A lesbian activist who works to help military families is among First Lady Michelle Obama’s invited guests for tonight's State of the Union Address. LGBT Americans will also be listening to hear if President Obama includes marriage equality or other gay issues in the speech, as he did in his inaugural address last month.
Tracey Hepner, the co-founder of Military Partners and Families Coalition, is the wife of the military's first-ever lesbian general, Tammy Smith.
From the White House description of Hepner, distributed today: Tracey is a co-founder of the Military Partners and Families Coalition (MPFC), which provides support, resources, education, and advocacy for LGBT military partners and their families. Outside of her work with MPFC, Tracey works full time for the Department of Homeland Security as a Master Behavior Detection Officer. She is married to the first openly gay or lesbian general officer in the military, Army Brigadier General Tammy Smith.
For the LGBT delegates representing Georgia and its congressional districts at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., this week has reignited their passion for the political process.
Seven members of the LGBT Caucus of the Democratic Party of Georgia are in attendance in Charlotte, according to Georgia Democrats, including LGBT Caucus Chair Jim Taflinger and Caucus Secretary Bob Gibeling.
Reese McCranie, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed's deputy director of communications, called the convention atmosphere “electrifying” in a telephone interview with GA Voice. McCranie is one of the seven delegates from Georgia's Fifth Congressional District.
The Democratic National Convention is underway in Charlotte. Democrats from across the country have gathered to officially nominate President Barack Obama and to drum up support before the fall election season gets underway.
First Lady Michelle Obama stole the show during her closing speech last night. She talked about her husband, the couples' history and continuing his vision ahead of the November election. There were some laughs but mostly a touching account of the couple before, during and after the last presidential election.
The first lady also recognized the ongoing struggle for marriage equality:
For women who love women and love to fantasize about smart, sexy, funny women who are also politically savvy and make your heart beat faster when you see their smile and are just amazed by these kinds of women and can't really say in a coherent way about how it makes you feel to see these women be themselves, here's a video clip that made me feel that way tonight.
President Barack Obama briefly mentioned gay soldiers in his third State of the Union address last night.
Sitting in attendance with First Lady Michelle Obama were Loreliei Kilker and Cononel Ginger Wallace, two out and proud lesbian women. Kilker was awarded a monetary settlement after an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission investigation found systemic sex discrimination at her previous employment. Wallace and her partner, Kathy Knoph, participated together in Wallace's recent promotion ceremony, the first promotion ceremony featuring a same-sex couple after the repeal of the military's “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” policy.
The president didn't mention either Kilker or Wallace in his address. His only mention of anything close to acknowledging the gay rights struggle came just four paragraphs from the end of his speech.
Which brings me back to where I began. Those of us who’ve been sent here to serve can learn from the service of our troops. When you put on that uniform, it doesn’t matter if you’re black or white; Asian or Latino; conservative or liberal; rich or poor; gay or straight. When you’re marching into battle, you look out for the person next to you, or the mission fails. When you’re in the thick of the fight, you rise or fall as one unit, serving one Nation, leaving no one behind.
Reaction to the speech was mixed among gay rights groups.