Jennifer “Jen” Newbauer, a legal secretary for a prominent D.C. law firm and a longtime resident of the 17th Street, N.W. neighborhood near Dupont Circle and patron of its LGBTQ-friendly restaurants and bars, died at her apartment on March 2 following a short illness. She was 41.
Her mother, Judy Newbauer, said the city’s Medical Examiner’s office was awaiting results of tests to determine the cause of death. Judy Newbauer said her daughter had been suffering from symptoms of a stomach flu that made it difficult for her to hold down food for about a week prior to her passing.
Jen Newbauer, a lesbian, became a sought-after friend of many who lived and visited the 17th Street area during most of the close to 20 years she lived there, according to her mother and her close friend and former roommate Ruth Westmoreland.
Westmoreland said Jen Newbauer’s popularity and widespread recognition in the neighborhood prompted many to refer to her as the mayor of 17th Street “because she knew everyone, and everyone loved her.” Added Westmoreland, “She was funny, witty, creative and kind.”
Jen Newbauer was also known as an animal lover deeply committed to the wellbeing of animals of all kinds and often said she would at some point in the future like to raise money to open an animal shelter, Westmoreland said.
Longtime 17th Street resident Dito Sevilla, who works as a bartender at the 17th Street restaurant and bar Floriana’s, said Jen Newbauer was for many years a regular and beloved customer at Floriana’s as well as the nearby Annie’s steakhouse, JR.’s gay bar and grill, Fox & Hound restaurant, Dupont Italian Kitchen, and other nearby establishments.
Sevilla said he and Newbauer often joked about who was the “true” mayor of 17th Street, saying some people considered him to be the male mayor of the popular business-lined street, with Newbauer fulfilling the role as the female mayor of 17th Street.
Jen Newbauer’s sudden and unexpected passing prompted dozens of postings on social media by her numerous friends, who described her as warm, outgoing, and highly supportive of all those she knew and associated with.
D.C. resident Gabriel Emory, one of her good friends, stated in a Facebook posting that news of Newbauer’s death prompted many of her friends to check on each other and rekindle their own friendship in a way that Newbauer would have done if someone else had passed away.
“This says so much about our dear and beautiful friend and the impact she had on so many of our lives,” Emory said in his posting. “Jen brought so much laughter and love into the world and we were gifted to have been included in her journey.”
Judy Newbauer and Westmoreland submitted a statement to the Washington Blade about a possible cause of death and what they said is its importance to the LGBTQ community.
“Her cause of death is still undermined, but preliminary findings show that it may be alcohol-related,” the two said. “Substance abuse can be a big problem for gay and other marginalized communities – especially in this time of COVID-19,” their statement says. “If you are having a problem and need help, please know that Jen would want you to get it and she’d walk you there herself,” the statement concludes.
Judy Newbauer said her daughter was born and raised in Baltimore County, Md., in the town of Essex. She said Jen Newbauer graduated from the town’s Kenwood High School and enrolled in the Community College of Baltimore County, where she received an Associate of Arts degree in 1998.
Upon receiving her associate degree, Jen Newbauer was accepted into several Ivy League colleges and chose to enroll at Georgetown University in its accounting program, Judy Newbauer said. But her mother said Jen Newbauer suspended her enrollment at Georgetown a short time after beginning her studies there at the time of the death of her father, Jim Newbauer, a gay man with whom Jen had been very close.
Judy Newbauer said that at the time of his passing, Jim Newbauer, her former husband, had been living in Fairfax, Va., with his longtime partner, Michael Ehrlich, who was also close to Jen Newbauer. At one point her daughter had been living at Jim and Michael’s Virginia home, Judy Newbauer said.
According to Judy Newbauer, Michael Ehrlich took on the role of a beloved stepfather to Jen Newbauer and he has now stepped in as a highly supportive “family” member at the time of Jen Newbauer’s death.
Jen Newbauer worked for a short time at the animal research division at Georgetown University Medical School at the time she was a student at Georgetown, her mother said.
Close friend Ruth Westmoreland said that after her father’s passing, Jen Newbauer began work at the Washington Sports Club in D.C. as a sales associate selling memberships shortly after moving into one of her first D.C. apartments in Adams Morgan around 2000.
After working at the sports club for several years, Jen Newbauer changed career paths and began work as a legal secretary at the downtown D.C. law firm Wright & Talisman, her mother and Westmoreland told the Blade. She remained at the law firm until the time of her passing.
“Jen, who was a legal secretary and much more, was a wonderful colleague and friend to the people of Wright & Talisman for 16 years,” said Wendy Reed, the law firm’s president and managing shareholder, in a statement to the Blade.
“We were lucky to work with Jen and to have her with us as we celebrated so many ‘firsts’ for the city she loved, especially the recent national championships by her beloved Nationals, Mystics, and Capitals,” Reed said. “We are saddened by her passing and honor her memory.”
Both Westmoreland and Judy Newbauer told the Blade they fondly remember Jen Newbauer recounting her “coming out” story in an affectionate way and how it was linked to her friendship with Westmoreland.
Knowing for a long time she was a lesbian but taking some time to come to terms with it, Jen Newbauer finally mustered the courage to go to her first gay bar around 1999 or early 2000, which was D.C.’s then Phase 1 lesbian bar on Capitol Hill, according to Westmoreland and Judy Newbauer.
After walking through the front door on 8th Street, S.E. Jen Newbauer walked toward the bar but became startled when a woman ran over to her with a stern expression on her face. That woman was Ruth Westmoreland, who at the time was working at the Phase 1 as a bouncer.
“Excuse me, you didn’t pay your cover charge,” Westmoreland recalls telling Newbauer. What began as a minor confrontation, quickly evolved into a close and long friendship of at least 20 years, Westmoreland said.
After moving from Adams Morgan to Shaw for a short time, Jen Newbauer began her association with the 17th Street, N.W. neighborhood around 2002 or 2003 when she moved into an apartment at 1614 17th St., N.W., which is across the street from the longtime gay-friendly restaurant Annie’s.
Westmoreland said Newbauer remained in that apartment until 2008, when she moved around the corner into the apartment where Westmoreland had been living at The Rocksboro at 1717 R St., N.W., which is steps away from 17th Street. Westmoreland said their friendship strengthened as the two lived as roommates for about 10 years until around 2018, when Westmoreland’s relationship with her current partner and a new job resulted in Westmoreland moving to Richmond, Va., where she currently lives.
Newbauer remained in the apartment and later took in a new roommate, Westmoreland said.
Westmoreland said she and Jen Newbauer remained best friends and the two saw each other when Westmoreland’s work brought her back to D.C. on business trips. It was during one of those trips, coincidently, when someone from the Wright & Talisman law firm called Westmoreland on March 2 to ask about Newbauer after Newbauer did not clock in for work from her apartment, where she had been working during the COVID pandemic.
“I said I would do a wellness check,” Westmoreland told the Blade. “I looked in my bag and I had the key,” she said, referring to the key to Newbauer’s and Westmoreland’s former apartment.
“So, I was the one who found her,” Westmoreland told the Blade, recounting what she says was a traumatic experience that involved calling 911 and dealing with first responders and technicians from the Medical Examiner’s office who are in the process of determining the cause of Newbauer’s death.
In keeping with Newbauer’s love for animals, Westmoreland said she found Newbauer passed away lying peacefully on her sofa with one of her two cats lying near her feet and the other laying near her head. Her friends have since arranged for others to adopt the two cats, photos of which Newbauer had posted on her Facebook page in the months before her passing.
Jen Newbauer is survived by her mother, Judy Newbauer, of Essex, Md., and her stepfather, Michael Ehrlich, of Virginia. She was predeceased by her father, Jim Newbauer.
Her mother said her daughter is also survived by a large number of close friends who her daughter considered to be family, many of whom are too numerous to list, but who include Ruth Westmoreland of Richmond, Va.; Ryan Tisch and his husband Curtis; Patrick Billock; Gabriel Emory; Brady Mayer; Marc Crow; and Moira Griffin-Roosa and Karen Griffin-Roosa – all from D.C.; Jason Russell of San Francisco; Greg Emch of Calif.; Becky McMullen and Joe McMullen of Northern Virginia; and Curtis Hine and Scott Goss, also of Northern Virginia.
Judy Newbauer said due to the COVID pandemic, there was no funeral service, and no immediate memorial service is planned. She said she is making plans for friends to participate in the scattering of her daughter’s ashes.
She and Westmoreland said contributions in Jen Newbauer’s name can be made to the Kolmac Outpatient Recovery Centers, which provide substance abuse treatment services in the D.C. metro area; and the Humane Rescue Alliance, D.C.’s preeminent animal rescue organization.
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Honoring the legacy of New Orleans’ 1973 UpStairs Lounge fire
Why the arson attack that killed 32 gay men still resonates 50 years later
On June 23 of last year, I held the microphone as a gay man in the New Orleans City Council Chamber and related a lost piece of queer history to the seven council members. I told this story to disabuse all New Orleanians of the notion that silence and accommodation, in the face of institutional and official failures, are a path to healing.
The story I related to them began on a typical Sunday night at a second-story bar on the fringe of New Orleans’ French Quarter in 1973, where working-class men would gather around a white baby grand piano and belt out the lyrics to a song that was the anthem of their hidden community, “United We Stand” by the Brotherhood of Man.
“United we stand,” the men would sing together, “divided we fall” — the words epitomizing the ethos of their beloved UpStairs Lounge bar, an egalitarian free space that served as a forerunner to today’s queer safe havens.
Around that piano in the 1970s Deep South, gays and lesbians, white and Black queens, Christians and non-Christians, and even early gender minorities could cast aside the racism, sexism, and homophobia of the times to find acceptance and companionship for a moment.
For regulars, the UpStairs Lounge was a miracle, a small pocket of acceptance in a broader world where their very identities were illegal.
On the Sunday night of June 24, 1973, their voices were silenced in a murderous act of arson that claimed 32 lives and still stands as the deadliest fire in New Orleans history — and the worst mass killing of gays in 20th century America.
As 13 fire companies struggled to douse the inferno, police refused to question the chief suspect, even though gay witnesses identified and brought the soot-covered man to officers idly standing by. This suspect, an internally conflicted gay-for-pay sex worker named Rodger Dale Nunez, had been ejected from the UpStairs Lounge screaming the word “burn” minutes before, but New Orleans police rebuffed the testimony of fire survivors on the street and allowed Nunez to disappear.
As the fire raged, police denigrated the deceased to reporters on the street: “Some thieves hung out there, and you know this was a queer bar.”
For days afterward, the carnage met with official silence. With no local gay political leaders willing to step forward, national Gay Liberation-era figures like Rev. Troy Perry of the Metropolitan Community Church flew in to “help our bereaved brothers and sisters” — and shatter officialdom’s code of silence.
Perry broke local taboos by holding a press conference as an openly gay man. “It’s high time that you people, in New Orleans, Louisiana, got the message and joined the rest of the Union,” Perry said.
Two days later, on June 26, 1973, as families hesitated to step forward to identify their kin in the morgue, UpStairs Lounge owner Phil Esteve stood in his badly charred bar, the air still foul with death. He rebuffed attempts by Perry to turn the fire into a call for visibility and progress for homosexuals.
“This fire had very little to do with the gay movement or with anything gay,” Esteve told a reporter from The Philadelphia Inquirer. “I do not want my bar or this tragedy to be used to further any of their causes.”
Conspicuously, no photos of Esteve appeared in coverage of the UpStairs Lounge fire or its aftermath — and the bar owner also remained silent as he witnessed police looting the ashes of his business.
“Phil said the cash register, juke box, cigarette machine and some wallets had money removed,” recounted Esteve’s friend Bob McAnear, a former U.S. Customs officer. “Phil wouldn’t report it because, if he did, police would never allow him to operate a bar in New Orleans again.”
The next day, gay bar owners, incensed at declining gay bar traffic amid an atmosphere of anxiety, confronted Perry at a clandestine meeting. “How dare you hold your damn news conferences!” one business owner shouted.
Ignoring calls for gay self-censorship, Perry held a 250-person memorial for the fire victims the following Sunday, July 1, culminating in mourners defiantly marching out the front door of a French Quarter church into waiting news cameras. “Reverend Troy Perry awoke several sleeping giants, me being one of them,” recalled Charlene Schneider, a lesbian activist who walked out of that front door with Perry.
Esteve doubted the UpStairs Lounge story’s capacity to rouse gay political fervor. As the coroner buried four of his former patrons anonymously on the edge of town, Esteve quietly collected at least $25,000 in fire insurance proceeds. Less than a year later, he used the money to open another gay bar called the Post Office, where patrons of the UpStairs Lounge — some with visible burn scars — gathered but were discouraged from singing “United We Stand.”
New Orleans cops neglected to question the chief arson suspect and closed the investigation without answers in late August 1973. Gay elites in the city’s power structure began gaslighting the mourners who marched with Perry into the news cameras, casting suspicion on their memories and re-characterizing their moment of liberation as a stunt.
When a local gay journalist asked in April 1977, “Where are the gay activists in New Orleans?,” Esteve responded that there were none, because none were needed. “We don’t feel we’re discriminated against,” Esteve said. “New Orleans gays are different from gays anywhere else… Perhaps there is some correlation between the amount of gay activism in other cities and the degree of police harassment.”
An attitude of nihilism and disavowal descended upon the memory of the UpStairs Lounge victims, goaded by Esteve and fellow gay entrepreneurs who earned their keep via gay patrons drowning their sorrows each night instead of protesting the injustices that kept them drinking.
Into the 1980s, the story of the UpStairs Lounge all but vanished from conversation — with the exception of a few sanctuaries for gay political debate such as the local lesbian bar Charlene’s, run by the activist Charlene Schneider.
By 1988, the 15th anniversary of the fire, the UpStairs Lounge narrative comprised little more than a call for better fire codes and indoor sprinklers. UpStairs Lounge survivor Stewart Butler summed it up: “A tragedy that, as far as I know, no good came of.”
Finally, in 1991, at Stewart Butler and Charlene Schneider’s nudging, the UpStairs Lounge story became aligned with the crusade of liberated gays and lesbians seeking equal rights in Louisiana. The halls of power responded with intermittent progress. The New Orleans City Council, horrified by the story but not yet ready to take its look in the mirror, enacted an anti-discrimination ordinance protecting gays and lesbians in housing, employment, and public accommodations that Dec. 12 — more than 18 years after the fire.
“I believe the fire was the catalyst for the anger to bring us all to the table,” Schneider told The Times-Picayune, a tacit rebuke to Esteve’s strategy of silent accommodation. Even Esteve seemed to change his stance with time, granting a full interview with the first UpStairs Lounge scholar Johnny Townsend sometime around 1989.
Most of the figures in this historic tale are now deceased. What’s left is an enduring story that refused to go gently. The story now echoes around the world — a musical about the UpStairs Lounge fire recently played in Tokyo, translating the gay underworld of the 1973 French Quarter for Japanese audiences.
When I finished my presentation to the City Council last June, I looked up to see the seven council members in tears. Unanimously, they approved a resolution acknowledging the historic failures of city leaders in the wake of the UpStairs Lounge fire.
Council members personally apologized to UpStairs Lounge families and survivors seated in the chamber in a symbolic act that, though it could not bring back those who died, still mattered greatly to those whose pain had been denied, leaving them to grieve alone. At long last, official silence and indifference gave way to heartfelt words of healing.
The way Americans remember the past is an active, ongoing process. Our collective memory is malleable, but it matters because it speaks volumes about our maturity as a people, how we acknowledge the past’s influence in our lives, and how it shapes the examples we set for our youth. Do we grapple with difficult truths, or do we duck accountability by defaulting to nostalgia and bluster? Or worse, do we simply ignore the past until it fades into a black hole of ignorance and indifference?
I believe that a factual retelling of the UpStairs Lounge tragedy — and how, 50 years onward, it became known internationally — resonates beyond our current divides. It reminds queer and non-queer Americans that ignoring the past holds back the present, and that silence is no cure for what ails a participatory nation.
Silence isolates. Silence gaslights and shrouds. It preserves the power structures that scapegoat the disempowered.
Solidarity, on the other hand, unites. Solidarity illuminates a path forward together. Above all, solidarity transforms the downtrodden into a resounding chorus of citizens — in the spirit of voices who once gathered ‘round a white baby grand piano and sang, joyfully and loudly, “United We Stand.”
Robert W. Fieseler is a New Orleans-based journalist and the author of “Tinderbox: the Untold Story of the Up Stairs Lounge Fire and the Rise of Gay Liberation.”
New Supreme Court term includes critical LGBTQ case with ‘terrifying’ consequences
Business owner seeks to decline services for same-sex weddings
The U.S. Supreme Court, after a decision overturning Roe v. Wade that still leaves many reeling, is starting a new term with justices slated to revisit the issue of LGBTQ rights.
In 303 Creative v. Elenis, the court will return to the issue of whether or not providers of custom-made goods can refuse service to LGBTQ customers on First Amendment grounds. In this case, the business owner is Lorie Smith, a website designer in Colorado who wants to opt out of providing her graphic design services for same-sex weddings despite the civil rights law in her state.
Jennifer Pizer, acting chief legal officer of Lambda Legal, said in an interview with the Blade, “it’s not too much to say an immeasurably huge amount is at stake” for LGBTQ people depending on the outcome of the case.
“This contrived idea that making custom goods, or offering a custom service, somehow tacitly conveys an endorsement of the person — if that were to be accepted, that would be a profound change in the law,” Pizer said. “And the stakes are very high because there are no practical, obvious, principled ways to limit that kind of an exception, and if the law isn’t clear in this regard, then the people who are at risk of experiencing discrimination have no security, no effective protection by having a non-discrimination laws, because at any moment, as one makes their way through the commercial marketplace, you don’t know whether a particular business person is going to refuse to serve you.”
The upcoming arguments and decision in the 303 Creative case mark a return to LGBTQ rights for the Supreme Court, which had no lawsuit to directly address the issue in its previous term, although many argued the Dobbs decision put LGBTQ rights in peril and threatened access to abortion for LGBTQ people.
And yet, the 303 Creative case is similar to other cases the Supreme Court has previously heard on the providers of services seeking the right to deny services based on First Amendment grounds, such as Masterpiece Cakeshop and Fulton v. City of Philadelphia. In both of those cases, however, the court issued narrow rulings on the facts of litigation, declining to issue sweeping rulings either upholding non-discrimination principles or First Amendment exemptions.
Pizer, who signed one of the friend-of-the-court briefs in opposition to 303 Creative, said the case is “similar in the goals” of the Masterpiece Cakeshop litigation on the basis they both seek exemptions to the same non-discrimination law that governs their business, the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act, or CADA, and seek “to further the social and political argument that they should be free to refuse same-sex couples or LGBTQ people in particular.”
“So there’s the legal goal, and it connects to the social and political goals and in that sense, it’s the same as Masterpiece,” Pizer said. “And so there are multiple problems with it again, as a legal matter, but also as a social matter, because as with the religion argument, it flows from the idea that having something to do with us is endorsing us.”
One difference: the Masterpiece Cakeshop litigation stemmed from an act of refusal of service after owner, Jack Phillips, declined to make a custom-made wedding cake for a same-sex couple for their upcoming wedding. No act of discrimination in the past, however, is present in the 303 Creative case. The owner seeks to put on her website a disclaimer she won’t provide services for same-sex weddings, signaling an intent to discriminate against same-sex couples rather than having done so.
As such, expect issues of standing — whether or not either party is personally aggrieved and able bring to a lawsuit — to be hashed out in arguments as well as whether the litigation is ripe for review as justices consider the case. It’s not hard to see U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts, who has sought to lead the court to reach less sweeping decisions (sometimes successfully, and sometimes in the Dobbs case not successfully) to push for a decision along these lines.
Another key difference: The 303 Creative case hinges on the argument of freedom of speech as opposed to the two-fold argument of freedom of speech and freedom of religious exercise in the Masterpiece Cakeshop litigation. Although 303 Creative requested in its petition to the Supreme Court review of both issues of speech and religion, justices elected only to take up the issue of free speech in granting a writ of certiorari (or agreement to take up a case). Justices also declined to accept another question in the petition request of review of the 1990 precedent in Smith v. Employment Division, which concluded states can enforce neutral generally applicable laws on citizens with religious objections without violating the First Amendment.
Representing 303 Creative in the lawsuit is Alliance Defending Freedom, a law firm that has sought to undermine civil rights laws for LGBTQ people with litigation seeking exemptions based on the First Amendment, such as the Masterpiece Cakeshop case.
Kristen Waggoner, president of Alliance Defending Freedom, wrote in a Sept. 12 legal brief signed by her and other attorneys that a decision in favor of 303 Creative boils down to a clear-cut violation of the First Amendment.
“Colorado and the United States still contend that CADA only regulates sales transactions,” the brief says. “But their cases do not apply because they involve non-expressive activities: selling BBQ, firing employees, restricting school attendance, limiting club memberships, and providing room access. Colorado’s own cases agree that the government may not use public-accommodation laws to affect a commercial actor’s speech.”
Pizer, however, pushed back strongly on the idea a decision in favor of 303 Creative would be as focused as Alliance Defending Freedom purports it would be, arguing it could open the door to widespread discrimination against LGBTQ people.
“One way to put it is art tends to be in the eye of the beholder,” Pizer said. “Is something of a craft, or is it art? I feel like I’m channeling Lily Tomlin. Remember ‘soup and art’? We have had an understanding that whether something is beautiful or not is not the determining factor about whether something is protected as artistic expression. There’s a legal test that recognizes if this is speech, whose speech is it, whose message is it? Would anyone who was hearing the speech or seeing the message understand it to be the message of the customer or of the merchants or craftsmen or business person?”
Despite the implications in the case for LGBTQ rights, 303 Creative may have supporters among LGBTQ people who consider themselves proponents of free speech.
One joint friend-of-the-court brief before the Supreme Court, written by Dale Carpenter, a law professor at Southern Methodist University who’s written in favor of LGBTQ rights, and Eugene Volokh, a First Amendment legal scholar at the University of California, Los Angeles, argues the case is an opportunity to affirm the First Amendment applies to goods and services that are uniquely expressive.
“Distinguishing expressive from non-expressive products in some contexts might be hard, but the Tenth Circuit agreed that Smith’s product does not present a hard case,” the brief says. “Yet that court (and Colorado) declined to recognize any exemption for products constituting speech. The Tenth Circuit has effectively recognized a state interest in subjecting the creation of speech itself to antidiscrimination laws.”
Oral arguments in the case aren’t yet set, but may be announced soon. Set to defend the state of Colorado and enforcement of its non-discrimination law in the case is Colorado Solicitor General Eric Reuel Olson. Just this week, the U.S. Supreme Court announced it would grant the request to the U.S. solicitor general to present arguments before the justices on behalf of the Biden administration.
With a 6-3 conservative majority on the court that has recently scrapped the super-precedent guaranteeing the right to abortion, supporters of LGBTQ rights may think the outcome of the case is all but lost, especially amid widespread fears same-sex marriage would be next on the chopping block. After the U.S. Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against 303 Creative in the lawsuit, the simple action by the Supreme Court to grant review in the lawsuit suggests they are primed to issue a reversal and rule in favor of the company.
Pizer, acknowledging the call to action issued by LGBTQ groups in the aftermath of the Dobbs decision, conceded the current Supreme Court issuing the ruling in this case is “a terrifying prospect,” but cautioned the issue isn’t so much the makeup of the court but whether or not justices will continue down the path of abolishing case law.
“I think the question that we’re facing with respect to all of the cases or at least many of the cases that are in front of the court right now, is whether this court is going to continue on this radical sort of wrecking ball to the edifice of settled law and seemingly a goal of setting up whole new structures of what our basic legal principles are going to be. Are we going to have another term of that?” Pizer said. “And if so, that’s terrifying.”
Kelley Robinson, a Black, queer woman, named president of Human Rights Campaign
Progressive activist a veteran of Planned Parenthood Action Fund
Kelley Robinson, a Black, queer woman and veteran of Planned Parenthood Action Fund, is to become the next president of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s leading LGBTQ group announced on Tuesday.
Robinson is set to become the ninth president of the Human Rights Campaign after having served as executive director of Planned Parenthood Action Fund and more than 12 years of experience as a leader in the progressive movement. She’ll be the first Black, queer woman to serve in that role.
“I’m honored and ready to lead HRC — and our more than three million member-advocates — as we continue working to achieve equality and liberation for all Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer people,” Robinson said. “This is a pivotal moment in our movement for equality for LGBTQ+ people. We, particularly our trans and BIPOC communities, are quite literally in the fight for our lives and facing unprecedented threats that seek to destroy us.”
The next Human Rights Campaign president is named as Democrats are performing well in polls in the mid-term elections after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, leaving an opening for the LGBTQ group to play a key role amid fears LGBTQ rights are next on the chopping block.
“The overturning of Roe v. Wade reminds us we are just one Supreme Court decision away from losing fundamental freedoms including the freedom to marry, voting rights, and privacy,” Robinson said. “We are facing a generational opportunity to rise to these challenges and create real, sustainable change. I believe that working together this change is possible right now. This next chapter of the Human Rights Campaign is about getting to freedom and liberation without any exceptions — and today I am making a promise and commitment to carry this work forward.”
The Human Rights Campaign announces its next president after a nearly year-long search process after the board of directors terminated its former president Alphonso David when he was ensnared in the sexual misconduct scandal that led former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to resign. David has denied wrongdoing and filed a lawsuit against the LGBTQ group alleging racial discrimination.
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