced Thursday that a Pride event scheduled for this evening has been postponed to Saturday due to the lingering Canadian wildfire smoke.

The smoke has enveloped D.C. in a dangerous haze that triggered a “purple alert” on Thursday, considered worse than a “red alert.”

The event, expected to draw thousands of invited LGBTQ advocates and supporters to D.C., has been rescheduled for 1 p.m. on Saturday on the South Lawn of the White House, the same day as D.C.’s Capital Pride Parade, which kicks off at 3 p.m., and Pride on the Pier celebration, which starts at 2 p.m.

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Rehoboth Beach

Rehoboth election canceled after just 3 candidates file for 3 races

Mayor Stan Mills unopposed in bid for second term



Rehoboth Beach Mayor Stan Mills gets a second term after no one filed to run against him. (Photo courtesy of Mills)

Rehoboth Beach voters won’t be heading to the polls this August because municipal elections were canceled after just three candidates filed to run for three open seats.

Stan Mills will be Rehoboth’s mayor for a second term, while Patrick Gossett, who’s gay, will remain on the Board of Commissioners and Donald Preston will join the board, replacing Jay Lagree.

Lagree filed to run in the Aug. 12 election but withdrew from the running shortly thereafter. He did not respond to a voicemail asking why he withdrew, but released a statement citing his age and hearing loss as reasons for bowing out of the race.

“After much consideration, I am withdrawing my candidacy for city commission,” he said in a statement released on June 6. “I have been honored to serve on the commission and to serve the citizens of Rehoboth Beach, and I had intended to continue my service. However, I am getting older every day. My hearing has become a problem; although, with correction, I can do pretty well most of the time.”

Mills was the target of criticism when he ran for mayor three years ago, unseating incumbent Paul Kuhns. Critics were concerned about his stance on development, which surfaced when Mills voted against Clear Space Theatre’s plans to build a new complex on Rehoboth Avenue, killing the already approved deal that was widely supported by the local business community.

More than a decade ago, as city commissioner, Mills used an ordinance to target bars hosting late-night eating and drinking on outside patios. Six of the eight bars targeted were owned and operated by gay businesspeople, former Aqua Grill owner Bill Shields told the Delaware State Public Integrity Commission. Police arrested and fingerprinted Shields before releasing him later as it became clear that Aqua Grill was grandfathered in and did not have to follow the ordinance. In a sharply worded decision, Delaware’s Public Integrity Commission said Mills used his public office for personal gain when targeting the bars, since he owned a bed and breakfast next door, and should have recused himself from the decision.

Asked about it in 2020, Mills told the Blade that it was “old news.”

“I’m sorry that happened, I’m sorry the way that was perceived,” he said. “It’s lessons learned and not forgotten, but we have to move on.”

On Monday, Mills raised the Pride flag outside of city hall and presented CAMP Rehoboth, the local LGBTQ community center, with a proclamation honoring LGBTQ+ Pride month along with two commissioners.

CAMP Rehoboth declined to comment on the election, citing its 501(c)(3) status, which does not allow it to endorse candidates.

When Mills ran for election in 2020, real estate agent Joe Maggio called attention to the issue, writing in an editorial for the Blade that Mills “uses his official role to enhance his personal interests and impose his personal prejudices.”

Mills did not respond to an email and voicemail seeking comment.

Gossett, who did not immediately respond to a voicemail, has served on the Board of Commissioners for 10 years. He was one of four commissioners that voted to overturn Clear Space Theatre Company’s approval to build two buildings in downtown Rehoboth in 2021. Clear Space appealed to Delaware’s Superior Court but later dropped the lawsuit, citing the cost of litigation and other factors. It has since abandoned plans to build the expansion in downtown Rehoboth, but executive director Wesley Paulson told the Delaware Business Times they will look for a new location “outside of the city.”

Preston is a political newcomer but comes endorsed by Lagree.

“He’s young, smart, has the same goals and objectives for Rehoboth Beach as I have,” he told WGMD.

Preston did immediately respond to a voicemail. The three politicians will be certified on June 16.

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