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Election Results: LGBT Leadership Orgs Need To Be Asking, “What Now?”

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Editor’s note: This is the first in a series today of articles titled, “Election Results.” Stay tuned.

Four of the LGBT community’s leadership organizations, The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, The Victory Fund, The Human Rights Campaign, and GetEQUAL issued the following statements in the wake of a massive Republican election win last night.

The question they, and we, need to be asking is, “What now?”

National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund

“While political winds and players may shift, the fundamental needs of the people do not. No matter who is in office, people need jobs, protection from discrimination, a roof over their heads, a way to feed their families, a fair shake. No one should settle for less — we won’t.”
— Rea Carey, Executive Director, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

WASHINGTON, Nov. 2 — The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force responded to the projected shift in the balance of power on Capitol Hill, with Republicans poised to regain control of the U.S. House.

Statement by Rea Carey, Executive Director, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

“We’ll cut to the chase: The shift in the balance of power will very likely slow advancement of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights legislation in Congress. Does this mean a blockade on LGBT rights? Not if we can help it. Fact is, our community has always had to fight — and fight hard — for equality. This is nothing new to us. But here’s another fact: There are Americans, from every part of the country, from every background, from every political leaning and of every faith, who support equality for LGBT people — and those numbers grow bigger every day.

“No matter what the political breakdown is in Washington, the Task Force will continue to identify and work with all fair-minded members of Congress who are willing to support and defend equality for LGBT people. Through our New Beginning Initiative, we will continue to push for the administration and its agencies to make tangible changes that benefit lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and our families — changes that can be done without Congress. We will continue working with local partners in communities across the country to secure equality. Bottom line: While political winds and players may shift, the fundamental needs of the people do not. No matter who is in office, people need jobs, protection from discrimination, a roof over their heads, a way to feed their families, a fair shake. No one should settle for less — we won’t.”

The Victory Fund

The Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund today announced that more openly LGBT candidates won election to public office in the U.S. in 2010 than in any year in America’s history.

Victory Fund President and CEO Chuck Wolfe issued the following statement about the group’s success:

“There is no sugar-coating the loss of so many of our straight allies in Congress, but we can be proud that our community continues to expand its voice at all levels of government in America. Out public officials are having a sizable impact on the local, state and national debates about LGBT equality.  Increasing their numbers is a vital part of a long-term strategy to change America’s politics and make our country freer and fairer for everyone.  We will continue to focus on training committed, qualified candidates, and we will work hard to get them elected to public office.”

Human Rights Campaign

The initial results of Election Day indicate new challenges as well as some opportunities ahead for moving forward on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality, said the Human Rights Campaign – the nation’s largest LGBT civil rights organization.  The loss of the House of Representatives to an anti-equality leadership, along with the loss of some fair-minded Senators, will certainly impede federal legislative efforts.  Perhaps most strikingly though, candidates who were the most vociferous opponents of LGBT equality did not fare well against fair-minded candidates.

“Social justice movements always experience steps forward and steps back and this election turned out to be a mix of both,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese.  “Even though we will face greater challenges in moving federal legislation forward, nothing will stop us from using every tool to advance LGBT equality at every level.  Attempts to hold back the tide of the equality movement will surely put anti-LGBT leaders on the wrong side of history.”

The loss of the House to anti-equality leaders is a serious blow to the LGBT community.  The presumptive leadership team of Reps. Boehner, Cantor and Pence all score zeros on the HRC scorecard and many soon-to-be committee chairs have long anti-LGBT records.  The past four years of Democratic leadership stopped anti-equality lawmakers from being able to move the most damaging legislation and amendments forward, however, the 110th and 111th Congresses did not hold pro-equality majorities on every issue.  The 112th Congress will prove even more challenging in rounding up the votes needed to advance pro-LGBT legislation.  A particular disappointment is the loss of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal champion Patrick Murphy in the U.S. House.

“We will be prepared to fight attempts to turn back the clock on equality as well as highlight how far this new leadership is outside the mainstream of public opinion,” said Solmonese.  “We need not look any further than their decade of House control that brought us attempts to pass a federal marriage amendment, strip courts of jurisdiction to hear LGBT rights claims, cut HIV/AIDS funding and vilify openly LGBT appointees.”

In assessing the impact of LGBT issues on the election, most races were primarily focused on economic woes creating a difficult environment for incumbents.  Polls show that LGBT issues were not decisive in these losses, and in fact, anti-LGBT candidates did not fare well – particularly the efforts of the National Organization for Marriage that poured millions of dollars into this election with only a mixed bag to show for it.  Their effort to unseat New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch was fruitless, as was their full throated support for Carly Fiorina and Meg Whitman in California, as well as Carl Paladino in New York.  Additionally, a record number of openly LGBT candidates won elections across the country including Rep.-elect David Cicilline as a new openly gay member of Congress.

“No doubt anti-equality forces will try to trumpet this election as a validation for their divisive politics, but nothing could be further from the truth,” said Solmonese.  “The victories of Mark Dayton over rabidly anti-gay Tom Emmer and Lincoln Chafee over NOM-endorsed John Robitaille clearly demonstrate voters choosing equality over extremism.”

The outlook in the states remains more hopeful for moving LGBT issues forward.  In New York voters chose marriage equality supporter Andrew Cuomo along several new state senators who support equal marriage.  In Minnesota, voters rejected Tom Emmer and instead chose Mark Dayton who has pledged to sign a same-sex marriage bill into law.  In other states like Maryland, Hawaii, Rhode Island and Colorado, the coming year may see additional opportunities to advance relationship recognition laws.

HRC committed significant resources to the 2010 elections including contributing more than $850,000 through HRC’s federal PAC to pro-equality Congressional candidates and political committees as well as contributing nearly $400,000 to support pro-equality state and local candidates.  HRC deployed 39 staff to 17 states to work for pro-equality candidates and mobilize HRC members.  The organization sent more than 3.3 million election-related action alert e-mails to HRC members and supporters, recruited more than 4,500 volunteers to support pro-equality candidates and made more than 85,000 phone calls to HRC members through staff in the field and weekly phone banks at HRC headquarters.

HRC endorsed 202 candidates for the U.S House of Representatives, 21 candidates for the U.S. Senate and 16 candidates for Governor.  Of the 164 races where a winner has been called, 80% of HRC endorsed candidates have won.

GetEQUAL’s Director Robin McGehee

Last night was hard to watch.

Though we have spent seven months insisting that Democrats make good on promises to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, they have continued to run from legislation such as DADT and ENDA that are supported by a vast majority of American voters. After choosing to remain in a political closet, rather than coming out and showing political courage that we can believe in, we hope that Democrats have learned the dangers of political cowardice.

Have no doubt, though — while Democrats are licking their wounds, we will continue our work over the next two months to push unrelentingly to end both military discrimination and employment discrimination.

Back in July, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid promised our community that he would fight to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” this year — even accepting Lt. Dan Choi’s West Point ring, promising to return it to him when this piece of legislation is repealed. And now is the time to push harder than we ever have before.

As we move away from Election Day and to the end of this Congressional session, it’s important that we tell Senator Reid that we expect him to make good on his promise to end DADT this year.

Harry Reid escaped a challenge for his seat last night, and must now turn his attention to scheduling votes for the lame-duck session — it’s down to the wire to end DADT once and for all, so we’ve got to keep up the pressure.

We’ll be reaching out to you later this week to let you know about some upcoming organizing opportunities across the country to continue applying pressure for repeal by taking to the streets. In the meantime, please pass this email around far and wide — we’ll deliver these signatures to Senator Reid in DC and let him know that we expect for him to get this done by the end of the year!

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Florida Christian School Warns Parents All LGBTQ Students ‘Will Be Asked to Leave Immediately’

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Citing the Book of Leviticus a Florida K-12 private Christian school is telling parents any student found to be LGBTQ will be asked to leave “immediately.”

NBC News reports it “obtained an email from the Grace Christian School in Valrico, about 20 miles east of Tampa, sent before the beginning of the school year by Administrator Barry McKeen.”

The school’s email lumps being LGBTQ, or engaging in acts including “bestiality, incest, fornication, adultery and pornography” as “lifestyles.”

“We believe that any form of homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexuality, transgender identity/lifestyle, self-identification, bestiality, incest, fornication, adultery and pornography are sinful in the sight of God and the church (Genesis 2:24; Leviticus 18:1-30; Romans 1:26-29; I Corinthians 5:1; I Corinthians 6:9; I Thessalonians 4:2-7),” the email reads. “Students who are found participating in these lifestyles will be asked to leave the school immediately,”

READ MORE: Authoritarian Orban at CPAC Texas Delivers Anti-LGBTQ Attack on Marriage to Standing Ovation: ‘Leave Our Kids Alone’

NBC News says the “June 6 correspondence to parents cited scripture and said that students will be referred to by the ‘gender on their birth certificates’ during the school year beginning this month. While the email refers to ‘biological gender,’ the National Institute of Health defines ‘gender’ as a social construct, as opposed to ‘sex,’ which is the biological difference between females and males.”

On its website Grace Christian says annual fees are up to $6595, plus items including books and other fees.

“It is our desire to provide the best Christian education and training for ALL children, for God is not a respecter of persons,” Grace Christian says. It calls “humanism, materialism, secularism, and New Age” philosophies “godless.”

The school’s website also says, “Students are only admitted when the administration believes that the parents and their church are in full support of the purposes and policies of the School. Expressions of dissention or lack of support for the School’s mission, policies, or leadership are grounds for dismissal of any students of a family in which such action occurs.”

“ALL STUDENTS are expected to abide by rules set forth by the administration. Attendance at Grace Christian School is considered a privilege and not a right. Students forfeit this privilege if they do not conform to the standards and ideals set forth by the administration. The school may insist on the withdrawal of any student that, in the opinion of the administration, does not conform to the spirit of the ministry.”

 

 

 

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Watch: McConnell Blasts GOP ‘Candidate Quality’ as He Admits Democrats Likely to Keep Senate

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Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell made a surprising admission Thursday: the GOP’s candidates running for Senate may not be good enough for Republicans to take control of the chamber he once led as Majority Leader.

“I think there’s probably a greater likelihood the House flips than the Senate,” McConnell responded when asked at a Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce luncheon about his projections for the upcoming November elections, as NBC News reported.

“Senate races are just different,” he explained. “Candidate quality has a lot to do with the outcome.”

READ MORE: Watch: MSNBC’s Chris Hayes Likens Mitch McConnell to Segregationists Like Strom Thurmond by Using His Own Words

“Right now, we have a 50-50 Senate and a 50-50 country, but I think when all is said and done this fall, we’re likely to have an extremely close Senate, either our side up slightly or their side up slightly,” McConnell added, wrongly.

The country is not 50-50.

According to a Gallup poll conducted over a three week period in July, 28% of Americans identify as Republican, 29% as Democratic, and 41% as independent.

Thanks in large part to Donald Trump, “candidate quality” is definitely a challenge for the GOP.

There are 35 Senate seats up for (re)election in November, 14 are held by Democrats and 21 by Republicans. Possibly sensing the headwinds five GOP Senators and just one Democratic Senator are not running for reelection and are retiring.

Among the Republican candidates running, several likely will held Democrats keep control of the chamber, including Mehmet Oz (Pennsylvania) and Herschel Walker (Georgia).

The GOP pulling cash out of races it may think its candidates cannot win.

“As midterm election campaigns heat up in the Senate’s top battlegrounds, the National Republican Senatorial Committee is canceling millions of dollars of ad spending, sending GOP campaigns and operatives into a panic and upending the committee’s initial spending plan,” Politico on Monday reported.

Meanwhile, FiveThirtyEight currently shows Democrats have a 64 in 100 chance of retaining the Senate, a number that’s been growing: On July 22 it was 50-50.

Watch Leader McConnell below or at this link:

 

 

 

 

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Herschel Walker Raked in Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars Giving Paid Speeches While a Candidate for Senate: Report

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Like nearly every candidate for elected office, entrepreneur and former NFL star Herschel Walker, the Republican Party’s nominee for a U.S. Senate seat from Georgia, has been giving speeches since he announced his run for office. Unlike nearly every candidate for public office, Walker has been charging for those speeches.

Not entrance fees for an audience to hear him speak, but actual speaking fees, paid by lobbying groups and even non-profits like a Boys & Girls Club in Georgia.

And he’s racked up big money doing it as a declared candidate for elected office.

The fees he says on his disclosure form he’s received range from $12,000 to $60,000.

After having served as a U.S. Senator and then as a U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton was flogged by Republicans for giving paid speeches after leaving the Obama administration, during the time she was a private citizen and far from declaring any intention to run for office.

READ MORE: Herschel Walker’s Remarks Against Same-Sex Marriage Resurface: ‘Each State Can Just Stop All of That’

But Walker is making money as a candidate for elected office, according to The Daily Beast’s Roger Sollenberg.

A lot of money.

“Herschel Walker—who has so far only agreed to participate in the one debate that provides topics in advance—has earned $569,000 in speaking fees since Jan. 2021,” Sollenberger reports, citing Walker’s financial disclosure.

“More than half” of that $569,000 “came after he launched his Senate campaign last August.”

That means Walker has raked in well over a quarter million dollars while a declared candidate for public office.

NCRM examined Walker’s annual SEC filing, dated August 15, 2022. It lists his declaration of candidacy for office as August 24, 2021.

READ MORE: ‘Pathological Liar’: Herschel Walker’s Own Advisors Don’t Trust Him, Think He Isn’t Mentally Fit for the Job – Report

In February of this year Walker was paid $60,000 by the University of North Texas for its Kuehne Speaker Series. Last year, before officially declaring as a candidate for office Walker was paid $35,000 by the All Sports Association, and $25,000 by the Boys & Girls Club of Gainesville, Georgia.

These payments and many others – 21 in total – are listed under the section titled “Honoraria Payments or Payments to Charity in Lieu of Honoraria.” The filing asks, “Did any individual or organization pay you or your spouse more than $200, or donate any amount to a charity on your or your spouse’s behalf, for an article, speech, or appearance?”

Walker answered “Yes.”

The filing asks, “Who received payment?” For each of the 21 entries Walker indicated “Self.”

Under “Activity,” each response was “Speech.”

READ MORE: Herschel Walker Calls for Creation of Federal Agency to Spy on Americans’ Social Media Posts to Prevent Gun Violence

There are many others.

Three days after officially declaring himself a candidate Walker was paid $35,000 by the Texas Bankers Association. A few days later $20,000 by the Georgia Realtors Association. $35,000 in October by the Baldwin County Community Drug Foundation.

In December of last year the Atlana Journal-Constitution reported Walker is “the richest man in Georgia Senate race.”

“U.S. Senate candidate Herschel Walker is worth somewhere between $29 million and $65 million, and he pulled down about $4 million in income from late 2020 through late 2021, according to financial disclosures he filed late Wednesday,” the paper reported.

“About $400,000 of his earnings were from speeches he delivered to over a dozen groups, including charities such as the Boys and Girls Club that paid him as much as $27,000,” the Journal-Constitution confirmed at the time.

Walker, who was the subject of great controversy after The Daily Beast revealed in a series of reports that Walker, despite criticizing Black men for being absent fathers, has three secret children, and says he lied to his own campaign about their existence. In addition to his adult son, a popular social media influencer. One of the three is an adult but the other two and young children.

Walker has also taken money for speaking to anti-abortion organizations.

“He was paid $20,000 in October to speak to the Mid City Women’s Clinic in Hurst, Texas, and $27,000 in November to speak to the Pregnant Choice medical group in Augusta. Both are among a network of clinics that seek to deter abortions.”

 

Image: Screenshot via Facebook

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