Gay candidates and causes lead landmark election
Late last week, a gay Republican staffer in Wisconsin claimed to be the victim of a hate crime over his conservative political leanings. Kyle Wood, a campaign volunteer with Wisconsin GOP U.S. House candidate Chad Lee, shared his story of an apparent hate crime with conservative news outlet The Daily Caller:
“I was getting ready for work and there was a knock at the door,” Wood emailed The Daily Caller late Wednesday. “I opened it, and a guy wrapped a ligature around my neck, slammed my head into the doorway, and smashed my face into a mirror, telling me ‘You should have kept your [f*******] mouth shut.’”
“He then kidney-punched me, while at the same time saying I was ‘warned,’ and continued to beat me,” he added.
From the chance to elect the nation’s first openly gay U.S. senator to the nation’s first state referendum to pro-actively legalize same-sex marriage, Nov. 6 could prove historic for LGBT equality.
Here are 10 key contests to watch around the country on Election Day.
From Congress to marriage equality, much at stake on Election Day
Brighter than the “super moon” that was out on the same night, Atlanta’s LGBT community shined in record numbers at Atlanta Human Rights Campaign Gala at the Hyatt Regency Saturday evening. In keeping with this year’s theme of “25 Years of Fighting for Equality,” activists from the past and present were honored.
The event raises money for the Human Rights Campaign’s national fight for LGBT rights. It began with a rousing performance by Grammy nominee Frenchie Davis. She was followed by an uplifting video montage showing just how far the LGBT community has come since the first Atlanta HRC Dinner was held 25 years ago. The crowd of over 1,100 roared with approval when hometown hero U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) was shown in the clip.
“I’m moved that the people appreciate what I’ve tried to do over the years. I feel so blessed,” Lewis told GA Voice, asked how it felt to hear the room erupt into such applause at the mere mention of his name.
Gala dinner, silent auction set for May 5 at Hyatt Regency Atlanta
Actor Sean Hayes, who played way-gay Jack McFarland on the groundbreaking sitcom "Will & Grace," will be honored at the Atlanta HRC Dinner, set for May 5 at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta.
Hayes, currently starring in "The Three Stooges," joins U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), the first openly gay person elected to Congress, to add star power to the line-up for the 25th Atlanta Dinner. He will receive the HRC Visibility Award at the event.
"This award is given to an LBGT member of our community who brings positive and wide-spread visibility to our cause. These attributes align with HRC’s mission of creating a country that inspires and engages all Americans to work toward ending discrimination against LGBT citizens and realizing a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all," organizers said in a press release tonight announcing Hayes' appearance.
In an interview with the New York Times, Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.) answers questions on a wide range of topics, including gay marriage and President Barack Obama's "evolving" views on it.
"Look, he is moving in the right direction on this issue. He’s been crucial in equality efforts like the repeal of 'Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell' and signing the Matthew Shepard hate crimes prevention act," she said.
The Human Rights Campaign has announced its keynote speaker for the upcoming HRC Atlanta Dinner and Awards Gala.
U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wi.), who represents the state's 2nd Congressional District, will be the dinner's featured keynote speaker. Baldwin, a candidate for one of Wisconsin’s U.S. Senate seats, is the founder and co-chair of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus and one of only four openly gay members to serve in the U.S. Congress. She was the first person to be openly gay when elected to Congress (others had come out while in office) and if successful in her current campaign, would be the first openly gay U.S. senator.
The HRC says of Baldwin:
Significant events are crowding the national calendar for 2012, and each promises considerable drama and suspense for the LGBT community. Here are the 10 most important to watch:
1. The fight for the White House
The difference for LGBT people between having President Barack Obama in the White House and President George W. Bush has been stark. So the consequences of November’s presidential election will also be profound.
Either Obama stays, and things continue to improve, in law and in society’s attitudes, or a new president is elected from a field of Republicans who seem, at times, to be vying for the mantle of most gay hostile candidate.
Openly gay U.S. Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) announced today that he would not seek reelection in 2012 after more than 30 years in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Frank, perhaps the country's most prominent gay politician, was instrumental in advocating pro-LGBT legislation in Congress during his tenure and led financial reforms efforts after the economic collapse of 2008 as the chairman of the Financial Services Committee.
Multiple reports suggest that Frank's decision to retire from Congress was based partly on the new layout of his current congressional district.