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Gay, Pro-Gay Candidates Win Big

Jim Burroway

November 9th, 2011

Yesterday was a very good day for gay and -pro-gay candidates throughout the country. Here is a wrap-up. Please let me know what else is out there in the comments.

NOM Loses Big: Same-sex marriage remains secure in Iowa as Liz Mathis won big, 56-44%, over her NOM-backed opponent, Cindy Golding, in a special election for the Iowa state Senate. The National Organization for Marriage threw about $40,000 toward their failed attempt to elect Golding by making same-sex marriage an issue in the race. But soon after it was clear Golding lost, NOM’s cultural director Thomas Peters tweeted: “That’s what happens when a state GOP nominates a weak candidate.” Wow. Talk about your fair weather friends.

Virginia’s First: Adam Ebbin became the first openly gay state senator in Virginia after defeating his Republican challenger by a margin of 64-35%. His district, which is solidly Democratic, includes parts of Alexandria, Arlington, and Fairfax counties.

First Openly Gay, African-American Republican Mayor: At least that’s what we think happened when Bruce Harris was elected mayor of Chatham Borough, New Jersey.

Charlotte’s First: LaWana Mayfield became the first openly gay city council member as part of a Democratic landslide in North Carolina’s largest city. North Carolina, which will see a marriage amendment on the ballot next year, saw a number of other LGBT victories:

  • Chapel Hill Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt won re-election with 78% of the vote.
  • Lee Storrow, a gay 22-year-old UNC grad won his race for a seat on the Chapel Hill city council.
  • Carrboro incumbent Alderwoman Lydia Lavelle was re-elected to another term for city council.

Cincinnati’s First: Chis Seelbach became the first openly gay city council member. He worked in 2004 to help defeat Article XII in the city charter which banned anti-discrimination ordinances for gay people.

Indianapolis’s First: Zach Adamson became the first openly gay city council member. S

Missoula’s First: Caitlin Copple became the first openly gay city council member. She defeated one of only two city council members who voted against the city’s anti-discrimination ordinance in 2010, which made Missoula the first city in Montana to provide discrimination protections in housing and employment regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Youngest Mayor: Alex Morse, 22, beat incumbent mayor Mary Pluta in Holyoke, Massachusetts, to become the nation’s youngest mayor.

Houston Re-elects: Mayor Annise Parker was re-elected with more than 50% of the vote, a margin which allows her to avoid a run-off. Mike Laster also became the first openly gay member of Houston’s city council.

Traverse City Supports Anti-Discrimination Ordinance: Voters in Traverse City, Michigan voted by a 2-to-1 margin to keep an anti-discrimination ordinance.  The vote came more than a year after Traverse City adopted the ordinance to prevent discrimination against gays in employment, housing and other areas. Opponents of the measure collected signatures to place a referendum for repeal on the ballot.

And on a final note, there were a number of gains in school board elections around the country which I didn’t cover, but I would like to point one out anyway: Daniel Hernandez, Jr., Rep. Gabrielle Gifford’s openly gay intern, was elected to as seat on the board of the Sunnyside Unified School District in Tuscon’s south side. Hernandez was one of the recognized heros during the January shooting at a Northwest side Safeway which killed  six and critically injured Rep. Giffords. And on a more personal note, I couldn’t be happier about the stunning news that Arizona Senate President Russell Pearce, architect of infamous anti-immigrant S.B. 1070 which was later found unconstitutional, was ousted by voters in favor of a political newcomer in Mesa.



Leonardo Ricardo
November 9th, 2011 | LINK


Regan DuCasse
November 9th, 2011 | LINK

I go another one of NOM’s begging email blasts. They are REALLY coming fast and furiously with the tone of ‘do it NOW or the gay people will ruin everything’!
The donations they ask for are pretty high too. It looks like a pyramid in which the more you donate, the less you have to in the long run.
With this year being a run up, the election cycles, and political action will be very urgent for them.
As we can observe, their priorities are interesting. And certainly when they are feeling triumphant, their donation pledges are even more intense.

I mentioned on NOM’s own blog about their neglect of Prop. 4 in CA regarding abortion. And that’s when my comments got banned.
It’s very hard to make NOM’s supports think about what has really happened with marriage laws as opposed to actual marriages and families.
In these hard times, poverty can precipitate many other destructive and dangerous threats to the family. NONE of which has anything to do with gay people.
I have tried to entreat NOM’s supports that discriminating against gay people doesn’t make the lives of straight people better.
Any more than Jim Crow was a viable means of making white people more moral and virtuous.

So I ask them, what’s the point in giving money to Brian Brown and Maggie Gallagher so they can stay in hotels, eat out, fly all over the country and speak in interviews, while their supporters stay at home hoping against hope they don’t lose their jobs and everything else along with it?

Priya Lynn
November 9th, 2011 | LINK

Regan said “I mentioned on NOM’s own blog about their neglect of Prop. 4 in CA regarding abortion. And that’s when my comments got banned.”.

It seems pretty hit or miss as to what they allow there, I see some comments I’m surprised they let through and yet I tried to post the following which I thought was rather tame and they were afraid to let it through:

K.J Peacock said “What I don’t understand is why they are trying to make the world accept what thy do behind closed doors. I don’t care what a person does behind closed doors, just keep it there.”.

They do keep it behind closed doors, trouble is when you say to do that that is not what you want gays to do. When you say keep it behind closed doors what you’re really saying is “Don’t try to achieve the right to marry, just sit back, shut up and do nothing about not having the same rights as me.”. That’s just not on.

Timothy Kincaid
November 9th, 2011 | LINK

I have tried to entreat NOM’s supports that discriminating against gay people doesn’t make the lives of straight people better.

Solving society’s problems with family structure through banning gay equality is like solving local drought by banning bottled water. Sure they kinda sound related, but the underlying premise is faulty. Not only does banning one not solve the other, but it eliminates a possible positive influence.

Ray Harwick
November 9th, 2011 | LINK

NOM is certainly no respecter of the 1st Amendment in spite of their many claims of being its champion. I once **agreed** with them on something and they banned it.

Timothy Kincaid
November 9th, 2011 | LINK


Any more than Jim Crow was a viable means of making white people more moral and virtuous.

Yes. The real damage of Jim Crow was not being denied seating at a lunch counter or separated water fountains or any of that.

Yes, that was evil. But the real damage was that the system of Jim Crow laws institutionalized and gave government sanction to the message that some people were inherently better than others due to unchosen immutable characteristics that were irrelevant to any reasonable or real measure of worth.

Even if they had fixed the voting problems and eliminated the fountains, it would not have been enough. The Civil Rights movement wasn’t about where you sat on the bus or any of that.

The real value to the Civil Rights movement was that it demanded that people are equal and challenged those who thought of themselves as decent and who thought that America is “tolerant” and “everyone is the same and equal here” but who were complacent and willing to put asterisk to that equality notion.

It made White America ask itself just why they thought of themselves as “better”. And it wasn’t a very pretty answer.

Timothy Kincaid
November 9th, 2011 | LINK

First Openly Gay, African-American Republican Mayor: At least that’s what we think happened whenBruce Harris was elected mayor of Chatham Borough, New Jersey.

This is so very cool.

I don’t like Herman Cain and wouldn’t vote for him. But I love that the wingers in the Republican Party support him. It’s an indication that even among those who are least likely to empathize with the concerns expressed by, say, the NAACP, race has ceased being an automatic disqualifier. (Of course, you still have to support their social agenda and their positions on things like affirmative action.)

Similarly, I know nothing about Harris or his positions. But I know that when a black Republican is elected, it says positive things about the future of race relations in this country. And when a gay black Republican is elected, it gives me hope that the grip that the social conservatives have had over half of our party structure for the past 30 years (and over the other half before that) may be lessening.

And that’s a good thing.

Timothy Kincaid
November 9th, 2011 | LINK

Congrats Cincinnati,

Not only did you get your first gay councilman, but you also elected a CFO and financial planner. Smart move in this economy.

Dennis Skelton
November 9th, 2011 | LINK

Dade County enacted Florida’s 1st equal benefits ordinance which mandates that employers treat same-sex couples the same as opposite-sex couples. One of the few such laws in the nation.

November 9th, 2011 | LINK

This is all good stuff, especially Traverse City. TC is a sizeable urban center and we won with over 60%. It is about time that the favorable polling on gay rights started showing up in some referenda fights. It is really gratifying that we can now win and occasionally win big on anti-discrimination referenda, when years ago we used to lose all the time, often by huge margins.

You left some bad stuff out:

– Rosemarie Belforti, the anti-gay clerk in NY who wants her religion “accommodated” by requiring the public to get marriage licenses through the deputy clerk and by appointment only, defeated her write-in opponent

– Eugene Delgaudio, aka the Public Advocate of the United States, and first-class whacko, was re-elected to the Loudon County Board of Supervisors

– Manuel Rodriguez, incumbent on the Houston Independent School District, who tried to destroy his opponent with blatantly homophobic attacks, appears to have won with a margin of 24 votes

– In a special election in Maine to replace a GOP House member and first-class whacko who resigned after being arrested for pulling a gun on someone, the GOP candidate (described as an “unabashed Christian”) seems to have very narrowly defeated the Democratic candidate. This would have been a pick up for the Dems in a GOP-leaning district. The Dem lost because the Green Party candidate took just enough votes to tip the scales.

November 10th, 2011 | LINK

The openly gay mayor in my little city in Massachusetts won his 5 term. They took a nice picture of him hugging his partner when they announced he won. He’s done a wonderful job with the city. Everyone knows this. To me, he represents what the gay agenda is, to be part of a team trying to make things better for everyone.

Lindoro Almaviva
November 10th, 2011 | LINK

Congratulations to Zach, great guy. he used to cut my hair and he deserves every accolate he gets cause he works relentlessly for the community.

While probably not a first, the town of Beech Grove, IN also elected a very young mayor. His name escapes me, but he is 23 and a senior at Butler university. He might not be the youngest, but he is probably the only one in this election cycle who will be taking finals as he is also taking office.

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