CORRECTION: All major candidates for Dallas mayor vied for LGBT vote in 2002

In my cover story for this week’s paper, I made a minor mistake. Actually it was fairly major. The opening paragraph of the story, as originally written, stated that 2011 marks the first time in history that all major candidates for Dallas mayor have actively courted the LGBT vote.

As former DV staff writer David Webb pointed out in the comments to the story, that’s not true. In 2002, Laura Miller, Tom Dunning and Domingo Garcia — the three major candidates for mayor — all courted the LGBT vote.

From The Dallas Mornings News on Jan. 15, 2002:

Dallas gays and lesbians, who used to hope that they could just find a candidate who wouldn’t be hostile to their interests, find themselves for the first time being wooed from all directions in what boils down to a three-way citywide race – and disagreeing about whom to support.

“It’s the first time I haven’t had to go vote for the lesser of two evils,” said Deb Elder, a Laura Miller supporter and political organizer. “Nothing has piqued my passion like this mayoral vote.”

Put another way, with major candidates Ms. Miller, Tom Dunning, and Domingo Garcia all touting their support for including gays in a nondiscrimination ordinance, a sector of voters that was shunned not long ago can’t lose this time around.

“It’s historic. I knew it would happen, but I didn’t know it would be this soon,” said Michael Milliken, one of the city’s first publicly identified gay appointees. “The gay community is in a unique position this year.”

I had based my report on statements by openly gay former City Councilman Ed Oakley, who called the 2011 mayoral election “a watershed moment for the community” and “unprecedented.”

While that may be true in some other respects, this isn’t the first time all major mayoral candidates have sought the LGBT vote, and I apologize for the error.

—  John Wright

As marriage bill is introduced, poll shows support from majority of Maryland voters

As we reported yesterday, Equality Maryland is holding its press conference today in Annapolis to announce the introduction of the marriage bill with an impressive lineup of speakers. The legislation has a very good chance of passing and the Governor will sign it.

This morning, the Washington Post released its latest Maryland polling. And, it showed a majority of the state’s registered voters support a same-sex marriage law:

The poll also includes good numbers for advocates of same-sex marriage, a high-profile issue this legislative session.

In the poll, 51 percent of voters say they would favor a law in Maryland allowing same-sex couples to marry, while 44 percent opposed such a law and 5 percent gave no response.

If the legislature passes a same-sex marriage bill, it is likely to be petitioned to the ballot for a statewide vote in 2012.

We’ll need those numbers — and more — to win on the ballot next year.


—  admin

Meet The Wyoming Lawmakers Who Want Voters To Constitutionally Ban Gay Marriage

Wyoming lawmakers, led by State Rep. Owen Petersen of (R-Mountain View) and State Sen. Curt Meier (R-LaGrange), plan to propose legislation next year that would let voters enact a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. Under state law, Wyoming currently recognizes only man-woman marriages, but by accepting other states' unions it technically accepts gay marriages too. Petersen and Meier want to put a stop to that.

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Mike Huckabee Courts Voters In Iowa, Hints at Run In 2012

Mike Huckabee spent the day in Iowa today in an effort to court evangelical voters in that state for a likely presidential run in 2012. He spoke to reporters about the ouster of three state Supreme Court judges in this month's election and claimed that it was the beginning of a larger national movement.

The Associated Press reports:

"The significance and historic nature of the judicial elections here in Iowa were far bigger than the borders of Iowa," he said. "It was a very important statement that voters made, a statement that resonated across the country and one that I think will give legs to a larger movement over the next few years."

Huckabee spoke to more than 1,000 evangelicals gathered at a massive church in Des Moines. The gathering marked the merger of a series of evangelical groups into a single organization known as The Family Leader, to be headed by veteran activist Bob Vander Plaats.

The merged group likely will play a crucial role in Iowa's Republican politics, as the campaign for the state's precinct caucuses begins to warm. And the former Baptist minister Huckabee is moving quickly to court the activists.

"This is a group of people with whom I am very comfortable and familiar," he said.

Does this mean he's comfortable enough to again bring up what he refers to as the "ick factor?"

It looks as if Huckabee will most likely battle it out with Sarah Palin over the GOP nomination in 2012. He said, "Am I keeping the option open? Yes. Am I open to considering it? Of course I am, I would be foolish not to in light of what I've been through."

Said Huckabee about Palin: "She's got a very strong and important voice and has brought a lot of energy to the grass roots" and that "she may run away with it, and that's something everybody has to be prepared for."

Meanwhile, Palin herself will embark upon Iowa which some are referring to as "more than just a book signing."

Towleroad News #gay

—  admin

Gay voters’ support for GOP doubled from 2008

Amanda Terkel at Huffington Post confirms what we reported the other day. And Yahoo News seems to confirm that gay support for Democrats dropped disproportionately as compared to other Democratic constituencies.


—  admin

BS or a possibility? AP: Gay voters angry at Democrats could sway election

This post has a poll; weigh in…

Read this article and tell me whether this story holds water. After what we’ve been discussing regarding the support for pro-equality candidates as well as how critical it is to vote because of those down ticket races that affect LGBT issues progress at the state and local levels, is this AP article on target?

Across the country, activists say gay voters are angry – at the lack of progress on issues from eliminating employment discrimination to uncertainty over serving in the military to the economy – and some are choosing to sit out this election or look for other candidates.

…[I]n places like Cook County, Ill., where the gay population represents about 7 percent of voters, that could mean the difference between victory and defeat in some races, said Rick Garcia, director of public policy for Equality Illinois. One of those races is a much-watched and close battle for Obama’s old Senate seat between Democrat Alexi Giannoulias and Republican Mark Kirk.

“If (candidates) can mobilize the gay community and get them out to vote, it could make all the difference in the world in some of these key races,” said Garcia.

But volunteers who’ve been calling the 18,000 or so members of Equality Illinois to urge them to vote have been getting an earful. Many members say they won’t vote or will vote against incumbents, regardless of their party affiliation or stance on gay issues.

This year’s election is a stark contrast to 2008, when the gay community turned out in droves to elect Obama and help Democrats regain control of Congress.

I happen to think it’s BS, and only sets up the meme that the community will be to blame for any major losses in the midterms.
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

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Rep. Mike Pence, Values Voters Presidential Straw Poll Winner, Attacks ‘DADT’ Repeal, Urges Defense of ‘Traditional’ Marriage


Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) won the presidential straw poll at the Values Voters Summit this weekend. On Friday, before the poll was taken, Pence gave a speech attacking "Obamacare" and other Democratic measures, as well as repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell". Pence also said "traditional marriage" must be protected.


Politico reports:

"Pence, the GOP's Conference Chairman, won 24 percent of the vote, Huckabee 22 percent and Mitt Romney came in a more distant third, taking 13 percent of the vote at the annual conference of social conservatives. Newt Gingrich took 10 percent for fourth place and Sarah Palin came in fifth place with 7 percent., Straw poll participants also cast the most votes for Pence as their Republican vice-presidential pick, giving him 119 votes and Sarah Palin 112. Pence's victory here will offer his presidential hopes a burst of attention. The Hoosier, first elected to the House in 2000, has visited some of the traditional early primary states and is headed back to Iowa to keynote the banquet of a cultural conservative group next month. He faces an easy re-election this fall and, if he doesn't seek the presidency, may run for governor of Indiana in 2012."

Said Pence to "Values Voters": "To those who say that marriage is not relevant to our budget crisis, I say that you would not be able to print enough money in a thousand years to pay for the government that you would need if the family that continues to collapse."


Pence advocates for not repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell":

On protecting life and defending traditional marriage:

Towleroad News #gay

—  John Wright

Does Ken Mehlman Regret Backing a GOP That Gay Baited Conservative Voters? Nope

My own view is that’s not what decided the 2004 election. I’ve had debates with friends on it. I understand where people are coming from. … No [I don’t regret being part of the campaign]. What I regret is the fact that I had not come to terms with this part of my life and therefore, because I had not come to terms with it, I was not able to do what I was able to do in other areas and work for a more inclusive and broader party.

—Ken Mehlman, the former George W. Bush campaign manager and RNC chairman who just came out, and terrible human being who's trying to make things right by trying to knock down Prop 8 [via]

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—  John Wright

The DNC is reaching out to LGBT voters, but that job got a lot tougher this week

The Washington Blade’s Chris Johnson wrote an article about the DNC’s outreach to the LGBT community, noting the speech from the DNC’s Executive Director Jennifer O’Malley Dillon to Stonewall Democrats last weekend.

But, there’s a big hurdle: Barack Obama. With the exception of the usual apologists, lobbyists and job-seekers, the statements from the White House in the wake of the Prop. 8 decision won’t make the DNC’s job any easier. Obama’s opposition to marriage equality is going to be a HUGE obstacle in the LGBT community. The reelection campaign (which may be run by Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina) probably does not care about that right now, but they will. It’s going to be tough to sell “separate, but equal” to people who are demanding nothing less than full equality.

Anyway, Chris interviewed John before the White House’s post-Prop. 8 decision debacle:

But discontent among many LGBT voters persists. And a continuing effort LGBT bloggers launched last year, called “Don’t Ask, Don’t Give,” urges LGBT people to withhold donations from the Democratic Party until more pro-LGBT bills are passed.

Leading the DNC boycott is John Aravosis, editor of, who’s asking readers to sign a pledge saying they will only contribute money to the Democratic Party after President Obama signs ENDA into law, and signs repeals of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and the Defense of Marriage Act.

Aravosis said at the start of this year that he didn’t feel inclined to whip the effort because signs had emerged that Congress would pass “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal and ENDA. The situation changed, though, as the year progressed.

“ENDA is now nowhere to be seen and no one thinks it’s passing both houses by the election — even though we were promised,” he said. “On ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ the legislation being discussed isn’t full repeal. It isn’t the repeal at all, even though it’s being sold that way. It’s not even clear if the legislation is going to pass anyway at this point.”

Aravosis dismissed the notion that outreach from the Democratic National Committee could be any substitute for the advancement of these issues.

“It’s a very 1990s strategy from the DNC,” he said. “They think showing face to the gay community — simply showing up at our events is going to buy our voters and buy our money because we should be so honored that they would deign to visit us.”

The whole approach of Team Obama to LGBT equality seems very 1990s. And, again, this interview happened before the Prop. 8 decision.

Besides, Don’t Ask, Don’t Give, we also started a campaign to get Obama on board with marriage equality. You can sign our open letter to President Obama asking him to come out in support of full marriage equality. It’s time for Obama to get on the right side of history. And, we have to let him know that’s where he needs to be. Obama’s political team has to understand that we’re not going to be taken for granted in 2012. The response has already been quite astounding. In just 24 hours, we’ve had thousands of people sign it.

But, it’s 2010, not 2012. There are elections this year and a lot of our allies need help. John and Bilerico’s Jerame Davis agree on the strategy for the midterm elections. Help our real friends:

Aravosis said the best donation tactic that LGBT people can use as the November election approaches is to support candidates “who are proven to be pro-gay and proven to have come through for us.”

“That means support Democrats who actually have fought for us, or, [get behind] those Republicans who have fought for us, although I’m not convinced there’s too many,” he said.

Davis said this approach is the best way to ensure that a majority in Congress supportive of LGBT rights is in place.

“So, the way I see it is this: find a good friend that you think is going to advocate for our issues well, and that’s where you should put your money,” Davis said.


—  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
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