Log Cabin nixes Bush, others endorse Kerry
The Log Cabin Republicans voted not to endorse the reelection of President George W. Bush in September. The following day, several of the most prominent openly gay Republican elected officials, current and past, declared their support for Sen. John Kerry.
LCR was founded in 1993 but a predecessor federation of local chapters declined to endorse the first President Bush in 1992. He failed to be reelected. Its bylaws preclude Log Cabin from endorsing any candidate other than the Republican nominee.
“Certain moments in history require that a belief in fairness and equality not be sacrificed in the name of partisan politics; this is one of those moments,” said Patrick Guerriero, executive director of LCR. The decision not to endorse “empowers Log Cabin to maintain its integrity while furthering our goal of building a more inclusive Republican Party.”
Election a sweeping loss for gays
With George Bush elected to the presidency, the outcome of the presidential race (and what it might mean for the Supreme Court) was not all gays had to be concerned with in the wake of the Nov. 2 election. The Republican party’s retention of control in the U.S. Senate is a greater loss for the gay community than even the numbers show.
Republicans will enter the next legislative session with a 55-seat majority, up four seats over the current 51 seats. Democrats will retain only 44 seats, down five. Independent Sen. James Jeffords of Vermont was not up for re-election this year.
What is especially troubling for gay interests in the Senate next year is the loss of three held by senators whose voting records on gay issues earned them a perfect score of 100 from the Human Rights Campaign. The most painful of these is Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle’s loss to Republican U.S. Rep. John Thune in South Dakota. The other two include John Breaux, who retired from his seat representing Louisiana with a 100 rating from HRC and John Edwards, who gave up his seat from North Carolina to run as Kerry’s Democratic vice presidential nominee.
Eleven anti-gay marriage amendments pass
Michigan was one of 11 states with anti-gay marriage amendments on the November ballot, and the measures passed in all of them – often with overwhelming majorities. The closest race was in Oregon, where the final tally was 57-43 percent. Michigan was the only other state to capture 40 percent or more of the no vote. On the other end of the spectrum, the Mississippi initiative passed by a margin of 86-14 and in Kentucky the vote was 75-25.
In Oregon, the status of over 3,000 married gay couples who wed in the state this spring is unclear after state voters approved a ban on equal marriage rights this past week. Oregon is the only state where the government had already approved marriages between same-sex couples, albeit temporarily. Since the couples were married, some companies took it upon themselves to extend benefits such as insurance coverage not previously available. The state amendment does not ban civil unions. It is unclear what the passage of Measure 36 means for the current lawsuit in the Oregon Supreme Court, in which nine gay couples claim that preventing them from marrying is unconstitutional.
Senate flat-funds Ryan White CARE Act
The Senate Appropriations Committee voted not to increase funding for most of the programs in the Ryan White CARE Act – with the exception of the Aids Drug Assistance Program. However, ADAP, which provides HIV-related prescription drugs to those without access to basic HIV treatment, was increased by only $35 million – far short of the $217 million needed to support the program. The committee also approved only flat funding for the prevention programs at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Despite the insufficient funding levels for these programs, the appropriations committee increased funding for abstinence-only programs by $36.5 million.
The Ryan White CARE Act is the largest single source of public funds (excluding Medicaid) that treats people with HIV/AIDS in the U.S. Since 1990, the Act supports services including primary and home health care, case management, substance abuse treatment and mental health services, and nutritional and housing services.
Conservatives vow lengthy boycott of Proctor & Gamble over gay rights
Two powerful conservative groups in Cincinnati hope to extend indefinitely an election-related boycott of Procter & Gamble Co., contending that the consumer products giant is too supportive of gay rights and urging customers to stop buying Crest, Tide and Pampers. According to the American Family Association, more than 287,000 people have signed onto the boycott since the AFA and Focus on the Family announced the campaign mid-September.
The boycott was sparked by P&G’s support of a campaign in its home city of Cincinnati for a ballot measure to repeal Article 12, a 1993 city charter amendment prohibiting gay-rights laws. A P&G executive had taken leave to run the repeal campaign, and the company – according to spokesman Doug Shelton – has donated $40,000 to the effort. Article 12 was repealed Nov 2.
A boycott Web site run by the AFA asserts that P&G “supports homosexual marriage.” However, Shelton said the company has never made such an endorsement, nor has it taken any position on a statewide ballot measure in Ohio that would ban marriage, civil unions, and domestic partnerships for same-sex couples.
Cheryl Jacques leaves HRC
Amid claims that she was fired, HRC announced in early December that its president for less than a year, Cheryl Jacques, was stepping down.
“Cheryl has achieved a great deal as HRC president,” said Gwen Baba, a co-chair of HRC’s board of directors via a press release posted on their official website. “We will miss her professionalism, but we understand her desire to move on to other challenges.”
Despite the fact that the release indicates Jacques had resigned, according to PlanetOut, HRC, through a spokesman, did not deny that Jacques had been let go. The official release does state that Jacques cited “a difference in management philosophy” as her reason for resigning.