RUDY AWAKENING: As an associate attorney general in the Reagan Justice Department, Rudy Giuliani hired an openly gay attorney as a U.S. attorney in Florida even though a legal counsel at the department gave him an excuse not to. Information about the 1982 hiring was published Aug. 8 by Newsday reporter Tom Brune.
Brune said openly gay attorney Greg Baldwin applied for the job and, through a memo, someone alerted Giuliani to the fact that Baldwin was an “admitted homosexual.”
Giuliani sought advice from the department’s legal counsel Theodore Olson. According to Brune: “Olson gave Giuliani an out: Hiring a practicing homosexual would indicate disrespect for Florida’s anti-sodomy law, putting the Justice Department in an awkward spot.”
Giuliani hired him.
RUDE AWAKENING: While Giuliani has the best record on gay issues among the current field of Republican presidential candidates a statement that can be objectively made without fear of contradiction not everyone in the gay community is happy about his newfound preference for leaning right-ward to win the nomination.
Ryan Davis, for instance, has formed a group called “Gays for Giuliani” which has prepared a video spoof of gays who might be inclined to support the candidate and he’s hoping to get it on the air in the conservative early primary state of South Carolina. (At youtube.com, type in “Gays for Giuliani.”)
The Washington Post reported that the video “made the rounds on some prominent blogs” just prior to the HRC-LOGO forum. And Davis, who is openly gay, says his purpose is simple: “I wanted to keep Rudy Giuliani from being President. That was (and still is) my goal with this ad.”
GAY TURNOUT: A new study out this month indicates that gay and lesbian voters are a reliable voting bloc when it comes to turning out to the ballot booth.
While 64 percent of the general population voted in the 2004 presidential election, says Community Marketing Inc., 92.5 percent of gay men and 90.7 percent of lesbians voted. Only 40 percent of the general public turned out to vote in the 2006 mid-term elections, compared to 83.8 percent of gay men and 78 percent of lesbians.
“We have far more at stake than the average voter and we’re therefore far more engaged in the political process,” said Community Marketing President Tim Roth.
The study, which will be released later this month as part of the company’s annual study of gay and lesbian consumer trends, also shows that 40 percent of the gay men and 31 percent of lesbians surveyed said they had made a contribution to a political candidate.
The results were based on surveys of more than 12,000 gay men and 10,000 lesbians in the United States.
GAY SUPPORT: In the days leading up to the HRC-LOGO forum, the campaigns of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama offered up the names of prominent gays to endorse their campaigns. Obama’s campaign rolled out the Episcopal Church’s first openly gay bishop, Eugene Robinson, who hails from the first primary state, New Hampshire. Clinton’s campaign heralded the first openly lesbian member of Congress, U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin, of Wisconsin.
California State Sen. Sheila Kuehl also endorsed Clinton last week. Kuehl, the first openly gay person to be elected to the California legislature and the first woman to be named Speaker pro Tempore of its assembly, said she’s confident Clinton will represent “all communities.”
The campaign of Barack Obama announced the formation of a National LGBT Leadership Council. On the list are long time gay Democratic activist Terje Anderson of Vermont, Chicago activist and Walgreens executive Phil Burgess, Equality Illinois leader Rick Garcia, and San Francisco Supervisor Bevan Dufty.
OUTREACH: John Edwards’ campaign made its deputy campaign manager, Jonathan Prince, available to reporters prior to the Aug. 9 HRC-LOGO forum, along with two gay supporters former National Stonewall Federation director Eric Stern and National Stonewall board member Stephen Handwerk. Asked to explain Edwards’ frequent comment that he wouldn’t impose his religious beliefs on the American people when it comes to gay marriage, Prince said it means “as president, he would fight passionately to ensure gays and lesbians are treated exactly the same.”
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 17, 2007