Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington, DC
P.O. Box 75265, Washington, DC 20013
August 25, 2010
Contact: Rick Rosendall, Vice President for Political Affairs
Graham, Mendelson, Gray, Wells
Top GLAA's Primary Ratings
Gay-supportive officeholders topped the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington, D.C. (GLAA) candidate ratings for the September 14 primaries. Ward 1 Democratic Councilmember Jim Graham and At-Large Democratic Councilmember Phil Mendelson earned perfect scores of +10. Council Chairman Vincent Gray, running for Mayor, earned +8.5, well ahead of the man he is challenging in the Democratic primary, Mayor Adrian Fenty, who earned +4. Ward 6 Democratic Councilmember Tommy Wells earned +8.5. Ward 3 Democratic Councilmember Mary Cheh, unchallenged in the Democratic primary, earned a +7.5. Ward 5 Democratic Councilmember Harry Thomas Jr. earned +6, well ahead of his challengers.
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.
Democrat and incumbent Mayor Adrian Fenty earned +4. Fenty disagrees with GLAA on a number of issues, and his record is mixed. While his administration led the exceptional legal fight to keep and defend our marriage rights; they also spent nearly two years obstructing the Domestic Partnership Judicial Determination of Parentage Act, which is now a model law protecting the rights and responsibilities of LGBT parents. We were struck by the numerous promises made four years ago that were promptly broken. GLAA was excluded from the selection process for the Chief of Police and the Director of the Office of Human Rights. Fenty has given short shrift to GLAA's concerns about Police Chief Cathy Lanier's disregard for civil liberties as demonstrated in her Neighborhood Safety Zone Initiative, which was ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Court of Appeals in 2009. The HIV/AIDS Administration made remarkable gains in the past year; but the administration tried to remove protections for transgender people, and has failed to enforce the non-discrimination laws that were passed. For nearly every positive step, we found a negative. Overall, Mr. Fenty has earned a positive rating.
We note that Mr. Gray and Mr. Fenty share some credit for designating the 1600 block of 17th Street NW as Frank Kameny Way. This honor is neither minor nor merely symbolic. It is a tribute to our community's greatest hero.
Democrat Leo Alexander earned -3. Alexander is running an explicitly anti-gay and anti-marriage-equality campaign. He has been endorsed by the anti-gay National Organization for Marriage (NOM) and received a total of $2,950 in campaign donations from their overlapping anti-equality organizations. He also received $200 from Phyllis Schlafly's Eagle Forum. He did not return a questionnaire.
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.
Democrat Vincent Orange earned +4.5. Orange is the most improved candidate in this election. For 8 years, Orange was the weakest member of the Council on GLAA's issues. He railed against us on the nude dancing night clubs. He ignored GLAA's concerns on domestic partner regulations and on the creation of the Office of GLBT Affairs. Four years ago he declared the other mayoral candidates morally unfit for office due to their support of marriage equality. He has also never before answered GLAA's questionnaire. He has apologized several times for those statements and has atoned. He led the effort for the Democratic State Committee to take a position for marriage equality, and he has spent considerable time at the D.C. Center learning about their issues and concerns. He stated agreement with GLAA on nearly every issue, and showed a reasonable understanding of the issues.
Democrat Dorothy Douglas, who currently serves on the Board of Education, earned +2. She agrees with GLAA on many issues but lacks a record and showed a poor grasp of substance in her questionnaire responses.
Democratic At-Large Councilmember Phil Mendelson earned a perfect +10 reflecting his extensive efforts in advancing the rights of LGBT people. Phil set the bar for the most extensive and detailed questionnaire demonstrating his in-depth knowledge of the issues and support of LGBT people in all areas. Phil is our greatest champion 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.
Democratic candidate Clark Ray earned +5.5. As Director of Parks and Recreation, he required departmental staff to take sensitivity training. He testified before the council hearing chaired by Phil Mendelson in favor of the marriage equality law. Ray's embrace of Rev. Willie Wilson troubles us, given Wilson's long and unrepentant record of vile homophobic and racist sermons and his action in blocking LGBT representation at the Millions More March. Ray agrees with GLAA on most issues, but his questionnaire does not demonstrate a solid understanding of the duties and function of the Council. His support for mandatory HIV testing in D.C. jails runs counter to the consensus of experts who have found mandatory approaches counterproductive, and ignores the highly effective voluntary testing program in the D.C. Department of Corrections which is touted as a national model by law enforcement, legal, and medical professionals.
Statehood-Green candidate Darryl Moch earned +5. Moch had a strong questionnaire agreeing with GLAA and demonstrating an understanding of the issues, but has no LGBT-related record that we are aware of.
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.
Democrat Bryan Weaver earned +5.5. Weaver agreed with GLAA on most issues and showed a reasonable understanding of the issues. He has been supportive of LGBT rights in his campaign, but does not have an extensive record. We appreciate the letters endorsing marriage equality to the Council and the Board of Elections and Ethics representing his ANC.
Republican Marc Morgan earned +3. He agrees with GLAA on the issues but offered no substance in his questionnaire. We found only a minimal record.
Ward 3 Council
Democratic Councilmember Mary Cheh earned +7.5. 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 spoke against Councilmember Yvette Alexander's unsuccessful amendment to allow broad discrimination against LGBT people, and she pushed PEPCO to adopt domestic partner benefits.
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.
Democrat Tracey D. Turner earned +2. His questionnaire was often non-responsive and failed to demonstrate a clear understanding of the issues. He has no known record on LGBT issues.
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.
Democrat Hunter Delano earned -2. He has been endorsed by NOM. He accepted $450 from them, and he attended the NOM bus tour rally at the Capitol. He did not return a questionnaire.
Ward 6 Council
Democratic councilmember Tommy Well 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.
Democrat Kelvin Robinson earned -1. He was endorsed by NOM when he first ran for the At-Large Council seat. He said at the time that he thought there should be a vote on our right to marry. He refused to say how he would vote. After switching to the Ward 6 race he has not been endorsed again by NOM. He still opposes marriage equality, having recently repeated his call to place same-sex marriage rights on the ballot. He did not return a questionnaire.
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
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.