Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington, DC
P.O. Box 75265, Washington, DC 20013
Revised October 21, 2010
Contact: Rick Rosendall, Vice President for Political Affairs
Catania, Graham, Mendelson
Get Perfect +10 Ratings from GLAA
Gray, Cheh, Wells close behind at +8.5
Gay and gay-supportive officeholders topped the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington, D.C. (GLAA) candidate ratings for the November 2 general election. At-Large Independent Councilmember David Catania, At-Large Democratic Councilmember Phil Mendelson, and Ward 1 Democratic Councilmember Jim Graham all earned perfect scores of +10. Council Chairman Vincent Gray, running for Mayor, earned +8.5. Ward 3 Democratic Councilmember Mary Cheh, who submitted a revised questionnaire, increased to +8.5 from the primary. Ward 6 Democratic Councilmember Tommy Wells earned +8.5. Ward 1 Republican challenger Marc Morgan, who submitted a revised questionnaire and information about his LGBT-related record, increased to +6.5. Ward 5 Democratic Councilmember Harry Thomas Jr. earned +6.
The following are explanations of the individual ratings.
Democrat and Council Chairman Vincent Gray earned +8.5. His strong score reflects his agreement with GLAA on all issues and his efforts in leading the Council in support of equal marriage rights, setting a tone and leading hesitant councilmembers by his example. Gray directed the solid legal work by the Counsel to the Council in support of marriage rights before the Board of Elections and Ethics (BOEE) and in court. He worked with Councilmember Jim Graham and other colleagues in 2007 to achieve a compromise on legislation to help adult businesses relocate after being displaced by the ballpark.
No other candidate for mayor returned a survey or has a known record on our issues.
Democratic At-Large Councilmember Kwame Brown earned +5.5 in his race for Chairman. Brown agrees with GLAA on nearly every issue, but offered limited substance in his questionnaire. He co-introduced the marriage equality bill and supported the marriage recognition bill before that; has marched with our community in response to hate crimes; and has a strong voting record in support of LGBT issues.
No other candidate for chairman returned a survey or has a known record on our issues.
Independent At-Large Councilmember David Catania also earned a perfect +10. He submitted the most extensive and detailed questionnaire in GLAA's nearly forty years of rating candidates, exceeding Phil Mendelson who set the prior record just two months ago with a similarly extensive effort. Catania's breadth of knowledge of the issues and support of LGBT people are second to none on the Council. Catania is especially knowledgeable on healthcare issues. As Chair of the Committee on Health, he aggressively worked to reform the HIV/AIDS Administration, now called the HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, STD, and TB Administration (HAHSTA). Prior to Catania's oversight, the agency was dysfunctional with corrupt management. HAHSTA is now working on multiple fronts to address the AIDS crisis. Catania created universal healthcare in the District, resolving numerous issues GLAA has dealt with for decades. He wrote the Religious Freedom and Marriage Equality Amendment Act and worked with the Council's Counsel to prepare testimony before the Board of Elections and Ethics and in Court.
Democratic At-Large Councilmember Phil Mendelson earned a perfect +10 reflecting his extensive efforts in advancing the rights of LGBT people. Phil is as great a champion as we have had on the Council. He not only steered the marriage equality law through the council and greatly improved it. He wrote the marriage recognition bill, the domestic partnership parentage bill, a variety of domestic partnership laws, and personally testified before the Board of Elections and Ethics opposing four different ballot measures that would have banned marriages by same-sex couples. He carefully removed every obstacle in the law that would hinder our ability to defend marriage equality in court. More than anyone, Phil is responsible for the passage of the marriage law, and our ability to preserve it. Mendelson is a rare thing in this town in that he's not all about himself. He set aside his personal ambitions to work on a quiet strategy that created dramatic advances in the rights of same-sex couples without seeking publicity or the credit that he richly deserved and earned.
Statehood-Green candidate David Schwartzman earned +6. Schwartzman is a thoughtful candidate who agrees with GLAA on every issue. He has a record of activism on the medical marijuana initiative and or human rights issues.
Independent Richard Urban earned -3.5, the lowest score of any candidate this year. Urban has made explicitly anti-gay issues central to his campaign. He ranted before the Board of Elections and Ethics about the immorality of gay people and why we should be stripped of the fundamental right to marry. He started an organization to teach abstinence-only-until-marriage to our students with public funding. Once abstinence-only education was exposed as a fraud and funding was eliminated, Urban began a crusade to get his program restored. We are somewhat amused that he is apparently too extreme for the reactionary National Organization for Marriage to support.
Ward 1 Council
Democratic Councilmember Jim Graham earned a perfect +10. Graham has been a strong fighter for our rights and our community's health for decades. GLAA has found him to be pragmatic and constructive. Graham excelled in helping gay businesses displaced by the baseball stadium — especially those offering nude dancing — to relocate. The legislation took considerable skill in negotiation and building support across the Council. The legislation is not the sort of thing that most politicians seek out, but we are especially grateful for the difficult work that Graham handled so deftly. Graham also led the effort to expand and advance the rights of transgender people in the District. In adding gender identity and expression to both the Human Rights Act and the Bias Crimes Act, Jim modernized and advanced D.C.'s civil rights laws, which remain models for the country. Graham was an early and outspoken supporter of marriage equality and worked with us to ensure a resounding victory.
Statehood-Green candidate Nancy Shia, who won the nomination on a write-in vote, earned a +7.5. She agrees with GLAA on the issues, and provided a good deal of substance in her questionnaire. We were impressed with her record of personal involvement in a number of our issues, including support for marriage equality; support for the Medical Marijuana Treatment Initiative; observing, photographing and challenging police abuses; and training activists on how to defend themselves against overly aggressive or illegal law enforcement tactics.
Republican Marc Morgan earned +6.5. He submitted a revised and expanded questionnaire and documented his record. Morgan agrees with GLAA on the issues and demonstrated a reasonable understanding of them. His employment as a fundraiser for Equality Ohio to defeat Issue 1; Arizona Together in the No on 102 campaign; and the National Minority AIDS Council are all very admirable. However, his support for the campaigns of anti-gay politicians John Boehner, Robert Ehrlich, and Laura Knapereck detracts from his record.
Ward 3 Council
Democratic Councilmember Mary Cheh earned +8.5 on a revised and expanded questionnaire. She has been a strong advocate for LGBT rights, civil liberties, and marriage equality. She strongly opposed the appointment of Attorney General Peter Nickles, after he stated that he would not represent the people of the District, but instead only the Mayor. She strongly argued against the administrations' efforts to strip transgender people of their rights. She spoke against Councilmember Yvette Alexander's unsuccessful amendment to allow broad discrimination against LGBT people, and she pushed PEPCO to adopt domestic partner benefits.
No other candidate for Ward 3 Council returned a survey or has a known record on our issues.
Ward 5 Council
Democratic Councilmember Harry “Tommy” Thomas, Jr. earned +6. While he agrees with us on most issues, he opposed us on the club relocation bill, which let loose some very ugly anti-gay emotions from his constituents. However, he went out of his way to take a risk in supporting marriage equality. More than any other councilmember, Thomas risked his political future to do what he thought was right.
Independent Kathy Henderson earned +2. Her questionnaire was mostly supportive of the issues, but showed little understanding of them. She worked on publicizing the LGBT Citizen Summit, which GLAA criticized at the time but we give her credit for her work. However, her campaigning against adult entertainment and against allowing the nude dancing clubs displaced by the ballpark to relocate detracts from her record.
Republican Tim Day earned +1.5. His questionnaire failed to show either a strong support of the issues or an understanding of them. He has no known record on LGBT issues.
Ward 6 Council
Democratic councilmember Tommy Wells earned +8.5. Wells is a consistent leader on our issues. He agrees with us on the issues and has a clear understanding of their complexities. He was very helpful on marriage equality, and a leader opposing vouchers, which largely fund religious schools outside of the protections of the Human Rights Act.
Republican Jim DeMartino earned -0.5 He did not return a questionnaire. After viewing a video of the Ward 6 forum, where he stated his opposition to marriage equality, GLAA adjusted his rating down a half point.
GLAA rates candidates on a scale of -10 to +10, based on their answers to our questionnaire and their record on behalf of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community. The questionnaire addresses a variety of issues on marriage and family, public health, public safety, human rights, youth, and protection for LGBT consumers and businesses. GLAA's policy brief, questionnaire, and complete candidate responses are available online at www.glaa.org.
All candidates were provided with a copy of “Agenda: 2010,” GLAA’s policy brief on LGBT issues in Washington, D.C.
Ratings should not be interpreted as endorsements. GLAA does not endorse candidates in partisan elections.
GLAA has rated candidates for office in every D.C. primary and general election since 1971. Independent mayoral and council candidates will be rated prior to the general election.
The Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington, D.C., founded in 1971, is a local, all-volunteer, non-partisan, non-profit political organization devoted to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights in Washington, DC. We are the nation's oldest continuously active GLBT civil rights organization.
To see the full text of a candidate's questionnaire responses, click on his or her name below.
At-Large DC Councilmember (Vote for Two)
Ward 1 DC Councilmember
Ward 3 DC Councilmember
Ward 5 DC Councilmember
Ward 6 DC Councilmember
Note: Ratings marked with an asterisk (*) indicate a candidate who did not return a questionnaire
and was therefore rated solely on his or her known record on GLAA’s issues.
Breakdown of available ratings points
|Questionnaire: yes/no||+/- 2 points|
|Questionnaire: substantive grasp of issues||+/- 4 points|
|Record:||+/- 3 points|
|Championship: taking the lead on an issue|
of concern to gay men and lesbians
|+/- 1 point
|Total available:||+/- 10 points|
The Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington, DC is a local, all-volunteer, non-partisan, non-profit political organization, founded in 1971 to advance the equal rights of gay men and lesbians in Washington, DC. We are the nation’s oldest continuously active gay and lesbian civil rights organization.