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04/19/2007


150 Game Changing Wins that Made 2012 the Gayest Year Ever

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A remarkably short four decades ago, the Stonewall Revolt of 1969 opened the flood gates for LGBT rights. The closet, so sturdy for so long, started being swept away in a rush of pride. Still, LGBT Americans lived in a culture of "tolerance," a popular euphemism for enduring.

There have been momentous years since then — both Barney Frank's 1987 coming out and the 2003 Supreme Court ruling overturning anti-sodomy laws come to mind — but when we look back in twenty years time or ten or even five, 2012 will be remembered as quantum leap for LGBT rights in the United States of America. It's the year that equality went from being a far-off dream to becoming an inevitable, immutable and irreversible reality. Even Newt Gingrich agrees!

This was the year of equality, the year the American dream came into sharper focus and the nation crossed from begrudgingly tolerating gays, and sometimes even acknowledging their relationships, to demanding our inclusion in the greater American family. Coming out is for the large part no longer a big deal, which is a big deal in and of itself.

There have never been as many out and proud elected officials; never before has Wall Street embraced us with such force; never before have so many conservatives admitted they need to shift gears on marriage equality and embrace change. This was a year of "never before" and "never again."

AFTER THE JUMP, 150 reasons why 2012 was a year of permanence for LGBT Americans, a year that the next wave of rights began its swoop across the purple mountain majesty and above the fruited plain.

And for more of our 2012 Year in Review, be sure to read "I'm Gay: 50 Most Powerful Comings Outs of 2012" HERE.

Continue reading "150 Game Changing Wins that Made 2012 the Gayest Year Ever" »


Obama Considering Gay Import-Export Bank Chair Fred Hochberg for Commerce Secretary: Report

Fred Hochberg, the chair of the Import-Export Bank is under consideration for Commerce Secretary, an administration source tells the Washington Blade:

HochbergThe official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told the Washington Blade that Hochberg is under consideration for various positions within the administration, although commerce secretary is the role for which he’s seen as most fit.

“What I’ve been told is Fred very well regarded, he’s done a great job at the bank, and he’s one of the folks that they are looking at carefully for Commerce,” the official said.

But the official said Hochberg hasn’t been involved as of Monday in direct talks with the White House about the position, nor could the official offer any timeline for when the administration would make an announcement.

Hochberg would be the first openly-LGBT cabinet member if appointed. LGBT representation in Obama's cabinet was named as a top priority by the Human Rights Campaign shortly after Obama won reelection.


Executive Order on ENDA, LGBT Cabinet Member Among Requests HRC Has for President Obama

An executive order on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act "as soon as possible" is at the top of list of requests Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin has for President Obama now that the election is over, he indicated in phone calls with reporters, Buzzfeed's Chris Geidner reports:

Chad_griffinThe White House said in April said Obama was declining to sign the order “at this time, but, following the election, Griffin argues that Obama needs to sign it “as soon as possible."

Griffin said he doesn't know if it will happen before the end of the year, but added that he is pushing for that, saying, "Since my first conversations there, it’s something I’ve pushed for, I’ve urged, privately and publicly. We will continue to do that."

Chris Johnson at the Blade adds:

“We need to acknowledge that although we certainly made some gains in the Senate, and potentially some gains in the House, we are still short of having a vote for an inclusive ENDA in the House,” Griffin said. “We need to be realistic about that.”...

“It is my hope and belief that we can get an executive order out of this White House,” Griffin said. “It is something that should be done and we will continue to urge our newly re-elected president to do. That would not be the full solution, but it would be a step toward the end goal.”

HochbergAlso, Griffin would like to see the apppointment of an LGBT cabinet member, Geidner adds:

"We made historic progress with president Obama in terms of our openly LGBT appointments across the board," he said. "We now have the opportunity, and I hope this president and this White House will seize the opportunity to have the first openly LGBT Cabinet secretary, the first openly LGBT G-8 ambassador, and across the board with administrative appointments and judges as well."

Groups like HRC, the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund and others, as well as LGBT activists more broadly, have long been pushing for an out LGBT cabinet member, and the urging is likely to continue in earnest as Obama's makes changes for his second-term cabinet.

Among those out gay people whose names are raised most often by advocates for possible appointments are John Berry, the head of the Office of Personnel Management; Fred Hochberg (bottom photo), the head of the Export-Import Bank; and Mary Kay Henry, the head of the Service Employees International Union.

Also on everyone's mind is getting rid of DOMA, which may soon be addressed by the Supreme Court, but given the composition of Congress, has few chances at a legislative repeal.


White House Won't Rule Out Nomination of an Openly Gay Commerce Secretary as Position Opens Up

Last week, Obama nominated Commerce Secretary Gary Locke as U.S. Ambassador to China, and a couple openly gay candidates are in prime positions to fill the Cabinet role. LGBT advocates are hopeful, the Washington Blade reports:

Hochberg Fred Hochberg, who’s gay and director of the Export-Import Bank of the United States, has emerged at the top of the list of LGBT business experts who could fill the role of commerce secretary.

Hochberg, who has a background in business management and once served as deputy administrator of the Small Business Administration, was cited in 2009 as a contender for the position of commerce secretary when it was first open in the Obama administration.

Another name being floated is former Arizona GOP Congressman Jim Kolbe:

Kolbe An expert on trade, Kolbe left Congress and now works as a fellow at the German-Marshall Fund, where he has specialized in trans-Atlantic trade issues. 

[Justin] Nelson, [president of the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce] counted Kolbe as among those who could fit the bill for commerce secretary.

“He has a firm understanding of policy,” Nelson said. “Certainly having served on the board of Export-Import Bank, having served in Congress and his work on behalf of the business and the LGBT community would make him another excellent choice.”

The President's choice would be historic, as an openly LGBT person has never filled a cabinet position.

Shin Inouye, a White House spokesperson, wouldn’t rule out that the president would nominate an openly LGBT person as commerce secretary.

“The president will consider a range of qualified candidates, but we are at a very early stage in the process and no decisions have been made,” Inouye said.

 


Don't Ask, Don't Tell Update: Big Round-up of News, Quotes, and Clips

Dadt

 roadFOX News Military analyst Colonel David Hunt calls "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" an "abject failure" and Fox & Friends joins the chorus of those calling for the repeal, calling McCain "just wrong" on his position.

 roadFred Hochberg, head of the U.S. Import-Export Bank chimes in on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" during an interview with ABC News, saying "[Mullen] understands that this is a cultural change in the military... It is moving. It is moving as rapidly as it can."

Watch both clips, AFTER THE JUMP...

 roadGillibrand The Advocate's Kerry Eleveld says that Kirsten Gillibrand's proposal to cut off funding related to military procedures surrounding DADT is being met with caution by advocacy organizations in Washington, like SLDN, saying it might disrupt the process underway in the Senate Armed Services Committee. Said Aburey Sarvis of SLDN: "It's helpful to talk about cutting funding for ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ discharges, but we must be strategic about when such a move would be made and now is premature."

 roadThe Military Times has published the results of a "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" survey. The paper reports: "An exclusive survey of some 3,000 active-duty troops shows such opposition has fallen sharply from nearly two-thirds (65 percent) in 2004 to about half (51 percent) today."

 roadThe Palm Center is planning a summit on DADT that will highlight the experiences of other nations that allow gays and lesbians to serve openly in the armed forces.

 roadReed Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) was asked about DADT on Bloomberg's Political Capital over the weekend. He said that the process could stretch into next year. Said Reed: ""I thought the secretary and chairman were both appropriately supportive of the policy change. But also recognizing that there has to be not only a decision but also an implementation plan. I would hope that we're talking about within this year or next year."

 roadRich NYT columnist Frank Rich's Sunday column focused on the silence of the right on DADT following Joint Chiefs Chair Mike Mullen's testimony last week: "It’s in this political context that we can see that there may have been some method to Obama’s troublesome tardiness on gay issues after all. But as we learned about this White House and the Democratic Congress in the health care debacle, they are perfectly capable of dropping the ball at any moment. Let’s hope they don’t this time. Should they actually press forward on “don’t ask” in an election year with Mullen and Gates on board — and with even McCain’s buddy, Joe Lieberman, calling for action “as soon as possible” — they could further the goal and raise the political price for those who stand in the way. "

Watch FOX News and Hochberg clips, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Don't Ask, Don't Tell Update: Big Round-up of News, Quotes, and Clips" »


At Least 8 Out Gays Among 338 Guests at White House State Dinner

Statedinner

Last night, Obama held his first state dinner for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India and his wife, Gursharan Kaur.

NYT: "Mr. Obama greeted his guests in Hindi and hailed the contributions of Mohandas K. Gandhi and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., saying that such “giants” are “the reason why both of us can stand here tonight.” Mr. Singh responded, “Your journey to the White House has captured the imaginations of millions and millions of Indians.” The evening was a potent mix of politics, diplomacy and glamour, with the administration’s favored donors mingling with lawmakers from Congress, cabinet secretaries, Indian dignitaries and Hollywood celebrities decked out in tuxedos and designer dresses. The first lady wore a golden sleeveless gown created by Naeem Khan, an Indian-American designer. For Mr. Obama, it was also a rare break from the bruising business of governance, allowing him to showcase his role as a world leader (and a gracious host) at a time when he is managing battles over health care legislation and wars in Afghanistan and Iraq — all while watching his standing falling in the polls."

Among the gays and lesbians attending the dinner were U.S. Export-Import Bank Chair Fred Hochberg and partner Thomas Healy, activist and author Urvashi Vaid and comedian Kate Clinton, Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes and partner Sean Eldridge, and David Geffen and partner Jeremy Lingvall.

Here's the full guest list.

AC360's report on the event, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "At Least 8 Out Gays Among 338 Guests at White House State Dinner" »


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