Removing A potential obstacle to another run for President, Hillary Clinton on Monday announced her support for gay marriage.
Appearing in a six-minute video released by the Human Rights Campaign, the former New York senator and secretary of state said she supports same-sex marriage “personally and as a matter of policy and law.”
Gay and lesbian Americans “are our colleagues, our teachers, our soldiers, our friends, our loved ones. And they are full and equal citizens and deserve the rights of citizenship,” she said. “That includes marriage. That’s why I support marriage for lesbian and gay couples.”
During the 2008 presidential campaign, Clinton and rival Barack Obama both backed civil unions for gay couples, but not same-sex marriage.
Public opinion has shifted so rapidly on gay marriage, however, a Democrat who does not support marriage equality for gays would have a hard time winning the party’s presidential nomination in 2016.
Clinton’s announcement follows similar reversals by her husband Bill Clinton, President Obama and, last week, Republican Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio.
It also puts her in line with other possible Democratic candidates in 2016, including Vice President Biden, Gov. Cuomo and Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley. All back the right of same-sex couples to marry.
Last year, Hillary Clinton said that “gay rights are human rights” but stopped short of endorsing same-sex marriage.
In her video statement, Clinton said her views have been “shaped over time by people I have known and loved, by my experience representing our nation on the world stage, my devotion to law and human rights and the guiding principles of my faith.”
She also compared the struggle for gay rights to both the African-American civil rights movement and women’s rights movement. Supporting same-sex marriage will move the U.S. “closer and closer to that more perfect union promised to us all,” she said.
from The New York Daily News
Archive for the ‘Gay Politics’ Category
Removing A potential obstacle to another run for President, Hillary Clinton on Monday announced her support for gay marriage.
You probably recognize Sen. Rob Portman from his tireless campaigning for Mitt Romney in 2012. He was even on the short list to be Romney’s running mate.
He’s been a leading Republican voice on economic issues for four decades.
Now, the prominent Ohio conservative will be known for something else: reversing his hardline position against gay marriage.
He invited CNN to his Senate office to reveal the news.
“I’m announcing today a change of heart on an issue that a lot of people feel strongly about that has to do with gay couples’ opportunity to marry,” Portman told CNN.
It has to do with another revelation, one deeply personal. His 21-year-old son, Will, is gay.
“I’ve come to the conclusion that for me, personally, I think this is something that we should allow people to do, to get married, and to have the joy and stability of marriage that I’ve had for over 26 years. That I want all of my children to have, including our son, who is gay,” said Portman.
Will Portman told his father and mother he is gay two years ago, when he was a freshman at Yale University.
“My son came to Jane, my wife, and I, told us that he was gay, and that it was not a choice, and that it’s just part of who he is, and that’s who he’d been that way for as long as he could remember,” said Portman.
What was the Republican senator’s reaction?
“Love. Support,” responded Portman.
And complete surprise. He told CNN that he never suspected that his son was gay.
Portman says his son, now a junior in college, helped him work through his decision to announce his change in position on gay marriage and blessed the idea of publicly announcing Will Portman’s sexuality.
“I think he’s happy and, you know, proud that we’ve come to this point, but he let it be my decision just as you know, it’s going to be his decision as to the role he plays going forward in this whole issue,” said Portman.
Until now, this was a secret to most people in politics, but not everyone.
Last year, when Romney was vetting Portman to be his running mate, the Ohio Republican informed both Romney and his top campaign advisers that he has a gay son.
“I told Mitt Romney everything,” said Portman with a laugh. “That process is, intrusive would be one way to put it. But, no, yeah, I told him everything.”
Portman, who was ultimately passed over as the GOP vice-presidential candidate in favor of Rep. Paul Ryan, said the fact that his son is gay was not the deal breaker for Romney. How does he know?
“Well, because they told me,” said Portman.
Portman told CNN he sought counsel from a Republican who did serve as vice president: Dick Cheney, the highest-ranking Republican with an openly gay child, his daughter Mary.
“I spoke to him personally; I actually met with him,” said Portman.
He said Cheney’s advice was simple: “‘Follow your heart.’”
“He was a good person to talk to because he also was surprised by the news, in that case, you know, his wonderful daughter, who he loves very much. And it forced him to re-think the issue too, and over time, he changed his view on it,” said Portman.
“I followed his advice. You know, I followed my heart,” he said.
Though he is a staunch conservative, Portman was never outspoken against gay marriage. But he consistently voted against it.
While in Congress, he supported a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, voted for the Defense of Marriage Act and voted for a bill prohibiting gay couples in Washington from adopting.
In 2011, 100 University of Michigan law school graduates walked out of Portman’s commencement address to protest his position on gay rights after circulating a petition trying to get him removed as the event’s speaker.
“The decision to host a graduation speaker who is openly hostile to LGBT rights is deeply unfair to the LGBT students who will be in the audience this year celebrating their graduation,” read the petition.
Portman admitted that when the protest occurred, he already knew his own son was gay.
“It was a little odd. Look, and to be honest with you, it didn’t affect that decision-making much, because it was, I didn’t think it was appropriate,” Portman said. “But look, they had their freedom of speech rights to be able to do what they wanted to do.”
“But you know, what happened to me is really personal. I mean, I hadn’t thought a lot about this issue. Again, my focus has been on other issues over my public policy career,” said Portman.
Asked about why he is announcing this change of heart, since his son revealed it to him two years ago, Portman cited two reasons. He just recently became comfortable with his decision to shift his position on gay marriage, and also he said he knew the Supreme Court is considering a pair of gay marriage cases, and reporters would likely ask him for his position.
“I thought it was the right time to let folks know where I stand so there’s no confusion, so I would be clear about it,” said Portman.
What would Portman say to gay constituents who may be glad he’s changing his position on gay marriage, but also wondering why it took having a gay son to come around to supporting their rights?
“Well, I would say that, you know, I’ve had a change of heart based on a personal experience. That’s certainly true,” he responded with a shoulder shrug.
But he also repeated a reality. His policy focus has been almost exclusively on economic issues.
“Now it’s different, you know. I hadn’t expected to be in this position. But I do think, you know, having spent a lot of time thinking about it and working through this issue personally that, you know, this is where I am, for reasons that are consistent with my political philosophy, including family values, including being a conservative who believes the family is a building block of society, so I’m comfortable there now.”
To be sure, Portman was anything but comfortable discussing something as private and personal as his son’s sexuality, even noting how foreign it felt for someone with his Midwestern upbringing and sensibilities to talk publicly about such issues.
At times, the press-savvy politician even seemed to tremble a bit. But it was also clear he was willing to endure the discussion in order to publicly tell his son that he is proud.
“He wanted to tell us that there’s something about him that we didn’t know,” Portman said, reflecting on the day two years ago his son Will first told his parents he was gay.
Portman quickly added that it “of course hasn’t changed our view of him at all.”
Long seen as a leading contender, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn formally launched Sunday what she hopes will be a history-making mayoral bid.
A veteran of city politics, Quinn would be a groundbreaking mayor across two personal dimensions: She would be the first female and first openly gay mayor to lead the nation’s largest city.
Announcing on Twitter that she’s in the race, Quinn said she wanted to give middle- and working-class New Yorkers the same opportunities generations of her family got when they came here.
“I’m running for mayor because I love this city. It’s the greatest place in the world,” she said in a video linked to her post, before starting what she called a walk-and-talk tour intended to take her to every neighborhood in the city before the Democratic primary in September.
Her first stop was the upper Manhattan neighborhood of Inwood, where she was surrounded by supporters carrying signs that read “Christine Quinn for Mayor” and wearing baseball caps with her initials on them.
Before the walk, Quinn told reporters, “I’m running today and I’ll stack my record against anybody else’s in this field. … I balance budgets on time, and I had the wisdom in the first three years I was speaker, when there were surpluses, to not spend that money.”
Her attempts to meet the people led to a classic New York City moment.
She shook hands with everyone – people on the street, workers in a diner and even a bedraggled-looking man sitting on a sidewalk bench.
“Hi, I’m Christine Quinn and I’m running for mayor,” she told the man, who looked up at her, seemingly puzzled.
“I need some change,” he replied as she searched her pockets, saying, “I don’t have any.”
A former tenant organizer and director of a gay and lesbian advocacy group, Quinn, 46, has been on the City Council since 1999 and its leader since 2006. The position has afforded her considerable exposure going into the crowded field of candidates vying to succeed term-limited Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
She’s enjoyed a considerable edge over other Democratic contenders in polls. A Quinnipiac University poll late last month gave her 37 percent of the Democratic vote, while her opponents each got less than 15 percent. Registered Democrats outnumber Republicans more than 6 to 1 in the city, though that hasn’t translated into Democratic success in a mayor’s race since 1989.
Quinn has generally been perceived as likely to get the backing of Republican-turned-independent Bloomberg, and with it support from business leaders.
Some of her Democratic opponents have tried to use that against her, suggesting Quinn is too close to a mayor they say has sometimes turned a cold shoulder to the concerns of middle-class and working-class New Yorkers. Opponents have faulted her, for example, for joining Bloomberg in opposing a plan to require businesses with at least five employees to provide paid sick leave. Quinn has said it’s a worthy goal, but now is not the economic time to do it.
She also has taken heat for helping Bloomberg get the council to agree to extend term limits so he could run for a third time in 2008, without asking the voters who had approved a two-term limit twice in the 1990s.
In office, Quinn leads 50 other council members and largely controls what proposals come to a vote. Under her leadership, the council has taken on matters including requiring electronics manufacturers to collect their products for recycling, making it tougher for immigration officials to deport people being released from city jails or police custody and barring employers from discriminating against unemployed job applicants – the last of which Bloomberg vetoed. Quinn has vowed the council will override his veto.
Quinn and her longtime partner, products liability lawyer Kim Catullo, married last year after more than a decade together. Their wedding guest list was a who’s-who of New York politics, with Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Bloomberg and many other officeholders in attendance.
The year before, Quinn had invoked her personal story in lobbying state lawmakers to legalize gay marriage, a cause Cuomo championed. She called it “one of the best feelings I have ever had in my life” when the measure passed in June 2011.
Her announced and likely Democratic opponents include former City Councilman Sal Albanese; Public Advocate Bill de Blasio; Comptroller John Liu; and former Comptroller Bill Thompson.
Republican contenders include former Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chairman Joseph Lhota; Tom Allon, a publisher; billionaire businessman John Catsimatidis; and George McDonald, the head of a nonprofit that helps the homeless.
Former Bronx borough president and federal housing official Adolfo Carrion, a former Democrat who is now unaffiliated, is running on the Independence Party line and seeking Republican backing.
from The Associated Press
JACKSON, MISSISSIPPI – The FBI said Wednesday that it has been monitoring the state investigation into the death of an openly gay mayoral candidate in Mississippi, but the agency didn’t indicate it had opened its own investigation.
U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson asked Tuesday for the FBI to “review the circumstances and evidence” in the slaying of Marco McMillian, who was running for mayor of Clarksdale in the Mississippi Delta. Thompson, whose daughter attended college with McMillian, said he had known the victim for years.
“The FBI is aware of the case, has been monitoring the state investigation, and will assess evidence to determine whether federal prosecution is appropriate,” FBI spokeswoman Deborah Madden said Wednesday in a statement. She said the FBI has been following the investigation since March 1, shortly after learning of the circumstances surrounding McMillian’s death.
The FBI could determine whether to file a federal hate crime charge, which covers acts motivated by bias against sexual orientation. Mississippi’s state law against hate crimes covers acts motivated by race, but not sexual orientation.
“The FBI will continue to monitor this investigation, and will continue its ongoing dialogue with the Coahoma Sheriff’s Office and the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation,” Madden said in her statement. “The full resources of the FBI have been made available to our state and local partners.”
The Coahoma County Sheriff’s Office has been the lead agency in the investigation with assistance from the MBI,, said Mississippi Department Public of Safety spokesman Warren Strain.
Strain said the sheriff’s office asked for MBI’s assistance when a man wrecked McMillian’s car on Feb. 26, but McMillian was nowhere to be found. Authorities say the man charged with McMillian’s murder, 22-year-old Lawrence Reed, was driving the car when it wrecked.
McMillian’s body was found the next day near a Mississippi River levee in Coahoma County.
Thompson, D-Miss., said Tuesday that he has confidence in the sheriff investigating the death but that he wants the FBI to get involved because that’s what McMillian’s family wants. Thompson’s district includes the area where McMillian died.
McMillian’s campaign had said he was one of the first openly gay, viable candidates for public office in Mississippi.
McMillian was black, as is Reed.
The cause of death has not been released. An autopsy was performed, but toxicology tests are pending, and authorities say it could take two weeks to get those results.
The victim’s family said in a statement Sunday that the body was “beaten, dragged and burned,” leading some to assume it was dragged by a car.
Coahoma County Coroner Scotty Meredith said Tuesday that McMillian was not dragged by a car, he was dragged out of a vehicle by someone and his body left near the levee. He said McMillian’s body had a couple of small burns that happened after his death.
Reed was treated at the Regional Medical Center in Memphis. He was taken into custody by authorities in Shelby County, Tenn., when he was released from the hospital on Saturday.
Chip Washington, a spokesman for Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, said Wednesday that paperwork on Reed’s extradition is being completed and he is scheduled to be picked up by Mississippi authorities on or before March 15.
from The Associated Press
Man Charged In Slaying Of Mayoral Candidate
Homicide Suspected In Death of Gay Mayoral Candidate
SAN FRANCISCO — John Wayne has one. Louis Armstrong has one. Shoot, even Imelda Marcos, shoe queen and former first lady of the Philippines, has one. And John F. Kennedy? He has three airports named in his honor.
But here in the vibrant heart of gay America, the push to change the name of San Francisco International Airport to commemorate slain civil rights activist Harvey Milk has run into turbulence.
Supervisor David Campos, who floated the idea to make the airport the first in America to be named after an openly gay leader, argues that the moniker Harvey Milk SFO will “make our airport a beacon of hope” around the world “for all individuals who are bullied, discriminated against and abused.”
But in a recent poll, nearly two-thirds of those surveyed gave the name change an emphatic thumbs down. The San Francisco Chronicle and the Bay Area Reporter, the area’s largest gay publication, have editorialized against the idea.
And though an online petition asking the supervisors to change the airport’s name recently hit 20,000 signatures, much of the Internet commentary has been scathing:
“This ranks up there with the local insanity of proposing to drain Hetch Hetchy reservoir,” wrote one poster, referring to a plan to turn a major water source back into a verdant valley, a ballot measure that died last November. “Like they say: ‘You can’t fix stupid.’”
Nearly 35 years have passed since Supervisor Milk and Mayor George Moscone were assassinated by Dan White, spawning the phrase “Twinkie defense” and turning Milk into a gay rights icon.
Although he served just 11 months in elected office, Milk has been the subject of an opera, two movies and a children’s book. Barack Obama awarded him a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom. California celebrates Harvey Milk Day on May 22.
But it wasn’t until Campos traveled to Barcelona, Spain, in 2010 on a sister-city foray that he said he realized what an international profile Milk has. That trip, Campos said, also got him thinking about how important international airports are as geographic and cultural gateways.
“There are more than 80 airports in this country alone that are named after individuals,” he said in a recent interview. “At some point, an openly gay or LGBT person should get that recognition. …I just think that if it doesn’t happen in San Francisco, where will it happen?”
Airport officials have pegged the cost of changing signage at SFO — which had a record 44.5 million passengers last year — at about $4 million. And then there are the intangible costs of tweaking a treasured trade name.
San Francisco “is a great brand, and we don’t believe it should be tampered with,” said Jim Lazarus, senior vice president for public policy at the Chamber of Commerce, whose recent poll showed 61% opposed to the idea.
If activists want to honor Milk, he said, they could do what Los Angeles International Airport did for former Mayor Tom Bradley: Name a terminal in his honor. Or they could tap the airport’s accredited museum to put up a permanent exhibit on Milk’s place in the civil rights movement.
“Let’s tell the story for those millions of travelers who go through SFO, without changing the name on the front door,” Lazarus said.
The proposal is expected to have its first hearing before a Board of Supervisors committee in the next few weeks. The full board could vote as soon as April on whether to change the name themselves or put the matter before voters in November.
Stuart Milk, Harvey Milk’s nephew and a gay rights activist himself, thinks the time is ripe for Harvey Milk San Francisco International Airport. Such a gesture, he said, is both possible and necessary.
Just think what it would be like to fly into an airport named for a gay martyr, he said, if you are coming from a place like Qatar or Singapore, “where it’s illegal to be LGBT.”
“When you talk about an international airport, it has an impact that goes further than the community or country it serves,” Stuart Milk said. “It sends a global message.”
from The Los Angeles Times
JACKSON, MISSISSIPPI – A 22-year-old man was charged with murder Thursday in the death of a mayoral candidate, whose body was found near a river levee in the Mississippi Delta this week.
The Coahoma County Sheriff’s Department said in a news release that Lawrence Reed of Shelby was charged in the death of Marco McMillian, 34, a candidate for mayor of Clarksdale.
Campaign spokesman Jarod Keith says McMillian’s bid was noteworthy because he may have been the first openly gay man to be a viable candidate for public office in Mississippi.
An investigation began Tuesday when McMillian’s SUV slammed head on into another car on U.S. Highway 49 near the Coahoma and Tallahatchie county lines.
Reed was driving the car, but McMillian was not in it, according to sheriff’s department spokesman Will Rooker.
McMillian’s body was found the next day near the Mississippi River levee between Sherard and Rena Lara, Coahoma County Coroner Scotty Meredith has said.
Warren Strain, a spokesman with the Mississippi Department of Public Safety, said the autopsy was completed but toxicology and other test results are pending, and no cause of death will be released until the report is completed.
The sheriff’s department has not released a possible motive for the crime.
Reed was taken to the Regional Medical Center in Memphis after the car wreck, and was listed in good condition on Thursday, a hospital official said.
Little is known about Reed or how he was acquainted with McMillian.
A recent address listed for Reed was at a Clarksdale apartment complex, but the manager said the unit was rented by another man who has since moved out. The manager said he did not know Reed.
Sissiretta Melton, 33, said she had known McMillian since they were in seventh grade in Clarksdale and described his death as “dramatic” for those who loved him and his community.
“It’s just terrifying to everybody that knew him personally because you ask, `Why?’” Melton said. “Why would it happen to someone like him?”
Melton said people knew early on that McMillian had a bright future and that he could have left Mississippi behind for good.
“He knew this town needed him,” she said. “Kids here have nothing. We don’t even have a decent movie theater. He wanted to bring those things here.”
Keith has said McMillian had big plans for Clarksdale, a town of about 17,800 people best known as a hub of Blues music.
Although Keith said McMillian’s sexual orientation was noteworthy in the conservative state, Melton took issue with the way McMillian has been characterized at times since his death, saying he was not one to flaunt his sexuality, but was comfortable with who he was.
“He was just a standup guy,” she said.
Clarksdale is known as the home of the crossroads, where Robert Johnson is said to have sold his soul to the devil for skills with a guitar. Academy Award-winning actor and Mississippi native Morgan Freeman is part owner of the Ground Zero Blues Club in town.
But the town also struggles with the grinding poverty that is typical of the Mississippi Delta.
Those who knew McMillian said he had connections across the country, and hoped to put those to use for Clarksdale.
McMillian had forged ties while serving for four years as international executive director of the historically black Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc. Photos on McMillian’s website and Facebook page show him with a younger Barack Obama, former President Bill Clinton and with U.S. Rep. John Lewis, a Georgia Democrat.
McMillian was CEO of MWM & Associates, described on its website as a consulting firm for nonprofit organizations. In addition to his role at the fraternity from 2007 to 2011, McMillian had previously worked at Alabama A&M University and at Jackson State University.
from The Associated Press
Homicide Suspected In Death of Gay Mayoral Candidate
JACKSON, MISSISSIPPI — Whatever his prospects for winning the coming mayoral election in his hometown of Clarksdale, Miss., Marco McMillian was considered by many to be a man on the rise. So word spread fast when his SUV was involved in a wreck this week, and he was nowhere to be found.
The discovery of the openly gay candidate’s body near a Mississippi River levee Wednesday stunned residents of Clarksdale, a Blues mecca in the flatlands of the Mississippi Delta.
Authorities were investigating McMillian’s death as a homicide, and said a person of interest was in custody, but released few other details.
“There’s a lot of people upset about it,” said Dennis Thomas, 33, who works at Abe’s Barbeque.
“Why would somebody want to do something like that to somebody of that caliber? He was a highly respected person in town,” Thomas said.
The 34-year-old Democrat wasn’t running what many would consider a typical campaign for political office in Mississippi, which is known for its conservative politics.
Campaign spokesman Jarod Keith said McMillian’s campaign was noteworthy because he may have been the first openly gay man to be a viable candidate for public office in the state.
McMillian, who was black, had also forged ties while serving for four years as international executive director of the historically black Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc. Photos on McMillian’s website and Facebook page show him with a younger Barack Obama, former President Bill Clinton and with U.S. Rep. John Lewis, a Georgia Democrat.
Coahoma County Coroner Scotty Meredith said McMillian’s body was found Wednesday morning near the levee between Sherard and Rena Lara. It was sent to Jackson for an autopsy.
Meredith said the case is being investigated as a homicide, but he declined to speculate on the cause of death.
Authorities had been looking for McMillian since Tuesday morning when a man crashed the candidate’s SUV into another vehicle on U.S. Highway 49. McMillian was not in the car.
The sheriff’s office said Wednesday that a person of interest was in custody, but had not been formally charged.
Will Rooker, a spokesman for the sheriff’s office, declined to release other details.
McMillian was CEO of MWM & Associates, described on its website as a consulting firm for nonprofit organizations. In addition to his role at the fraternity from 2007 to 2011, McMillian had previously worked to raise funds as executive assistant to the president at Alabama A&M University and as assistant to the vice president at Jackson State University, according to his campaign.
A statement from the fraternity said he had secured the first federal contract to raise awareness about the impact of HIV and AIDS on communities of color. It noted that Ebony Magazine had recognized him in 2004 as one of the nation’s “30 up-and-coming African Americans” under age 30.
Supporters say McMillian — a 1997 graduate of Clarksdale High School who graduated magna cum laude from Jackson State and held a master’s degree from St. Mary’s University in Minnesota in philanthropy and development — had big ideas for Clarksdale, a town of about 17,800 people.
The town is well known to Blues fans as the home of the crossroads, where Robert Johnson is said to have sold his soul to the devil for skills with a guitar. Academy Award-winning actor and Mississippi native Morgan Freeman is part owner of the Ground Zero Blues Club in town. Clarksdale is also hounded by the poverty typical of the Mississippi Delta.
McMillian was hoping to win the office being vacated by Mayor Henry Espy Jr., the brother of Mike Espy, a former congressman and U.S. agriculture secretary. Henry Espy decided not to seek re-election after more than two decades in office. Espy’s son, state Rep. Chuck Espy, and Bill Luckett, a partner in Freeman’s club, were among the other well-known candidates in the race. The primary is May 7.
The Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund and Institute tweeted: “Our hearts go out to the family and friends of Marco McMillian, one of the 1st viable openly (hash)LGBT candidates in Mississippi.”
McMillian’s campaign said in a statement that words cannot describe “our grief at the loss of our dear friend.”
“We remember Marco as a bold and passionate public servant, whose faith informed every aspect of his life,” the statement said.
from The Associated Press
NEW JERSEY – A Hackettstown candy company fired a woman for being a lesbian and taking time off from work for her pregnancy, alleges a lawsuit filed in New Jersey Superior Court in Belvidere.
Theresa Kwiecinski, of Hampton, alleges that she was fired in September 2011 from Mars Chocolate North America after her co-workers learned of her sexuality, according to the civil complaint. She’d worked at the company for about 10 years when she noticed a difference in treatment, heralded by a complicated pregnancy, according to the complaint.
“The complaint speaks for itself,” said her attorney William Koy Jr. “My client is very disturbed for how she was treated at Mars, and we look forward to her day in court.”
Mars representatives said that it is against the company’s policy to comment on litigation.
Kwiecinski’s treatment at work began to deteriorate in March 2011 after her co-workers met her partner at a week-long work conference in Florida and first learned of her sexual orientation, according to the complaint. She introduced her partner, Dana, and their son, and noticed that the group immediately treated her and her family differently, according to the complaint.
When she returned to work from the conference, Kwiecinski claims she was given an unreasonable work load and when she asked for help, she was either ignored or told ‘”well that’s the business now, we all have to work bigger jobs,”‘ according to court papers.
She alleges that her troubles with the company started a year prior to the conference.
Kwiecinski worked as a commercial manager for external manufacturing, and had received good performance reviews, according to the complaint. This changed in 2010, when the company hired a new supervisor and Kwiecinski started having issues with her pregnancy, according to the complaint.
Her previous supervisor had worked with her and knew that after undergoing fertility treatments, Kwiecinski needed to limit her work-related travel, the complaint alleges. Without warning, Kwiecinski was given reviews of “below expectations,” according to court records
After she was hospitalized a few times and unexpectedly needed to go on maternity leave, she was informed that her mid-year status was again “below expectations” for failing to prepare enough for her leave, according to the complaint.
Following her pregnancy complications and revelation of her sexual orientation, Kwiecinski alleges she was placed on a performance improvement plan that proved impossible. She alleges that this culminated in her wrongful termination in September 2011.
from The Express-Times
POMEROY, OHIO – The mayor of a southeastern Ohio village who was accused earlier this week of degrading a gay police officer and refusing to allow his partner to visit the police station has resigned.
Pomeroy Mayor Mary McAngus hand-delivered a resignation letter to a village council member today, said Council President Jackie Welker.
The letter was only a few sentences. McAngus did not acknowledge that she had treated Police Officer Kyle Calendine poorly. She wrote that “due to circumstances,” she was resigning and that it had been a pleasure to serve as mayor the past 14 months.
McAngus has not publicly commented since Police Chief Mark E. Proffitt came forward with his concerns about how Calendine was being treated. She could not immediately be reached for comment today.
She was accused of calling Calendine a queer and using other slurs. Others said she didn’t want Calendine’s partner stopping by the police department, though family members of other officers routinely drop by with lunch or before or after a shift.
Calendine, who was hired as a part-time officer in this Ohio River community in September, said he was disappointed in how he has been treated. He was on duty today when he got word that McAngus had resigned.
The resignation pleases him, although he wishes the mayor had also apologized, he said.
He said he’s been overwhelmed by the widespread support he’s received and hopes now that tensions in the community will ease.
“I am who I am, and I won’t apologize for how I live my life,” Calendine said. “I just want to do my job.”
Proffitt said that Calendine is a terrific and dedicated police officer, one who didn’t deserve this kind of treatment.
“Kyle Calendine would lay down his life for anyone in need,” said Proffitt, who has been police chief since 2000 in Pomeroy, about 100 miles southeast of Columbus. “This is a win for Kyle, for our department and for the gay community. It lets people know that no matter what, we’re all in this together.”
Welker said it has been a difficult week and that the mayor’s resignation was welcomed.
He expects council will formally accept it as an already-scheduled public meeting Monday night. Welker will then temporarily take over the duties.
“We look forward to getting this behind us,” Welker said. “We support our police chief and his department and have all the confidence in the world in what they do. We’re sorry this all happened.”
The trouble had been brewing for a few weeks.
The police chief had last month submitted to the village council an information packet that included his six-page sworn statement. He warned the council that the mayor’s behavior could get the village of 2,000 residents sued. Proffitt wrote that McAngus called him into her office about two weeks after Calendine was hired. She said she heard “that Kyle was a queer” and asked what the chief was going to do about it. Nothing, he replied, because that would be discrimination.
“She stated ‘I don’t like a Queer working for the Village, I might be old-fashioned, but I don’t like it.’” Proffitt wrote in the statement.
The mayor persisted in making crude comments about the officer and his partner to police department employees, Proffitt said.
It created a hostile work environment for everyone, the chief said today. Now, he hopes the community can focus on healing.
He is not so naïve, however, as to believe this is the end of it. In fact, he said he’s long been a victim of discrimination himself; his wife is Filipino.
“The sad thing is that while we support Kyle, there will be someone else someplace else tomorrow.”He said that when he called Calendine earlier today to tell him the mayor had resigned, he tried to make his message clear: “His partner, Harold, is welcome to stop by our department and have lunch anytime.”
from The Columbus Dispatch
President Barack Obama nominated Thursday an openly gay attorney to serve on the U.S. appeals court for patent cases after a previous gay nominee for that court stalled.
Todd Hughes, a lawyer in the Department of Justice’s civil division, was nominated for the Federal U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. He would be the first openly gay circuit judge in the country if confirmed.
The Federal Circuit hears patent appeals from around the country, including high stakes cases like Apple Inc’s smartphone battle against Samsung Electronics Co Ltd. Its docket also includes trademark cases and some claims against the federal government.
The administration previously nominated Edward DuMont for the Federal Circuit in 2010. He would have been the first openly gay circuit judge had he been confirmed. However, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee did not hold a hearing and DuMont ultimately withdrew, saying some Republican committee members opposed his bid. DuMont did not identify those senators.
Justice Department representatives referred questions about the Hughes nomination to the White House. Obama also nominated U.S. Patent and Trademark Office attorney Raymond Chen for the Federal Circuit on Thursday, and in a statement Obama said both Hughes and Chen have displayed “exceptional dedication” to public service.
Hughes has specialized in federal personnel matters, veterans’ benefits and international trade. Chen argued numerous cases at the Federal Circuit defending the USPTO’s decisions, according to the office’s website.
Representatives of the USPTO declined to comment.
The Federal Circuit is a crucial tribunal for high stakes intellectual property battles. Another Obama nominee for the court – Richard Taranto, an attorney in private practice – was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday. If the U.S. Senate approves all three nominees, the Federal Circuit would have its full complement of 12 active judges.
The 26-year-old husband of Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes is to run for Congress, it was revealed today.
Sean Eldridge, a Democrat activist who heads an investment firm, filed the papers on Tuesday to challenge the Republican seat in New York’s Hudson Valley.
The district is currently held by Representative Chris Gibson – a two-term Republican and decorated war hero.
Gibson was re-elected at the November elections winning 53 per cent of the vote.
Eldridge and Hughes, who has a fortune of an estimated $500million, have positioned themselves as something of a gay power couple since tying the knot last year.
Facebook co-founder, Mr Hughes, 28, married Mr Eldridge, then 25, last July at the couple’s $5 million estate in Garrison, New York. The wedding was attended by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his new wife Priscilla Chan.
Along with Mr Zuckerberg, whose presence was leaked by insiders, guests including Ivanka Trump, Arianna Huffington and Senator Chuck Schumer partied into the night.
Mr Hughes, who bought a majority stake in The New Republic last April appointing himself publisher and editor-in-chief, and his new husband, have emerged as a significant force in New York’s political circles.
The pair are keen fund-raisers for progressive issues including gay rights and have held several events at the $5 million 4,000-square-foot loft they own in Crosby Street in SoHo.
Last year, the young men hosted a reception for New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, attending by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who, according to Twitter, was getting down to ‘All The Single Ladies’ by Beyoncé at their wedding.
‘In a short period of time, Sean and Chris have had a big impact on the political life of New York,’ Richard Socarides, a Democratic political strategist and former White House aide during the Clinton administration, previously told The Times.
from The Daily Mail
Facebook Co-Founder Weds
Fun Fact — Tennessee State Senator Stacey Campfield (R-Knoxville) personally responds to emails from his constituents … how cool is that?
Not So Fun Fact — If he doesn’t like what you say, he’ll tell you you’re a mental case.
Backstory — Sen. Campfield has been cloaked in controversy ever since he reintroduced the “Classroom Protection Act” to the Tennessee General Assembly this week … also known as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.
The bill forbids teachers from discussing anything gay-related from kindergarten through 8th grade … even banning the word “gay” itself from classroom discussion. The bill also has a provision requiring teachers to out potentially gay students to their parents.
Sen. Campfield has been receiving all sorts of letters criticizing his support for the bill … including an email from one concerned Tennessean who wrote:
“I am appalled at your thought of [the bill] and how it will protect children. I [used] to be proud to call Tennessee my home but after this I am not so sure. Your mind set is pathetic as well as this bill. I encourage you to change your mind or you will make a bunch of people very upset. Imagine, if you have kids and one was gay, how this bill would affect them and you.”
To the citizen’s surprise, he got an email back a short time later from the Senator himself saying:
“You seem to have some serious, deep anger issues. Have you ever thought about therapy? I hear they are doing some wonderful things with medications these days.
Yours in service,
Sen. Stacey Campfield
Sent from my iPad”
We called the Senator for comment … who confirmed he sent the email and explained that he just doesn’t have patience for people who write aggressive letters toward him.
“When somebody gets into insulting or cussing or something along those lines, it breaks down communication and is not respectful,” the Senator told us.
“I’m not here to be their piñata.”
Still, Campfield says he’s willing to give the concerned citizen another shot at an open dialogue regarding the bill … if the citizen promises to control his “anger issues.”
‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill Advances In The House
‘Don’t Say Gay’ Senator Stacey Campfield Gets No Service At Tennessee Restaurant
Senator Stacey Campfield On Gays Fucking Monkeys
WASHINGTON – Gay rights advocates are renewing their push for President Barack Obama to sign an executive order banning federal contractors from discriminating against gay employees.
The drive comes as Obama included an unexpected declaration of support for gay rights in his inaugural address Monday, saying, “Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law, for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.”
Gay supporters hope his comments will lead to action on their agenda on behalf of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.
Obama had frustrated many of his supporters last year when he declined to issue an executive order that would protect workers at companies with government contracts from bias based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
At the time, activists believed the administration was making a political decision based on the looming election. White House officials said Obama was waiting for Congress to pass broader legislation that would prohibit all employers from discriminating against gay workers.
“Getting past an election always uncomplicates things,” said Fred Sainz, a spokesman for the Human Rights Campaign, a leading gay rights advocacy group. “We intend to pick up the issue once again and ask the president to do this.”
Current federal law bans discrimination on the basis of sex, race and national origin, but it doesn’t stop an employer from firing or refusing to hire a worker based on sexual orientation.
White House spokesman Shin Inouye said this week that the Obama administration is not ready “at this time” to issue an executive order banning federal contractors from discriminating against gays.
The push for Obama to act comes as legal recognition of gay rights has gradually expanded: Twenty-one states and the District of Columbia ban employment discrimination based on sexual orientation. Nine states and D.C. have legalized same-sex marriage.
Later this year, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in two cases that could further expand gay marriage rights. Gay rights groups are hoping the administration files briefs in the case to argue that gay marriage is protected by the Constitution. Obama has so far insisted gay marriage is a state issue, and White House spokesman Jay Carney reaffirmed that stance Tuesday in response to questions about the president’s inaugural speech.
Gay supporters have been a loyal constituency for Obama, helping him raise millions for his re-election campaign. And they have been grateful for the president’s first-term decisions to back same-sex marriage and repeal the military’s “don’t ask don’t tell” policy, allowing gay soldiers to serve openly for the first time.
But job discrimination remains one of the last barriers for gay workers, and activists say it’s unrealistic to expect Congress – with a Republican-controlled House – to revise discrimination laws anytime soon. Those efforts have failed to make headway in Congress for more than a decade.
In the meantime, an executive order banning discrimination by federal contractors would affect more than 20 percent of the workforce – about 16 million workers. And some advocates believe an executive order could provide the spark that gets Congress to act.
“There’s clear research that shows LGBT people face high rates of discrimination in the workplace, and we need to pursue every possible policy solution to that problem,” said Jeff Krehely, vice president of LGBT research at the liberal-leaning Center for American Progress.
Randel Johnson, vice president at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for labor issues, said business owners might have some concerns with an executive order, depending on how it was drafted, with new paperwork and enforcement requirements.
“Executive orders are often enforced through the severe sanction of debarment from federal contracts, so they must be carefully and narrowly structured,” Johnson said.
Otherwise, the Chamber has taken no official position on congressional efforts to pass broader legislation prohibiting discrimination against gay workers.
Many Fortune 500 companies already include bans on discrimination based on sexual orientation in their workplace, and many others include gender identity, according to the Human Rights Campaign.
Rea Carey, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, welcomed Obama’s inaugural remarks, calling him “the most pro-LGBT president in American history.” But she said it’s also time for the president “to finish the job of ensuring that every American gets a fair shake.”
Her group’s agenda includes an executive order covering anti-gay discrimination by federal contractors, passage of broader federal legislation covering all employers and repeal of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
from The Associated Press
WASHINGTON – President Obama on Monday became the first president to use the word “gay” as a reference to sexual orientation in an inaugural address, declaring the movement for equality to be part of the pantheon of America’s great civil rights struggles.
“Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law,” the president said. “For if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal, as well.”
Obama also made another reference in the speech to gay equality. He placed the 1969 riot protesting a police raid on a Greenwich Village gay bar, the Stonewall Inn, as a signature event in the civil rights movement — and ranked it with historical turning points in the battles for women’s and racial equality.
“We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths — that all of us are created equal — is the star that guides us still, just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls and Selma and Stonewall,” Obama said.
Seneca Falls referred to an 1848 convention of female activists in an Upstate New York hamlet that produced one of the first declarations of the then-radical proposition that women should be equal to men.
The March 7, 1965 Selma, Ala., march was organized to advocate for African American voting rights and to protest the killing of a young black man by a state trooper. It would become known as Bloody Sunday for the violence that was inflicted on marchers by police at the Edmund Pettus Bridge, stirring national outrage.
By mentioning Stonewall with Seneca Falls and Selma, “it closely associates it with other freedom struggles that have great legitimacy,” said John D’Emilio, a University of Illinois at Chicago professor who has written extensively about Stonewall. “Think of it: Here is a group of people who in the president’s lifetime had been reviled.”
Gay rights advocates were jubilant.
Obama “made history today by connecting the lives of committed and loving lesbian and gay couples fighting for marriage equality to this nation’s proud tradition of equal rights for all,” said Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, a leading organization advocating on behalf of gay men, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people.
In San Francisco, the epicenter of gay activism, Kate Kendell, executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, was watching the inaugural address with a diverse group of about 70 friends.
“Everyone was moved and felt this very strong sense of the privilege of watching amazing history being made,” she said in an interview. “We all had this sense of the privilege it is to be witnesses to a liberation moment.”
Adding to the resonance of Obama’s words was the fact that his second inauguration occurred on the national holiday celebrating the birth of the slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. The president was sworn in using Bibles that had belonged to King and Abraham Lincoln.
The timing of his comments was also significant. In March, the Supreme Court will take up two major cases involving state and federal efforts to preserve the traditional definition of marriage as limited to heterosexual couples. The court was seated nearby as Obama delivered his address.
The moment also marked the continuation of a progression in Obama’s own views and the intensity of his advocacy of gay rights.
When he was elected in 2008, he was opposed to same-sex marriage. Two years later, he said his position on the issue was “constantly evolving.” And in May, he became the first U.S. president to embrace the concept that same-sex couples should be allowed to wed.
In 2011, he lifted the ban on gays serving openly in the military. His administration has also refused to defend the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, a federal law that defines marriage solely as a union between a man and a woman.
Early in his administration, some gay rights advocates expressed frustration at what they saw as tepid support for their agenda. Columnist Andrew Sullivan observed acidly that the president had been seized by the “fierce urgency of whenever” — a jab mocking Obama’s frequent invocation of a favorite King quote that described the “fierce urgency of now.”
But after Obama’s turnaround on gay marriage last year, Sullivan wrote a Newsweek cover story that depicted the president with a rainbow-hued halo. It was headlined: “The First Gay President.”
Kendell said Obama has proved to be “an ally of the first order, and the sort of ally we have never had in the White House, and who we need if we are going to finish the job.”
“For any civil rights movement to succeed,” she added, “you need individuals who have access to power and who are willing to risk their power and their access and their political capital for you.”
from The Washington Post
When New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey stepped down from office in 2004 in a gay sex scandal, he became another disgraced politician brought down by his own actions.
Since then, the former Democratic governor, now 55, has tried to step out of the spotlight after a messy divorce from his second wife by swapping politics for volunteer work with jailed women.
Filmmaker Alexandra Pelosi, daughter of U.S. House of Representatives Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, chronicled McGreevey and his new life in “Fall to Grace” an HBO documentary that premiered on Friday at the Sundance Film Festival.
“I was intrigued by the caricature that I saw in the tabloids, because Jim McGreevey is a tabloid fixture in New York. They’re obsessed with everything he does, and I was intrigued by the way they hunted him, like an animal,” Pelosi told Reuters on Friday.
“They wouldn’t let him move on … everyone writes him off because of some mistake he made before,” she added.
Pelosi, 42, followed McGreevey with a handheld camera as he visited women in jail and counseled them after their release, helping them to rehabilitate their lives.
McGreevey, who was elected New Jersey governor in 2001, said he had “constructed a life” for himself while living as a closeted gay man during his political career. Since his resignation, he said he had found new strength in religion, and attended seminary school for three years.
“My life is to highlight the need for more compassion and for a different way in which we treat incarceration of women. Being behind the bars with these women is a great blessing, and I can be a voice for them,” McGreevey said on Friday.
Pelosi said she was drawn to “broken men” and their stories, and chose to profile McGreevey because he had turned around his life.
“He went into public service because he wanted to help people, then he got wrapped up in the ego and hubris and himself. And ironically, he didn’t help people until he fell and realized he was broken. Ironically, he’s helping people now,” she said.
In 2004, McGreevey admitted an affair with a male staffer from Israel on his security team and came out as gay.
Eight years later, Wisconsin voters sent Tammy Baldwin to Washington as the first openly gay U.S. senator.
“Times have changed. Gay in 2004 is a lot different to gay in 2012. … You can be gay and be in politics now, but I don’t think in 2004 it was that kind of environment,” Pelosi said.
Pelosi was joined by her mother and father at the festival premiere. Nancy Pelosi said she was proud of her daughter’s effort to capture McGreevey’s story.
“This is not just a story about how a politician has fallen from grace, it’s a personal momentum to make a difference in our country and the lives of the American people. He’s used his power and commitment to make a difference in individual people’s lives,” she said.
McGreevey said he had put priesthood in the Episcopal Church aside for the moment in order to dedicate himself to his new cause.
“I’m a broken person and many of us are broken. … I don’t always make the right decisions. I have failed, but that’s everyone. Women in jail are also deserving of the same transformation and same redemption,” he said.
“Fall To Grace” will air in March on HBO.