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Ward 5 D.C. Council candidate comes out as gay

Former teacher currently serves on school board



Ward 5 D.C. Council candidate Zachary Parker announced this week that he is gay.

Ward 5 D.C. Council candidate Zachary Parker, who currently serves as an elected member of the D.C. State Board of Education, announced on March 30 in a video posted on his Twitter page that he is gay.

Parker is one of seven candidates competing for the Ward 5 Council seat in the city’s June 21 Democratic primary. The seat became open when incumbent Ward 5 Council member Kenyan McDuffie announced he is running for the office of D.C. Attorney General and would not seek re-election for his Council seat.

Parker, a former teacher and education advocate, becomes the second openly gay candidate running this year for a seat on the D.C. Council. Earlier this year, gay former D.C. police officer Salah Czapary announced he is running in the Democratic primary for the Ward 1 Council seat held by incumbent Council member Brianne Nadeau.

“Hi everybody, it is Zach, and I aim to share some personal news, which is, I’m gay,” Parker stated in his video announcement.

“I am very proud and confident in who I am and who I’ve always been,” he said. “Many already know — my family, my friends, many community leaders,” he continued. “But I recognize that many may not know, and this may come as a surprise. So, I thought it was important for me to come share my full self, especially in light of rising violence, legislative violence and homophobia across our country and here in D.C., where some 40 percent of all homeless youth are LGBTQ+,” he said.

Like Czapary, Parker’s campaign website includes a detailed assessment of a wide range of issues he says he will address if elected to the Council, including public safety and education. He told the Washington Blade on Thursday that his current website discusses how LGBT issues fit into many other broader issues and concerns he would address as a Council member. He said he also will be releasing in the next few weeks a detailed LGBTQ platform.

In 2021, his colleagues on the Board of Education voted unanimously to elect him president of the board for that year.

Some Ward 5 political observers consider Parker to be the front-runner in the race in his role as a public official who won election to the Ward 5 Board of Education seat in 2018. Parker has been endorsed by D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine, who is not seeking re-election for attorney general but is considered a popular figure across the city.

“Zachary Parker is the only candidate in this race who is prepared, who is earnest, chock full of integrity and honor, and understands the most important issues that confront the District of Columbia,” Racine said in a statement announcing his endorsement of Parker.

Among the other six candidates running for the Ward 5 Council seat is former Ward 5 and former At-Large D.C. Council member Vincent Orange, who enjoys wide name recognition. The others running include community activists Kathy Henderson, Gordon Fletcher, Faith Gibson Hubbard, Gary Johnson, and Art Lloyd.

“I’ll tell you that there are many community leaders who have encouraged me not to share this news, in part, because they recognize that homophobia is alive and well,” Parker said in his video announcement. “At the same time, I haven’t wanted to make my identity the centerpiece of my campaign,” he said. “Instead, I wanted to lead with substance and on the issues, and that’s exactly what I’ve been doing.”

Parker’s positions on a wide range of issues can be accessed at

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Comings & Goings

Cummings joins White House Office of National Cyber Director



John Cummings

The Comings & Goings column is about sharing the professional successes of our community. We want to recognize those landing new jobs, new clients for their business, joining boards of organizations and other achievements. Please share your successes with us at: [email protected]

Congratulations to John Cummings on joining the Office of the National Cyber Director at the White House as Director of Supply Chain and Technology Security. Upon getting the position, he said, “I am beyond thrilled to join the growing team at the National Cyber Director’s Office and bring my experience to our mission of mitigating the cyber threats facing our nation and ensuring every American can enjoy the full benefits of the digital ecosystem. It is truly a privilege to work with this incredibly brilliant and collegial group of cyber experts.” 

Prior to joining the White House, Cummings served as Associate General Counsel at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI). Before that role, he served as interim Chief Counsel for ODNI’s National Counterintelligence and Security Center and as Associate General Counsel for the Office of the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community.

He has provided legal advice and counsel on matters of government-wide and interagency policy and national security in the areas of executive authority, cyber, constitutional law, civil rights and civil liberties, legislative affairs, and international cooperation. He has worked on recruiting LGBTQ, women, and minority applicants for government roles in national security and is experienced in public relations, stakeholder relationships, and international partnerships. 

Cummings began his career clerking for the Honorable Ivan L.R. Lemelle, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, and also clerked for the House Committee on Homeland Security and the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Law and National Security.

He attended Villanova University where he received a bachelor’s degree in English. He earned his J.D. from Loyola Law, New Orleans, and his LL.M. in National Security Law from Georgetown Law.

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Abortion rights in post-Roe Maryland, Delaware

Practice generally legal, with some restrictions



Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (Public domain photo)

The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday overturned Roe v. Wade, which in 1973 found that the decision to receive an abortion was generally protected by the Constitution of the United States. With the broadest federal protection of abortion access now rescinded, the legality of abortion will by and large be determined on the state level.

In Delaware, abortion is legal through the Medical Practice Act — but with some restrictions.

After fetal viability, or the point where a fetus can survive outside the uterus, abortion in the First State becomes illegal unless necessary for the patient’s “life or health,” or if the fetus has a condition “for which there is not a reasonable likelihood” that it will survive outside the uterus, according to Subchapter IX of the act

Additionally, under the state’s Parental Notice of Abortion Act, physicians cannot perform a surgical abortion on minors under the age of 16 unless the patient’s parent or guardian has received at least 24 hours notice from a medical professional. Notice is not required for nonsurgical abortions.

On the federal level, the funding of abortion is illegal through the 1977 Hyde Amendement “except in cases of life endangerment, rape or incest,” according to the Guttmacher Institute, a sexual and reproductive rights advocacy organization. States are only federally required to fund abortions that meet these conditions through federal-state Medicaid programs. 

While some states also fund abortions deemed medically necessary regardless of whether they endanger a patient’s life, Delaware state law does not extend beyond federal guidelines: The state only funds abortions in cases of life endangerment, rape or incest.

Abortion legislation in Delaware mirrors neighboring Maryland, whose laws include similar restrictions on abortion after fetal viability and abortion for minors under the age of 16. But abortion laws in these states are generally more restrictive than other mid-Atlantic counterparts, such as New Jersey and New York.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) weighed in on the state’s abortion law on Friday.

“In 1992, Maryland voters approved a constitutional referendum legalizing and protecting access to abortion as a matter of state law – that measure remains in effect today following the Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson. I swore an oath to uphold the Constitution and the laws of Maryland, and that is what I have always done and will continue to do as governor.”

The impact of Roe v. Wade’s fall in Delaware remains uncertain. While the abortion rate in Delaware steadily declined between 2014 and 2017, recent findings show that instances of abortion are increasing once again in the state, reflecting a rise on the national level.

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Youngkin backs abortion ban after 15 weeks of pregnancy

Republican governor supports exceptions for incest, rape and protecting mother’s life



Republican Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin in response to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade said he will seek to ban abortions in his state after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

“Virginians do want fewer abortions as opposed to more abortions,” Youngkin told the Washington Post. “I am not someone who is going to jump in and try to push us apart … There is a place we can come together.”

Youngkin, a Republican, took office in January.

His party controls the Virginia House of Delegates, but Democrats maintain a 21-19 majority in the state Senate.

“Today, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Dobbs, giving power back to the states to make decisions on abortion,” said Lt. Gov. Winsome Earle-Sears in a statement. “The court has recognized that the 1973 decision was an example of judicial and federal overreach. The important question of abortion has now been returned to statehouses across the country, in order for them to make their own policy decisions, which is exactly what the founding fathers envision when they wrote the 10th amendment to the Constitution.” 

“I applaud the court for recognizing this wrong and having the courage to correct it. I look forward to working with the governor and the General Assembly in the next legislative session on legislation that respects life,” she added.

Abortion is currently legal in Virginia during the first and second trimesters.

Youngkin on Friday said he supports abortion exemptions in cases of rape, incest or if the mother’s life is at risk.

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