A report from the campaign trail

Sanders wins more primaries this week, but Clinton gets more delegates; Kasich waffles on ‘religious freedom’ laws


Lisa Keen  |  Keen News Service

The Democratic presidential candidate who appears to have the most LGBT support narrowly lost a major primary Tuesday, March 8, to the Democratic presidential candidate who boasts the most consistently pro-gay record.

The only Republican presidential candidate who has encouraged business owners to respect LGBT people appeared this week to back off that position. And to this mix, add the Republican frontrunner’s new rally feature: asking participants to raise their hands and “solemnly swear” to vote for him and saying, “Bad things happen if you don’t live up to what you just did.”

Wins vs. delegates

Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders picked up a surprise win in the Michigan primary Tuesday, as did Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump.

Polls leading up to Tuesday gave Democrat Hillary Clinton the advantage in Michigan. She appeared to have had significant support from the LGBT community in Michigan. Gay philanthropist Jon Stryker, head of the Kalamazoo-based Arcus Foundation, contributed heavily to political action committees supporting Clinton. LGBT organizers in Royal Oak on Sunday hosted former President Bill Clinton. And Michigan LGBT newspaper publisher Susan Horowitz said she supports Clinton.

But of the six states that held Democratic balloting between Saturday and Tuesday, Sanders won Michigan and three others (Kansas, Maine, and Nebraska) and Clinton won two (Louisiana and Mississippi). That kept up a general trend, so far, of Sanders winning in the northeast and Midwest, and Clinton winning in the south.

Though Clinton won fewer states in the past week, she picked up more delegates (152 to Sanders’ 136) and is now more than halfway to securing the 2,383 delegates needed to win the Democratic nomination. Sanders is 24 percent of the way.

While Trump is the Republican frontrunner, he has only 37 percent of the 1,237 delegate votes needed to secure the nomination. U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas has 29 percent, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida has 12 percent, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich has 4 percent.

Unless Kasich and Rubio can pull off victories in their home states next Tuesday, March 15, the Republican contest could soon be a two-man race.

But Trump continues to lead in most of the remaining polls — including in Florida and Ohio — and maintains the lion’s share of media attention.

That continued this week when Trump began asking rally participants to swear an oath to him, unleashing open discussion of a concern that Trump’s rhetoric and tactics are reminiscent of Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany. Trump has also had security personnel to remove protesters from his rallies.

Abraham Foxman, a former head of the Anti-Defamation League, told The Times of Israel, “As a Jew who survived the Holocaust, to see an audience of thousands of people raising their hands in what looks like the ‘Heil Hitler’ salute is about as offensive, obnoxious and disgusting as anything I thought I would ever witness in the United States of America.”

Trump called on his audience to make the pledge in Orlando, Fla., Saturday, March 5, and Concord, N.C., on Monday, March 7. Photos from the events show some people holding their hands up in a classic pledge pose, with their forearms perpendicular to their upper arms. But many held their arms straight out from their bodies in a pose reminiscent of Hitler’s salute.

Asked about it by various television news reporters, Trump said the oath was just “for fun” and that his audiences were beckoning him to “do the swear in.”

Kasich waffles

Republican Party leaders are distraught over the seeming likelihood that Trump will win the nomination and many have been throwing their support behind Rubio and Kasich. Anecdotal information suggests LGBT Republicans are getting behind Kasich, too.

Many LGBT Republicans were pleased with Kasich’s remarks during a Feb. 25 debate in Houston about the refusal of some to do business with same-sex couples.

“If you’re in the business of selling things, if you’re not going to sell to somebody you don’t agree with — OK, ‘Today, I’m not going to sell to somebody who’s gay and tomorrow maybe I won’t sell to somebody who’s divorced’.

“If you’re in the business of commerce, conduct commerce,” Kasich in Houston. “That’s my view. And if you don’t agree with their lifestyle, say a prayer for them when they leave [the shop] and hope they change their behavior.”

But during the latest debate on March 3, Fox News reporter Bret Baier said “some faith leaders got nervous about that answer” and asked Kasich “Do gay marriage dissenters have rights?”

Suddenly, Kasich seemed to waffle. After rambling about trying to be “a man of faith every day as best as I can,” he then restructured the conflict into one that gay couples were causing.

“Look, you’re in the commerce business, you want to sell somebody a cupcake, great, OK? But now they ask you to participate in something you really don’t like — that’s a whole ’nother issue, OK? Another issue,” Kasich said.

He reiterated that he didn’t agree with the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down state bans on same-sex marriage and that he favors “traditional marriage, a man and a woman.”

“If you go to a photographer to take pictures at your wedding, and he says, ‘I’d rather not do it,’ find another photographer. Don’t sue them in court,” said Kasich. “You know what the problem is in our country? In our country, we need to learn to respect each other and be a little bit tolerant for one another.”

“…At the end of the day, if somebody is being pressured to participate in something that is against their deeply-held religious beliefs, then we’re going to have to think about dealing with the law,” Kasich said.

At that same debate, Baier then asked Cruz, “Do you believe a gay couple should be able to adopt?” (This was four days before the U.S. Supreme Court issued an order that said Alabama had to accept an adoption approved in Georgia for a same-sex couple.)

Cruz said, “Adoption is decided at the state level, and I am a believer of the 10th Amendment in the Constitution. I would leave the question of marriage to the states. I would leave the question of adoption to the states.”

On Monday, a voter in Grosse Pointe Woods, Mich., confronted Kasich about his revised position. According to the Washington Post, the voter “asked if the governor would stand for the rights of gay people to be served just as Lyndon Johnson had stood for the rights of black people.”

The Post said Kasich “tried to pull [the voter] over [to his side] by portraying the religious liberty fight as one good people could agree not to have.”

“Don’t make laws until you think you need to,” Kasich said, according to the Post. “Let’s take a deep breath and see if we can get along. … If common sense doesn’t prevail, we can pass a law.”

He did not, apparently, identify which law he would want to pass.

Reacting to Kasich’s remarks, the Clinton campaign Twitter feed posted a graphic of a smiling Clinton against a rainbow background with the message “Marriage equality is the law of the land — Deal with it.”

Coming up

The race for the nomination in both parties now rushes into the District of Columbia (Saturday, March 12) and five delegate-heavy states: Illinois, Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, and Missouri.

The Clinton Twitter feed, @HillaryClinton, has been posting numerous LGBT-related messages. A March 4 post says, “Today, nearly 100 #LGBT leaders from all across Illinois announced their support for @Hillary Clinton.”

The list includes State Rep. Kelly Cassidy; Chicago Aldermen James Cappleman, Ray Lopez, and Deb Mell; Community Leader Bernard Cherkasov; long-time activist Rick Garcia; and NGLTF Creating Change Co-Chair Kenny Martin-Ocasio.

A March 5 post says, “We should be supporting LGBT kids — not trying to change them. It’s time to end conversion therapy for minors.” And a March 6 video showed same-sex couples together, with Clinton saying that “I’m running for president to stand up for the rights of LGBT Americans and all Americans.”

© 2016 Keen News Service. All rights reserved.

—  Tammye Nash

Trump promises to ‘bring people together,’ even the LGBT people, if he is elected

Screen shot 2016-02-05 at 1.49.22 PM

After having the Iowa caucus win stolen from him by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Donald Trump headed to New Hampshire this week to try and improve on what polls say is his double-digit lead headed into next Tuesday’s primaries there. And Sue O’Connell with NECN’s (New England Cable News)  Broadside show was there to interview him live on camera.

O’Connell, who is a lesbian and also co-publisher of the LGBT newspaper Bay Windows, did manage to ask Trump if the LGBT community can expect more “forward motion” on our issues, but got only a vague “bring people together” in return.

After noting that she is a lesbian and that the LGBT community has seen great progress on civil rights and equality issues in recent years, O’Connell asked: “When President Trump is in office, can we look for more forward motion on equality for gays and lesbians?”

“Well, you can,” Trump responded. “And we’re gonna bring people together. That’s your thing. Other people have their thing. We have to bring all people together, and if we don’t we’re not gonna have a country anymore. It’s gonna be a total mess. It’s a mess right now but it’s gonna be even more of a mess.”

Then Trump declared his love for the people of New Hampshire and pledged that once he is elected he will solve “the heroin problem, the drug problem” in New Hampshire that he’s heard so much about, and that he will do that by building a wall between the U.S. and Mexico.

Watch the 6-minute-18-second interview here.

—  Tammye Nash

Electoral success for gay candidates in yesterday’s primaries

Via Denis Dison at Gay Politics, there were some big wins for Victory Fund endorsed candidates in primaries in Connecticut, Colorado and Georgia. And, it looks good for all three moving towards November:

In Connecticut, Kevin Lembo (pictured) won the Democratic primary for State Comptroller. Now a favorite to win the general election, Lembo’s on his way to becoming one of just a handful of openly LGBT candidates to win statewide office in the U.S.

Colorado State Senator Lucia Guzman won her Democratic primary, and is well-positioned to keep the seat to which she was recently appointed. Guzman is an ordained minister and an out lesbian who hopes to invigorate efforts to pass legislation that secures key partnership rights for LGBT people and their families.

In Atlanta, Joan Garner, an openly lesbian African-American, won her race for a seat on the Fulton County Commission. Because no other candidates qualified to be on the ballot in November, she will become the commission’s first openly LGBT member.



—  John Wright

Dallas could elect 1st gay judge

Judicial candidates John Loza, Tonya Parker among 4 LGBTs running in local races in 2010

By John Wright | News Editor wright@dallasvoice.com
IN THE RUNNING | Dallas County District Clerk Gary Fitzsimmons, clockwise from top left, County Judge Jim Foster, attorney Tonya Parker and former Councilman John Loza are LGBT candidates who plan to run in Dallas County elections in 2010. The filing period ends Jan. 4.

Dallas County has had its share of openly gay elected officials, from Sheriff Lupe Valdez to District Clerk Gary Fitzsimmons to County Judge Jim Foster.
But while Foster, who chairs the Commissioners Court, is called a “judge,” he’s not a member of the judiciary, to which the county’s voters have never elected an out LGBT person.

Two Democrats running in 2010 — John Loza and Tonya Parker — are hoping to change that.

“This is the first election cycle that I can remember where we’ve had openly gay candidates for the judiciary,” said Loza, a former Dallas City Councilman who’s been involved in local LGBT politics for decades. “It’s probably long overdue, to be honest with you.”

Dallas County’s Jerry Birdwell became the first openly gay judge in Texas when he was appointed by Gov. Ann Richards in 1992. But after coming under attack for his sexual orientation by the local Republican Party, Birdwell, a Democrat, lost his bid for re-election later that year.

Also in the November 1992 election, Democrat Barbara Rosenberg defeated anti-gay Republican Judge Jack Hampton.

But Rosenberg, who’s a lesbian, wasn’t out at the time and didn’t run as an openly LGBT candidate.

Loza, who’s been practicing criminal law in Dallas for the last 20 years, is running for the County Criminal Court No. 5 seat. Incumbent Tom Fuller is retiring. Loza said he expects to face three other Democrats in the March primary, meaning a runoff is likely. In addition to groups like Stonewall Democrats of Dallas, he said he’ll seek an endorsement from the Washington, D.C.-based Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, which provides financial backing to LGBT candidates nationwide.

Parker, who’s running for the 116th Civil District Court seat, declined to be interviewed for this story. Incumbent Bruce Priddy isn’t expected to seek re-election, and Parker appears to be the favorite for the Democratic nomination.

If she wins in November, Parker would become the first LGBT African-American elected official in Dallas County.

Loza and Parker are among four known local LGBT candidates in 2010.
They join fellow Democrats Fitzsimmons and Foster, who are each seeking a second four-year term.

While Foster is vulnerable and faces two strong challengers in the primary, Fitzsimmons is extremely popular and said he’s confident he’ll be re-elected.

“I think pretty much everybody knows that the District Clerk’s Office is probably the best-run office in Dallas County government,” Fitzsimmons said. “I think this county is a Democratic County, and I think I’ve proved myself to be an outstanding county administrator, and I think the people will see that.”

Randall Terrell, political director for Equality Texas, said this week he wasn’t aware of any openly LGBT candidates who’ve filed to run in state races in 2010.

Although Texas made headlines recently for electing the nation’s first gay big-city mayor, the state remains one of 20 that lack an out legislator.

Denis Dison, a spokesman for the Victory Fund, said he’s hoping Annise Parker’s victory in Houston last week will inspire more qualified LGBT people to run for office.

“It gives other people permission really to think of themselves as leaders,” Dison said.

The filing period for March primaries ends Jan. 4.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 18, 2009.
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—  admin