Connect with us


Two gay congressmen endorse Joe Vogel for Congress

Openly gay Md. lawmaker running to represent state’s 6th Congressional District



Maryland state Del. Joe Vogel (D-Montgomery County) at the LGBTQ+ Victory Fund National Champagne Brunch in D.C. on April 23, 2023. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Two openly gay congressmen have endorsed Maryland state Del. Joe Vogel (D-Montgomery County) in the race for Maryland’s 6th Congressional District seat. 

Vogel announced his candidacy on May 8. He would be Maryland’s first openly LGBTQ and first Latino congressman.

Equality PAC endorsed Vogel on June 21, making it the first organization to endorse in the race and the PAC’s first endorsement of this election cycle. U.S. Reps. Ritchie Torres (D-N.Y.) and Mark Takano (D-Calif.), who co-chair Equality PAC, have announced their support for the freshman Maryland lawmaker. The announcement coincides with Equality PAC’s support of Congressional candidates Julie Johnson and Will Rollins, who are running to represent Texas’ 32nd Congressional District and California’s 41st Congressional District respectively.

“In Maryland, state Del. Joe Vogel has a strong track record of standing up for our community and will make sure this swing seat elects someone who will fight for equality,” Torres and Takano said in a press release. “As we speak, our community is facing an unprecedented level of attacks, targeting trans people, children, and families. Making sure we have representation in Congress is a critical component to protecting these vulnerable communities. We look forward to working with all these candidates to build winning campaigns and fulfill Equality PAC’s mission to elect more LGBTQ persons to federal office and to ensure a pro-equality majority in Congress.”

Vogel, 26, was born in Uruguay and immigrated with his family to Rockville when he was 3-years old. 

As one of the youngest members of Maryland’s House of Delegates, Vogel has supported a number of progressive bills and positions. During his tenure, Vogel has introduced more than 75 bills, including a measure to establish a commission on hate crime response and prevention, which Gov. Wes Moore signed into law in May, and the Event-Goer Rights and Accountable Sales (ERAS) Act, which would require companies to enforce policies that prevent ticket price gouging. 

“We’ve been all over the district during Pride month and having conversations with people from Cumberland to Frederick to Gaithersburg about the challenges facing our community, the progress we’ve made and what the future holds,” Vogel said. “I think folks are excited about the representation that we’re offering and I want people to know that I take these issues personally. I will be a champion for our community in Congress.”

Congressman David Trone currently represents Maryland’s 6th Congressional District.

The incumbent Democrat announced in May that he is running for retiring U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.)’s seat. Stephen McDow and state Del. Lesley Lopez (D-Montgomery County) are in the race alongside Vogel.

Vogel said that when deciding who to vote for, he hopes his record, and not just his identity, in the House of Delegates will speak for itself to voters. Vogel also said Congress needs more members who look like him.

“When you hear about the issues that I’m focused on on the campaign trail, it’s issues that matter to every person in this district, regardless of your gender identity or sexual orientation,” Vogel said. “It’s mental health, it’s gun violence, it’s the climate crisis, it’s job creation, it’s transportation, it’s housing rights. All of these issues that affect every family in this community, but … I think we need more people who understand what it’s like to be part of [the LGBTQ] community and will make our issues a priority.”



Moms for Liberty is winning its fight to remove books from one Md. school district

56 books are temporarily off Carroll County library shelves



(Bigstock photo)

By Kristen Griffith | Carroll County Public Schools can’t keep up with a flood of requests to review 56 school library books by a group of parents who oppose their content, so the superintendent has temporarily taken them off the shelves.

Flooding the queue is the conservative parents-rights group Moms for Liberty, whose Carroll County chapter has joined its nationwide call for stricter school library book selection, targeting titles with sexual content, in particular.

The rest of this article can be found at the Baltimore Banner website.

Continue Reading


Md. governor visits, praises Baltimore LGBTQ Safe Haven

Moore calls facility ‘invaluable resource’ for community



Maryland Gov. Wes Moore on Sept. 8 visited Baltimore Safe Haven. Moore is pictured here at the 2023 Baltimore Pride Parade. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Maryland Gov. Wes Moore and the state’s lieutenant governor, Aruna Miller, on Sept. 8 visited Baltimore Safe Haven, a transitional housing and support organization that provides a wide range of services for the LGBTQ community, with a special outreach to the transgender community.

A statement released by Moore’s office says the visit was made in partnership with the Maryland Commission on LGBTQIA+ Affairs and provided an opportunity for him and Miller to tour Safe Haven’s housing facilities and learn more about the services it offers.

“In Maryland, we lead with love and inclusion, and nobody should have to justify their own humanity,” Moore said in a statement. “Baltimore Safe Haven provides help and hope to the people who need it most,” he said. “The only way forward is together, and Baltimore Safe Haven has a partner in the State House.”

Moore added, “We have a lot of work to do, and we must tackle that work in partnership. If we do, we can build a kinder, safer Maryland for all.”

Miller said in the statement that she and the governor fully support Baltimore Safe Haven’s work and mission.

“Baltimore Safe Haven’s services are a critical link in the continuum of care for our LGBTQIA+ community, specifically for Black transgender Marylanders, and our administration is proud to be their partner,” she said.

Iya Dammons, the founder and executive director of Baltimore Safe Haven who on July 28 officially opened a D.C. Safe Haven facility at 331 H St., N.E., said the visit by Moore and Miller to the Baltimore facility has highlighted the organization’s work to provide support for people in need.

“Baltimore Safe Haven has been at the forefront of this fight, providing a lifeline to those who have been disproportionately affected by homelessness, discrimination, and violence,” she said in a statement. “During their walk-through, Lieutenant Governor Aruna Miller and Governor Wes Moore witnessed firsthand the compassionate and empowering environment created by Baltimore Safe Haven.”

Added Dammons, “We hope that their visit will inspire others to join our mission to create a more inclusive and equitable Maryland.”

 Like the Baltimore Safe Haven operation, Dammons said the D.C. Safe Haven will provide a wide range of services, including housing for homeless LGBTQ youth, a computer lab, a drop-in center, a case manager, and a once-a-week clinic supported by the University of Maryland.

Continue Reading


Md. man pleads guilty to making threats against HRC

Adam Nettina left voicemail after massacre at Nashville’s Covenant School



Adam Michael Nettina (Photo courtesy of the Justice Department)

A Maryland man has pleaded guilty to making threats against the Human Rights Campaign.

The Justice Department in a press release notes Adam Michael Nettina, 34, of West Friendship, Md., pleaded guilty in federal court to one count of using interstate communications with a threat to injure.

The press release notes Nettina admitted to leaving a threatening voicemail on March 28, 2023, that referenced the massacre at the Covenant School in Nashville, which took place the day before.

“The message referenced a mass shooting that had happened the day before at a school in Nashville, Tennessee, involving multiple shooting fatalities, where the perpetrator was a transgender woman,” notes the press release. “During the call to the advocacy organization on March 28, Nettina made multiple threats, including, ‘…We’ll cut your throats. We’ll put a bullet in your head … You’re going to kill us? We’re going to kill you 10 times more in full.'”

The Justice Department said Nettina “admitted to leaving the threatening voicemail and to targeting his victims because of their actual and perceived gender, gender identity and sexual orientation” and acknowledged he sent threatening messages to two lawmakers in Virginia and Maryland who publicly support trans people.”

Nettina faces up to five years in prison.

“The defendant in this case attempted to terrorize the LGBTQI+ community by calling in multiple threats of violence to a local advocacy group,” said Luis Quesada, assistant director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Criminal Investigative Division. “The FBI will not tolerate these acts of hate, and we remain committed to investigating civil rights violations and keeping our communities safe and free from fear.”

Continue Reading

Sign Up for Weekly E-Blast

Follow Us @washblade