TIE THE KNOT FOUNDATION H U M A N
R I G H T S
REPUBLICAN ALLY ROS-LEHTINEN
HRC’S NEW CITY INDEX
C A M P A I G N
W I NTE R 2013
“Whenever a particular group is being discriminated against, the court asks the question, what’s the rationale for this – and it better be a good reason. And if you don’t have a good reason, we’re going to strike it down.” ²3UHVLGHQW2EDPDRQKLV$GPLQLVWUDWLRQ·VODQGPDUNÀOLQJLQRQHRIWKHWZRKLVWRULF marriage equality cases that the U.S. Supreme Court will consider this term.
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LETTER FROM THE PRESIDENT
FROM SENECA FALLS TO SELMA TO STONEWALL…
his year began with our country’s first pro-marriage equality president taking the oath of office for the second time. This historic moment saw the president of the United States declare that marriage equality is an essential part of America’s civil rights struggle, passionately stating that: “Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law, for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.” As I listened to his reaffirmation of our nation’s commitment to equality, I’ve never been more confident that our progress will continue and accelerate. The journey of this nation — from Seneca Falls to Selma to Stonewall — has always been in the direction of greater justice. It’s a journey that is never complete, but because of advocates like you, the future we fight for gets closer every day. But it’s a journey that faces new challenges in the days ahead. A block away from where the president gave his extraordinary address, a similar set of words carved above the main entrance of the Supreme Court — “Equal Justice Under Law” — could soon determine the fate of two landmark marriage equality cases on the court’s docket.
The Obama administration made history by filing a brief at the Supreme Court arguing for the first time, on behalf of the U.S. government, that a law denying loving and committed gay and lesbian couples the ability to marry is unconstitutional. After hearing oral arguments in March, the court is expected to hand down its decisions by summer. And as discussed in the cover story of this edition of Equality, a win in either case would mark a moment of huge significance in the movement for LGBT civil rights. But while I’ve never been more hopeful, we still have a long journey ahead to truly win equal rights and recognition for LGBT Americans and their families. And it’s up to all of us to roll up our sleeves and finish the job. Marriage equality battles in several states are imminent. And this issue of Equality highlights HRC’s commitment to winning these battles with the same tightly coordinated media work, experienced field organizers and energized grassroots base that drove our previous marriage equality victories. In addition, Equality sits down with longtime ally Republican Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida for an interview in which she eloquently describes the need for families to support their lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender loved ones, and her advocacy on Capitol Hill for marriage equality.
You’ll also read about HRC’s work to make everyday life better for LGBT Americans through projects like our new Municipal Equality Index, which reports on anti-discrimination laws and other factors affecting equality in communities where LGBT people live, work and raise their families. I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to you for supporting HRC’s critical work. The future we are fighting for is indeed getting closer every day. Sincerely,
Chad Griffin President
P.S. The momentum is truly on our side. This is our moment. With HRC’s work at such a pivotal point, your support is more vital than ever. So if you haven’t yet renewed your membership for 2013, please do so today. And if you have already, please consider mailing an additional gift today — or donating online at www.hrc.org/winter. As always, you can count on HRC to use your support in the most effective way possible. Thank you!
Photo: Joel Page / AP
HRC SENIOR STAFF Chad Griffin President Michael Cole-Schwartz Communications Director Ann Crowley Membership & Online Strategy Director Robert Falk General Counsel Andrea Green Finance Director John Greene Human Resources Director Allison Herwitt Legislative Director Anastasia Khoo Marketing Director
Don Kiser Creative Director Jeff Krehely Chief Foundation Officer Brian Moulton Legal Director Cathy Nelson Vice President for Development & Membership Jim Rinefierd Vice President for Finance & Operations
Marty Rouse National Field Director Fred Sainz Vice President of Communications & Marketing
Susanne Salkind Managing Director David M. Smith Vice President of Programs Christopher Speron Development Director Cuc Vu Chief Diversity Officer HRC EQUALITY STAFF Janice Hughes Publications Director
Robert Villaflor Design Director
ADVANCING EQUALITY, STATE BY STATE
“I VOTE MY CONSCIENCE” REPUBLICAN U.S. REP. ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN
TYING ONE ON: THE TIE THE KNOT FOUNDATION
CITY BY CITY HRC’S NEW INDEX BRINGS EQUALITY HOME
AN ARTIST AND HIS LEGACY J.B. HARTER
30 YEARS AFTER “IT’S RAINING MEN,” DANCE DIVA MARTHA WASH IS BACK — AND STILL INSPIRING
Sarah Streyle Senior Graphic Design Specialist Melissa Cruz Editorial Intern CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Steffan Declue, Brian Moulton, Dan Rafter OTHER CONTRIBUTORS
Photos: (top to bottom) Alan Diaz AP / Mike Rosenthal / Josh DeHonney Photos: (Top, L-R)
Sarah Birnie, Liz Cooper, Alison Delpercio, Deena Fidas, Richard Gagliano, Justin Giaquinto, Mollie Levin, Jason Lott, Cassidy Karakorn, Anastasia Khoo, Josh King, Don Kiser, Adam Marquez, Nick Martin, Rose Matias, Mike Mings, Cathryn Oakley, Karin Quimby, Dan Rafter, Bryce Romero, Marty Rouse, Ben Shallenberger, Jessie Sheffield, Chris Speron, David Stacy, Sarah Streyle, Kisha Webster Equality is a publication of the Human Rights Campaign and the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. Equality (ISSN 1092-5791) is published quarterly by HRC, 1640 Rhode Island Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036. Copyright 2013. All rights reserved. Subscription rates: Free to members. Printed in the USA. The Human Rights Campaign and HRC Foundation names and Equality logos are trademarks of the Human Rights Campaign and HRC Foundation. To join HRC, call 800-727-4723, visit www.hrc.org or TTY at 202-216-1572. Are you an HRC member? Have a question? HRC’s Member Services team, led by Dana Campbell, works every day to provide HRC’s more than 1 million members and supporters with the best membership experience possible. To contact Member Services, email email@example.com or call 800-727-4723. All advertisers in Equality magazine are Human Rights Campaign National Corporate Partners. Because of HRC’s commitment to improving the lives of LGBT Americans in the workplace, all of our National Corporate Partners must demonstrate their own dedication by achieving a score of 85 percent or greater on HRC’s Corporate Equality Index. Companies such as these have advanced the cause of LGBT equality in the workplace. For specific scores, criteria and more information on the Corporate Equality Index, please visit www.hrc.org/CEI.
EQUALITY AT THE COURT
IN EVERY ISSUE 5 31
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5 auto insurance mistakes you can avoid today Because we’re active in the HRC community, we often get questions from members who want to avoid an unpleasant auto insurance experience. Here are five things that can help you: 1. If you’re not legally married, don’t assume your partner is automatically covered if he or she drives your car. And don’t wait until it’s too late to find out. 2. Don’t overpay for coverage — it’s easy to do. Ask about available discounts. Nationwide Insurance® offers many — including one just for HRC supporters. 3. If you’re a safe driver, get credit for it. Purchase our Vanishing Deductible option and take $100 off your deductible for every year of safe driving, up to $500.† Not every insurer sells this. 4. Consider your comfort level. Not everyone makes the LGBT community feel welcome. We’re a proud HRC Platinum National Partner — whose specially trained agents understand insurance for domestic partners. 5. Choose a company that makes claims easy and hassle-free. Four out of five policyholders who’ve had a claim would recommend us to their friends.*
Remember, insurance rules, like LGBT rights, vary by state. Nationwide Insurance knows how things work where you live. Call 1-888-490-1561 or visit nationwide.com/HRCsaves for a free, no-obligation quote including your HRC discount.
*Information based on a survey conducted nationally on Nationwide customers who filed a claim in 2009. Nationwide may make a financial contribution to this organization in return for the opportunity to market products and services to its members or customers. Products Underwritten by Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company and Affiliated Companies, Home Office: Columbus, OH 43215. Nationwide Lloyds and Nationwide Property & Casualty Companies (in TX). Subject to underwriting guidelines, review, and approval. Products and discounts not available to all persons in all states. Nationwide policies are written by Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company or a company directly or indirectly owned by Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. Not all Nationwide companies are mutual companies, and not all Nationwide policyholders are members of a mutual company. Policyholder rights and benefits are determined by policy language, underwriting company charter and bylaws, and applicable law. Nationwide, Nationwide Insurance, the Nationwide framemark, Vanishing Deductible and On Your Side® are service marks of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. ©2013 Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. All Rights Reserved. †Vanishing Deductible is an optional feature. Annual credits subject to eligibility requirements. Maximum credit: $500. Details and availability vary by state.
Board of Directors Lacey All WA, Kevin Bass CA, Bruce Bastian UT, Terry Bean OR, Vanessa Benavides TX, Les Bendtsen MN, Michael Berman DC, Paul Boskind TX, Wally Brewster IL, Chris Carolan NY, Bill Donius MO, Tim Downing OH, Anne Fay TX, Chris Flynn MA, Jody Gates LA, Kirk Hamill DC, LeeAnn Jones GA, Tom Knabel MN, Chris Labonte PA, Joan Lau PA, Joni Madison NC, Joshua Miller NV, Patrick Miller LA, Michael Palmer VA, Dana Perlman CA, Cathi Scalise TX, Linda Scaparotti CA, Meghan Stabler TX, Alan Uphold CA, Frank Woo CA, Lisa Zellner OH
Photo: Todd Bludworth
Photos: (Top, L-R)
Photo: Jeffrey Holmes for HRC
Foundation Board Lacey All WA, Gwen Baba CA, John Barry IL, Kevin Bass CA, Bruce Bastian UT, Terry Bean OR, Vanessa Benavides TX, Les Bendtsen MN, Deiadra Burns TX, Todd Canon TX, W. Lee Carter III NC, Edie Cofrin GA, Jane Daroff OH, Fiona Dawson NY, Lawrie Demorest GA, Bill Donius MO, Anne Fay TX, Chris Flynn MA, Charlie Frew GA, Sandra Hartness CA, Sheila Kloefkorn AZ, Britt Kornmann TX, Joan Lau PA, Andy Linsky CA, Joshua Miller NV, Patrick Miller LA, Michael Palmer VA, John Ruffier FL, Cathi Scalise TX, Judy Shepard WY, Faye Wilson Tate CO, Frank Woo CA Board of Governors Robert Abernathy IL, Steve Amend NV, Carl Andrews TX, Andrew Arnold CA, Karen Aronoff OH, Matthew Bacon MA, Jennifer Bajorek TX, Phillip Baker AZ, Vanessa Benavides TX, Charles Beraud NV, Jay Biles NC, Scott Bishop NC, Eric Blomquist NY, Doris Bobadilla LA, Ronna Bolante PA, Chris Boone WA, Brian Bourquin MA, Dawn Brown IL, Linda Brown OR, Suzanne Butler TX, Brian Buzby TX, Rory Cahn OH, Nancy Caldwell TX, Frank Caliguri OH, Torey Carrick CA, Steven Cayton GA, Jeffrey Caywood OH, Dawn Christensen NV, Jeffrey Coop WA, Angie Cottrell MO, Thomas Cowley CA, Dani Daley CA, Jamie Depelteau CA, Brad DiFiore GA, Candace DiGirolamo OH, Robert Dogens NC, Michael Dunning MO, Patty Ellis NY, Tamra English TX, Alexandra Ernst VA, Michael Fifield UT, Steve Fisher CA, Brian Flanagan NJ, Donna Flynn TX, Patrick Gamble AZ, Matt Garrett GA, Cherie Green NC, Melinda Greene GA, Deb Guidry LA, Ron Guisinger OH, Jonathan Gundersen PA, Suzanne Hamilton OH, Randall Hance TX, Jim Harrison TX, Jason Held IL, S. Kelly Herrick CA, Gary Hilbert NJ, Latoya Holman NV, Ted Holmquist CA, Miranda Hooker MA, Tim Jenkins IL, Deanne Jockish MO, Dean Keppler WA, Kathrin Kersten TX, John Kim WA, Kyle Klatt IL, Kevin Knoblock MA, David Lahti CA, Jason Lambert FL, Jason Laney DC, Brian Larios MO, Chris Lehtonen CA, Ryan Levy TX, Michael Dell Long OR, Raymond Manci CA, Jeff Marsocci NC, M. Mason OH, Bob Mason CA, Dan Mauney NC, Lori Megown NY, Beth Mejia MN, Andrew Melissinos CA, Patrick Miller LA, James Minor CA, Missy Morgan NV, Kevin Moser WA, DyShaun Muhammad MN, Derek Osterman MA, Bryan Parsons CA, Ed Patterson GA, Lester Perryman LA, Arouna Phommasouvanh MN, Steven Pospilsil MN, Hank Provost CO, Robb Puckett TX, Ron Quinn NV, Catherine Reid WA, Michael Reiser MO, Chad Reumann TX, John Rivers NY, Mario Rodas MA, Andy Rubinson MA, Jonathan Russell GA, Carmen Salgado CA, Cathy Sarky OH, Thearon Scurlock FL, Jon Shaffer OH, Mark Shura MA, Molly Simmons GA, JR Simon TN, Corey Smith MN, Ashley Smith DC, Michael Smithson OH, LaRence Snowden TX, David Steiman CA, Skye Stoulig LA, Deborah Taft MA, Dan Tanner FL, Timothy Thomas TX, Paul Thompson CA, Tiffany Tosh TX, Lauren Verrusio NY, Benjamin Waldman WA, Willis Ward NC, Melissa Warren LA, Julie Watson MN, Daniel Weaver DC, Claudine Wessel AZ, Ed Westreicher GA, Amy White WA, Andrew Winters OH, Sharon Wong MD, Julie Wood GA
UP FRONT THE BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA doubled down last summer on their longtime policy of deeming gay Scouts, leaders and staff ineligible for their ranks. The Human Rights Campaign and its corporate partners took action. UPS, Merck and others said they would not fund the BSA and other groups that discriminate against gay people. And HRC announced that firms giving to the BSA and other discriminatory groups will not make the 100 percent rating on the Corporate Equality Index. Stay tuned!
of Americans believe it is a constitutional right to marry the person they love, according to a 2013 poll by Grove Insight. And that includes 75 percent of Independents and 56 percent of Republicans.
“I’M THRILLED TO BE ON THIS RIDE WITH YOU. MY PHILOSOPHY HAS ALWAYS BEEN THAT ANYTIME SOMEONE SAYS WHAT YOU’RE NOT, YOU HAVE TO SHOW THEM ALL THE THINGS THAT YOU ARE. AND THIS COMMUNITY, IN PARTICULAR, IS LIKE A BEACON OF LIGHT AND WE ALL ARE BETTER FOR IT.” — Actor/comedian Whoopi Goldberg upon receiving the HRC Ally for Equality Award at the New York Gala. Goldberg took part in HRC’s New Yorkers for Marriage Equality video campaign and regularly speaks out for LGBT equality on ABC’s The View.
MORE THAN 400 STUDENTS, parents, administrators and community activists, and even the mayor, converged at a middle school in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., recently for the area’s first-ever anti-bullying summit. The summit (below), held at a local public middle school, was spearheaded by HRC’s South Florida Steering Committee, building upon the HRC Foundation’s Welcoming
Schools initiative. HRC organizers worked closely with the Broward County Sheriff’s Office, stressing the importance of the school district’s new all-inclusive anti-bullying policy for district students and employees. HRC also co-hosted an anti-bullying summit in Cincinnati, Ohio, along with the local YMCA. The sold-out event drew a crowd of 175. Last year, 30 people came.
CURRENT AS OF 2/1/2013
equality At Cox Enterprises, we believe our differences – whether ethnicity, age, gender or sexual orientation – actually make us stronger. We’re proud to call the HRC one of our national partners. We’re all connected. co x i n c . c o m
A MAJOR MILESTONE…
$1 MILLION AD CAMPAIGN
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle made history when the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives reauthorized the Violence Against Women Act, which includes protections for LGBT victims of domestic violence or sexual assault. President Obama signed the bill into law this month. It is the first federal sexual orientation and gender identity nondiscrimination statute, only the second law protecting transgender Americans (the first was the hate crimes law) and the fourth affirmative law on sexual orientation. Since 2009, HRC has worked with domestic violence, sexual assault and other groups, and for more than a year with House and Senate allies, to pass the bill. Bipartisanship was key, noted HRC Legislative Director Allison Herwitt. In February, the House, despite an anti-equality majority, rejected an amendment to strip out the LGBT protections. The Senate voted 78 to 22, and the House’s 286-138 vote included 87 Republicans. The measure will bar federally funded domestic violence service providers from discriminating against victims based on their sexual orientation or gender identity, and will expand grant programs funding outreach to the LGBT community and services for LGBT victims.
That’s the size of a new national ad effort by the Respect for Marriage Campaign that highlights the bipartisan momentum for marriage equality. HRC, with Freedom to Marry, co-chairs the 80-group coalition. Two national TV ads have already aired on CNN, FOX News and Sunday network shows. Print ads have run in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and elsewhere. (See p. 9 for more.)
ANDORRA ARGENTINA AUSTRALIA AUSTRIA BELGIUM BRAZIL CANADA COLOMBIA DENMARK FINLAND FRANCE GERMANY
DETENGAMOS JUNTOS EL VIH
New! Posters, web banners and stories, all in Spanish, are now available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for its national Let’s Stop HIV Together/Detengamos Juntos el VIH campaign, launched last year and featuring individuals living with HIV alongside their family members, loved ones and friends. Launch events will be held in Miami and Los Angeles. Coming up: a new website in Spanish. See www.cdc.gov/ActAgainstAIDS/Spanish.
HUNGARY ISRAEL NETHERLANDS NEW ZEALAND NORWAY PORTUGAL SOUTH AFRICA SPAIN SWEDEN SWITZERLAND UNITED KINGDOM The 25 countries above grant same-sex partners of their citizens the same immigration benefits as legal, different-sex spouses of citizens receive.
ATHLETES FOR EQUALITY Push yourself on behalf of equality as part of HRC’s growing Athletes for Equality program! Register today and raise critical funds to support HRC’s work while receiving training and fundraising support, along with team camaraderie. Next up: team formation for Washington, D.C.’s Marine Corps Marathon! Guarantee your spot now by registering with HRC. Not running this race? You can still join the program via any event of your choosing. To register and for more information, please visit www.hrc.org/athletes.
The United States does not. HRC is working on Capitol Hill to build support for the Uniting American Families Act, which would change that — affecting the lives of 40,000 same-sex, binational couples. Is your member of Congress a co-sponsor of the bill?
HRC hosted a screening in March of a new documentary, “God Loves Uganda,” about U.S. evangelicals exporting their extreme views, including fighting “sexual immorality,” to the country in the guise of charity and mission work. Academy Award-winning filmmaker Roger Ross Williams connects the dots between the virulent anti-gay politics in the east-central African country and the United States. The release of the film — an official selection of this year’s Sundance Film Festival — comes as a Ugandan tabloid published the names and photos of people it claims are gay. Meanwhile, the country’s parliament may vote this spring on legislation that could make being gay a crime punishable by death or life imprisonment. Spread the word about the film and its critical issues. Check out www.godlovesuganda.com for more.
EQUALITY AT TH
By Brian Moulton
n late March every year, crowds pour into our nation’s capital. Students on spring break trips learn about our government. Tourists fill the shores of the Tidal Basin admiring the cherry blossoms. This year, on March 26th and 27th, crowds will gather outside the towering marble columns of the U.S. Supreme Court
to witness a tremendous moment in our country’s history. On those two days, the court will hear arguments in two landmark cases about fundamental questions of the equality of same-sex couples. And only a few months later, as this historic Washington spring becomes another muggy summer, the court will issue opinions that could fundamentally change the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans. “Thanks to the hard work of the litigation groups, the lawyers and the brave plaintiffs, we face a historic moment at our nation’s highest court,” said Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin. “Their decisions this summer could help further fulfill our nation’s promise, written above the court’s doorway, of equal justice under law.” In the meantime, HRC and several organizations are harnessing their forces in a wide-ranging coalition, representative of both the LGBT movement and our allies, to amplify discussions nationwide about marriage and discrimination. (See p. 9.) 8
First, the court will consider Hollingsworth v. Perry, the challenge to California’s Proposition 8 known earlier in its history as Perry v. Schwarzenegger and then Perry v. Brown. This case began in May 2009, after California voters had approved a constitutional amendment stripping gay and lesbian couples of the right to marry recognized by the California Supreme Court only a year before. Two brave couples — Kris Perry and Sandy Stier, and Paul Katami and Jeff Zarillo — facing the door to marriage equality slammed shut before them, filed suit in federal court. They argue that Proposition 8 denies them the equal protection of the laws and the fundamental right to marry guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. Led by the American Foundation for Equal Rights and argued by the distinguished, bipartisan legal team of Ted Olson and David Boies — best known for arguing opposing sides in Bush v. Gore over the outcome of the 2000 presidential election — this case helped expose the flimsy justifications for discrimination against gay and lesbian families and lifted the partisan veil that long obscured questions of equality. Griffin himself is widely credited for bringing Olson and Boies together and being the force behind the lawsuit while at the helm of AFER. In August 2010, a federal district judge issued a sweeping ruling in their favor.
Elevating the Discussion
HE COURT Unwilling to support the odious law, the state of California left it to a group of the original supporters of the Prop 8 campaign — called the “proponents” by the courts — to appeal that decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which reviews cases from federal trial courts across the Western states. In February 2012, the Ninth Circuit agreed that Prop 8 violates the U.S. Constitution, but on narrower grounds focused on what had happened in California — a right was granted and then stripped away. The proponents then asked the U.S. Supreme Court to take up the case. The day after it hears arguments in Perry, the Supreme Court will consider another historic case, Windsor v. United States, challenging the federal law that denies even lawfully married same-sex couples recognition by the federal government, and with it, more
than 1,000 rights, benefits and responsibilities tied to marital status. That law, the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, defines marriage for all federal purposes to be only the union of a man and a woman. As a result, couples married today in the nine states and the District of Columbia where marriage equality is a reality are treated as strangers by the federal government, barring them from spousal rights in taxes, Social Security and other retirement benefits, healthcare, immigration, military and veterans benefits, and many other areas. In Windsor, with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union and the law firm of Paul Weiss, a widow in her '80s is challenging one of the many indignities she faces because of DOMA. Edith Windsor and her late wife Thea Speyer married in Canada in 2007, after 40 years together. Their home state of New York recognized them as married, but when continued on p. 10
As the U.S. Supreme Court considers the two historic cases, HRC has partnered with Freedom to Marry, the American Foundation for Equal Rights, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, the American Civil Liberties Union and other national groups to elevate discussion across the country about the importance of marriage equality. The Respect for Marriage Coalition — which includes more than 80 organizations — has launched national TV and print ad campaigns featuring Colin Powell, Dick Cheney, President Obama and other marriage equality supporters. The coalition also released the results of a groundbreaking new poll showing that 75 percent of Americans view the freedom to marry the person you love as a constitutional right. Coalition members have teamed up to ensure that stories of loving, committed same-sex couples and their families affected by the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act are shared across the media. Staffers from several of the groups are working out of a communications “war room” at the HRC building. Plans are also under way to hold rallies outside the Supreme Court on the days of the oral arguments in late March.
the amount of taxpayer funds the House Republican leadership has authorized to spend on outside attorneys in their defense of DOMA
the estate tax bill the IRS has presented to Edith Windsor
the amount Windsor would owe if her spouse was a man or if the federal government recognized her marriage
the estimated number of lawfully married same-sex couples in the United States
the number of rights, benefits and responsibilities denied lawfully married same-sex couples under federal law
Court con't from p. 9 Speyer died and left her estate to her beloved wife, Windsor soon learned in harsh terms that the federal government did not. For other married couples, a surviving spouse inherits his or her wife’s or husband’s estate without having to pay any federal estate tax. But because of DOMA, the IRS sent a grieving Windsor an estate tax bill for $363,000. Unwilling to simply accept this inequality, she filed suit in federal court, arguing that DOMA’s discriminatory definition of marriage violates the U.S. Constitution by denying her equal protection of the laws. In June 2012, a federal district judge in Manhattan agreed with her, ruling DOMA’s denial of federal recognition to her marriage unconstitutional. Earlier, President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder had decided that, like the state of California, the U.S. Department of Justice could not in good conscience defend a clearly unconstitutional law. The Republican leadership of the House of Representatives then stepped in — through an entity called the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group — to defend DOMA. This group appealed Windsor to the U.S. Court of Appeals for
the Second Circuit which, in November, upheld the trial court’s decision. The advisory group then asked the Supreme Court to take the case. Victories in these cases could mean an end to discrimination against gay and lesbian couples and their families, both by states and the federal government. In Perry, the court could rule that laws and amendments, like Prop 8, that restrict the right of same-sex couples to marry cannot stand. Or, the nine justices could decide more narrowly, invalidating Prop 8 and returning marriage to California, but not affecting other states’ marriage bans. In Windsor, the court could agree with the lower courts and strike down DOMA’s marriage definition, meaning lawfully married same-sex couples would be equally recognized by the federal government. And, of course, there is a possibility that the court could rule against equality in either or both cases, leaving the status quo — including marriage equality in nine states and Washington, D.C. There is one final wrinkle: In both cases, the court is also considering the question of standing. Standing is the legal concept that parties in a lawsuit can only come before the courts when there is truly a
dispute and they have suffered a real injury. Because both the Perry and Windsor cases are being defended by someone other than whom you’d expect — the Prop 8 proponents and the House Republican leadership — the court has asked to hear arguments as to whether those groups are even allowed to do so. If the answer in either case is that they do not have standing, the result would likely be a narrow success rather than a sweeping, nationwide victory. Decisions are expected from the Supreme Court in both cases by the end of its term, June 28th. It is fitting that this is within days of two important commemorations during LGBT Pride Month — the 44th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, which launched the modern LGBT equality movement, and the 10th anniversary of the court’s decision in Lawrence v. Texas, which invalidated the remaining state sodomy laws and finally ended criminalization of our relationships. This summer could mark yet another major milestone in our community’s quest for full equality. Moulton is HRC’s legal director.
With Friends Like These … Opponents of equality have filed dozens of “friend of the court” briefs with the Supreme Court in the Windsor and Perry cases. Here are a few choice excerpts: “[O]pposite-sex couples are the only procreative relationships that exist, which means that such couples are the only ones the government has a need to encourage.” — Windsor amicus brief of the attorneys general of Indiana and 16 other states
“Same-sex marriage will destroy this nation. If the leaders of this country treat what God has called abominable as something to be respected, revered, and blessed with the seal of approval of the government, that will cross a final line with God.” — Perry amicus brief of the Westboro Baptist Church
“Marriage defined as the union of a man and a woman is an axiom of Western civilization — not an attack on the civil rights of gays and lesbians.” — Perry amicus brief of the National Association of Evangelicals, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and other religious organizations
GOP Leaders Weigh In
Photo: Judy G. Rolfe for HRC
Administration Stands With Us Against Marriage Discrimination
n another groundbreaking move, the Obama administration filed a brief at the Supreme Court arguing for the first time on behalf of the U.S. government that a law denying gay and lesbian couples the ability to marry is unconstitutional. A victory in this case, which challenges California's discriminatory Proposition 8, would be a decisive point in this movement toward marriage equality, said HRC President Chad Griffin. “It’s another historic step forward consistent with the great civil rights battles of our nation’s history,” Griffin told The New York Times. Almost 60 years ago, the Justice Department filed an amicus brief in Brown v. Board of Education, the landmark school desegregation case. President Obama himself weighed in on the administration’s filing. “[W]hat we’ve done is we’ve put forward a basic principle — which applies to all equal protection cases,” he told reporters. “Whenever a particular group is being discriminated against, the
court asks the question, what’s the rationale for this — and it better be a good reason. And if you don’t have a good reason, we’re going to strike it down.” The Obama administration’s amicus brief, filed February 28th by Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, argues that California’s Proposition 8 discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation and violates the U.S. Constitution's guarantee of equal protection of the laws. The administration also argues, as it has in the challenge to the federal Defense of Marriage Act, that laws that treat gay and lesbian people differently must be held to a higher standard of review. DOMA is at the center of another case being considered by the Supreme Court. In 2011, the administration stopped defending that 1996 law, which denies federal benefits and recognition to same-sex marriages. Lower courts have declared the California ban and DOMA unconstitutional. The high court is slated to consider both cases in late March.
ore than 100 prominent Republicans have signed on to a legal brief urging the Supreme Court to declare unconstitutional Proposition 8, the California ballot measure that bars same-sex marriage. The amicus filing comes a month before the high court hears oral arguments on Proposition 8 as well as a case on the Defense of Marriage Act. Among the signers are former presidential Republican candidate (and Utah Gov.) Jon Huntsman, Mitt Romney advisor Beth Myers, former Govs. William Weld and Christie Todd Whitman, and former Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman. Two of the signers are current members of Congress: Reps. Ileana RosLehtinen of Florida and Richard Hanna of New York. Ros-Lehtinen, a longtime supporter of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, was the first Republican in the House to co-sponsor repeal of DOMA — the 1996 law that forbids federal benefits for same-sex unions. (See p. 17.) Meanwhile, House Republican leaders have worked to keep DOMA on the books and have used taxpayer funds to retain a top litigator for their side. But, increasingly, Republicans are coming out against their party’s platform against same-sex marriage. “The party of Lincoln should stand with our best tradition of equality and support full civil marriage for all Americans,” wrote Huntsman in a recent issue of The American Conservative. “This is both the right thing to do and will better allow us to confront the real choice our country is facing: a choice between the Founders’ vision of a limited government that empowers free markets, with a level playing field giving opportunity to all, and a world of crony capitalism and rent-seeking by the most powerful economic interests.”
America Is Ready… Nearly 8 in10 Americans say they know a gay family member or loved one. Source: ABC News/Washington Post poll, May 2012
I THINK FREEDOM MEANS FREEDOM FOR EVERYBODY.” Former Vice President DICK CHENEY
“The reality is going to be that in a number of American states — and it will be more after 2014 — gay relationships will be legal, period. ”
“I know a lot of friends who are…in partnerships with loved ones, and they are as stable a family as my family is, and they raise children. So I don’t see any reason not to say that they should be able to get married.” Former U.S. Secretary of State and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff COLIN POWELL
Major corporations backing marriage equality include
Percentage of Americans who think same-sex couples should be recognized by the law as valid, with the same rights as traditional marriage. Source: Gallup, December 2012 53% 46% 27%
ALCOA AMAZON GOOGLE NIKE STARBUCKS XEROX
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National Exit Polls, 2012
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Public Religion Research Institute, March 2012
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n statehouses across the country, the 2013 legislative season has been a busy one, providing historic opportunities for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. The Human Rights Campaign is hard at work alongside local allies across the country advancing marriage equality and non-discrimination legislation. The organization is contributing staff, funds and expertise to the states below to advance equality.
WYOMING History was made in Wyoming when non-discrimination and domestic partnership bills were approved in Senate and House committees, respectively. While each bill was defeated in full chamber votes, fairness advocates see momentum in the Equality State.
UTAH HRC is supporting Equality Utah in its efforts to pass comprehensive non-discrimination protections.
MARYLAND HRC is part of the Maryland Coalition for Trans Equality, seeking to add gender identity to the state's non-discrimination law.
WEST VIRGINIA HRC is supporting efforts of Equality West Virginia to pass a non-discrimination bill. A vote is likely at the end of March.
STATE BY STATE MARRIAGE EQUALITY
Momentum from the successful defeat of the anti-marriage amendment last fall has led to good chances for the marriage equality bill’s success this spring.
HRC has 15 faith and field organizers on the ground as a coalition member of Illinois Unites for Marriage. The bill passed the Senate. A House vote is expected in March.
Legislative leaders demurred consideration of a DOMA amendment this year. It is still undetermined if the vote will be in 2014. Corporate ally Eli Lilly & Co. is a key partner in efforts to defeat the anti-marriage measure.
RHODE ISLAND The unanimous House committee vote and strong floor vote, 51-19, have given the marriage bill clear momentum. Senate leadership has yet to schedule a vote – likely in late spring.
NEW JERSEY HRC is partnering with Garden State Equality to build support for marriage in the state.
DELAWARE Delaware has strong faith and labor support. HRC is working closely with Equality Delaware. Votes on marriage and also gender-identity non-discrimination should occur in late spring.
HAWAII A bill has been tabled for this year. The next window for the bill is January – March 2014.
HRC is working in the following cities:
FAYETTEVILLE, AR JACKSONVILLE, FL LINCOLN, NE
PHOENIX, AZ RICHMOND, VA SAN ANTONIO, TX
© 2012 Ernst & Young LLP.
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IAMI — You can hear her coming down the hall, calling out a welcome. And then she bursts into the room. Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen is a force of nature — just the fit for the vibrant, sprawling South Florida district she represents. She has been re-elected to the U.S. House of Representatives a dozen times. On a clear, sunny morning in her district office tucked off 72nd Avenue, Ros-Lehtinen talks about teaching, party politics and love of family — including her transgender son, Rodrigo. Photos are propped up behind her desk. A small Statue of Liberty is in the corner. Afterwards, she jumps up, insists on taking several photos, and then heads to a nearby office to make introductions to her 89-year-old father. Ros-Lehtinen, a longtime ally, was the first in her party to co-sponsor a bill to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. Excerpts from her interview with Equality follow.
Equality: You were a teacher and a principal before you entered politics. Did you have to deal with any bullying at school? Ros-Lehtinen: Maybe we’re more in tune to it now. I think it’s become more pronounced with social media where kids attack each other and call each other names on Facebook, Twitter and text messages. … Kids think they have to stigmatize others, and gay students seem to be the brunt of many of these attacks, as are students who are overweight or students who have a disability, or anything that makes the students stand out. Perhaps the student is poor and can’t afford what others think are cool clothes. … We want to make schools and school personnel sensitive to how words can hurt. Equality: Why do you support marriage equality? Ros-Lehtinen: It’s so important. We’ll look back upon this time 20 years from now, 10 years from now, and we’ll say, “There was a time in our nation when people couldn’t marry those they loved because states discriminated
against same-sex marriage.” Marriage equality is important for heterosexuals as well as samesex partners because you want to be treated in the same manner. I think we’ve achieved a great deal — before, no states had ratified any [marriage equality] bills and now some states have. Social change takes a long time and, little by little, we’re getting there. But we will look back upon this time and wonder why we had not done it as quickly as we could. Equality: How did you arrive at being such a supporter of LGBT equality? Ros-Lehtinen: Well I’ve always been a defender of freedom and human rights. And coming from Cuba, losing my homeland to communism, seeing the state control everything — I’m a person that believes in individual liberties and not having the government control everything. I just see this as one of those issues where government has been controlling what is really a societal function, a family function. And I’m for getting government out of the way of something that doesn’t hurt anyone. continued on p. 18
I VOTE MY CONSCIENCE REPUBLICAN REP. ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN SAYS FAMILIES ARE WHAT MATTER
Photos: (Top, L-R)
By Janice Hughes
I’M VERY OPTIMISTIC THAT OUR REPUBLICAN PARTY WILL UNDERSTAND WHAT THEIR CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN ARE SAYING TO THEM. …
Ros-Lehtinen con't from p. 17 Equality: Some people — Democrats and Republicans — are still on a journey, as we say, to accepting LGBT people. Will more of your Republican colleagues start becoming more supportive? Ros-Lehtinen: I think so. I’m very optimistic that our Republican Party will understand what their children and grandchildren are saying to them, and that this is a generational shift that takes a while. … I’m not saying to people, “Be patient,” because when your rights are being violated you don’t want to say, “Oh, I’ll wait my turn so that I can get equality.” Of course people are upset. But it is an evolution, it is a journey, it is a change in society’s mores. But it’s happening. It’ll happen with the Republican Party or without the Republican Party. I hope that our party gets with it and understands that we’ve always had gays serving in the military, now we’re just not discriminating against them. The change has come about, we’ve had months and months and months of the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and everything seems to be functioning fine. I think the sun still rose this morning. And I’m pretty sure the sun will still set tonight. So the world hasn’t come to an end.
Ros-Lehtinen: We’ve got a few Republicans who are leaning more and more toward equality and non-discrimination for sexual orientation. So it’s evolving but no, it’s still a long time coming. We lost a few Republicans this time around, not because of their views, but they were beaten by Democrats. So in the Republican ranks, we’re probably down a few votes when it comes to that. One thing that is true is that there is no stigma in the Republican Party were you to vote for marriage equality or anti-discrimination measures. No one comes up to me to say, “You shouldn’t vote that way.” Those are thought of as being
Photos: Sarah L. Voisin / Getty
Equality: Do you have any conversations with your colleagues on the Hill about this? How can we reach more of them?
votes of conscience and no one whips you. Well, we get whipped on everything — it’s just a tally on how you’re going to vote. And they do it on economic issues, but I’ve never been whipped on an issue like this. You’re free to vote your conscience and no one has ever castigated me or looked down upon me because I vote my conscience. So I hope that they will have more freedom to vote their conscience because I think more and more we’re getting to that stage. But yes, there’s a big gulf there, there’s no doubt. Equality: What do you say when people bring up religion? There are a large number of Roman Catholics in your district. Ros-Lehtinen: Yes, yes. The issue does come up. … I say, “I’m not here to change your views, but these are my views and I have a responsibility to explain them to you because I’m your member of Congress. I vote my conscience.” Sometimes they agree with me and sometimes not, but at the end of the day I think they balance it out. They say, “I didn’t agree with her on X and Y but I agreed with her on A, and I’ll vote for her anyway.” Equality: What do you say to parents about supporting their LGBT children? It’s great that you’re so supportive of your own son, Rodrigo. Ros-Lehtinen: It’s important for families to support their children and to support their children’s choices. It’s important to listen to your children, accept your children and have your children know that you love them unconditionally. It’s not “I love you, but…” — there’s no “but.” It’s just “I love you.” … To do otherwise is — you’re hurting yourself, you’re going to shun your child or your grandchild. You’re going to say, “No, I have my views and my views are the perfect views and no one else can penetrate that view and no one can have a different point of view. I’m right and everyone else is wrong.” And that’s a lonely way to live. It just means you’ll be out of that person’s life, and who wants to be cut out of their child’s life?
Equality: Well, thank you. Ros-Lehtinen: Sure, absolutely. It’s really important, and it will lead to better harmony in a family and better understanding. A lot of things you can fight over if you choose to fight; every day could be a fight. We could battle it out over anything or you could choose to be happy and choose to be accepting. It’s a choice you make, how you live your life. Equality: I believe you were the first Cuban American and Hispanic woman in Congress. It’s incredible that it was as recent as 1989. Ros-Lehtinen: 1989! Isn’t that unbelievable? In fact, I did not know that I was the first Hispanic woman. It was a late night election, the computers broke down — you know, Florida. And Katie Couric had invited me to come down to “The Today Show” early in the morning; we didn’t get to bed until 3 a.m. She said, “How does it feel to be the first Hispanic woman?” I said, “Well, I hate to disagree with you, you’re a network news anchor. But I don’t think that I’m the first Hispanic woman.” And she said, “Oh no, we’ve done the research. You are!” I could not believe it. Because it was 1989. How could I possibly be the first Hispanic woman? I had no idea. I said, “Wow, I guess it feels good!” [Laughs.] And I think now we’ve got about 10 Hispanic members. And it’s growing. Equality: What issues do you see as most important to the South Florida community? Ros-Lehtinen: This is a very accepting community. Even an accepting community can have many problems. … By and large, this is not a community that looks down on anyone like that. Traditionally, I guess you can say in Hispanic communities it is still difficult for kids to come out and difficult for families to accept. Even that is changing. It’s all individual. It depends on your family, your school and your circumstance. It’s not an openly hostile community; I would not say that about us at all.
Equality: When we hold our HRC Lobby Days, you’re one of the absolute favorites. Ros-Lehtinen: Well, it’s always a delight to work with HRC. It’s a good organization that’s both edgy and mainstream at the same time. You’re doing your level best to bring in more Republicans and you don’t score in a harsh way in order to encourage more Republicans to vote the right way on small issues. Because small issues become big issues. So sometimes you’ll have another organization, let’s say an environmental organization, and unless you’re a purist you won’t get a decent score. People say, “Forget it, I’ll never get a good score for that.” So what does it do? But you score in a more holistic way. How can we get more people to come over? Maybe this isn’t the biggest issue for us, but it shows inclusion and I think that that’s a very good way of lobbying legislators. If you’re just preaching to the choir and you have these very rigid codes about how lawmakers are on marriage equality or nondiscrimination then people won’t ever get that way. Because as members of Congress, we always notice. With some groups, it’s just difficult to ever score well. Equality: Thank you for supporting the Respect for Marriage Act. Ros-Lehtinen: I am optimistic that we are going to make great strides this year on marriage equality. … I’m glad the states are ratifying marriage equality, but we have to make it a national movement. During the civil rights movement, we said that it was not right for states to discriminate. As for marriage equality, I say it’s not right for states to discriminate. Some people make the argument that the people themselves should be able to vote on the issue. But if we did that for everything, some states might still not have done away with slavery. And that’s why I’m eagerly supporting these actions in Congress. Hughes is HRC’s publications director.
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TYING ONE ON “MODERN FAMILY’S” JESSE TYLER
FERGUSON (RIGHT) AND HIS FIANCÉ JUSTIN MIKITA, OF THE AMERICAN FOUNDATION FOR EQUAL RIGHTS, WANT THOSE FIGHTING FOR MARRIAGE EQUALITY TO BE ABLE TO WALK OUT IN STYLE. THE PAIR HAS CREATED A COLLECTION OF BOW TIES TO SERVE A FITTING DOUBLE PURPOSE: BE A CHAMPION FOR LGBT CIVIL RIGHTS AND
Photo: Mike Rosenthal
BE FASHIONABLE WHILE DOING SO. Their Tie The Knot foundation donates the neckwear’s proceeds to pro-equality organizations; the Human Rights Campaign was its first beneficiary, receiving up to $50,000 from the couple’s sold-out fall/ winter collection launched last fall. Equality interviewed them recently.
How has your Tie The Knot foundation been going? Any surprises? Jesse: We love that people like the product enough to buy it but are even more moved that they want to buy the bow ties because of the cause. We also have been so astonished by the amount of attention and support the foundation has received from other organizations. An example of this is when Sheila Simon, the lieutenant governor of Illinois, reached out to us to create a bow tie lobby day and bring attention to the marriage equality bill they were trying to pass in Illinois. It means a lot to us to be able to be a part of that history toward marriage equality. Justin: It’s also so cool to see our bow ties out in the world on strangers. I love that something so standard in a person’s wardrobe can now represent something so important as marriage equality.
By Melissa Cruz
…And how is working together as a couple? Jesse: It was very easy because it was something we were both so excited about. Justin: It’s a blast. We both carry strengths that the other lacks, which makes us perfect partners. When it comes down to it, what’s really key to tying a bow tie? Practice? Patience? Vodka? Jesse: What’s most important is that the practice doesn’t come an hour before the event that you need the bow tie for. Your tie collection is inspired by items around your home and community. What’s up next? Jesse: We still have a collection heavily based on textiles we love. I had an old vintage pocket square that served as an inspiration for one of continued on p. 27
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t’s the report that launched conversations across the country — between mayors, during city council meetings, on local TV, in major dailies, in business circles, at the dinner table. People have already begun to talk about what next year’s report will say. When the Human Rights Campaign published the inaugural edition of the Municipal Equality Index, it knew the rating of U.S. cities on their laws and policies related to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality would spark some attention and help spur the building of equality at the local level. But it had no idea the reaction would be so enthusiastic. Across the country, city leaders rose to the challenge. Starting with the research phase and continuing through publication, officials from dozens of cities, large and small, telephoned and emailed HRC to ask for information about the index and how to improve their policies. One small-town mayor, a straight ally, talked for hours, sharing stories of inclusiveness
in his community. An official in charge of LGBT affairs for a major city called in her thanks for the report, saying it reinforced the importance of the work she does and gave her a tool to measure (and brag about) her success. A mayor of another big city, in the South, took immediate action based on his city’s lukewarm score, taking steps that will not only increase the city’s score in 2013 but will provide real benefits for the people who live and work in the city. Other officials admitted they believed they had more inclusive policies than they did, and the report forced them to take a closer look at what they offered — and what they still have left to do. The Municipal Equality Index, or MEI, which was published in partnership with the Equality Federation and the Victory Fund, measured 137 cities based on 47 criteria in six categories: non-discrimination laws, relationship recognition, municipal employment practices (including domestic partner benefits and policies forbidding discrimination in city employment), city services, law enforcement
(including hate crimes reporting) and the locality’s relationship with the LGBT community. The report is not a ranking of the best places for LGBT people to live, noted the report’s author, Cathryn Oakley, HRC’s legislative counsel for state and municipal advocacy; it rates the laws, policies and services of each municipality, not lifestyle factors. HRC evaluated the 50 state capitals, the nation’s 50 largest cities, and 25 large cities, 25 mid-sized cities and 25 small cities with the highest population of same-sex couples. Eleven cities received 100 points, or perfect scores. Many others, including some cities perceived to be very welcoming, scored much lower. “One hundred points is not something that happens by accident,” Oakley told The New York Daily News. “It shows they are thinking about LGBT people and deliberately being inclusive in their policies and people’s lives.” New York, Cambridge, Boston, Philadelphia, continued on p. 27
CITY BY CITY Photos: (Top, L-R)
HRC’S NEW INDEX SPURS OFFICIALS TO TAKE A CLOSER LOOK AT LGBT EQUALITY
AN ARTIST AND HIS LEGACY
ohn Burton Harter devoted his life to art. Born in Mississippi in 1940, Harter — after studying fine arts and art history, including programs in Austria and Israel — spent 25 years as a noted museum curator and arts administrator at the Historic New Orleans Collection and the Louisiana State Museum before his death in 2002. During those years, he developed his artistic vision as a painter of still life and landscapes. “Even in these subjects, J.B. Harter never fully abandons his humor and innuendo,” art critic George E. Jordan said. Frequent subjects include paintings featuring Harter’s love of international travel; he was also a noted photographer. Harter “manages to convey the feeling of endless space and timeless beauty of a unique arid landscape within the canvas,” another art critic, Anne Price of the Baton Rouge Advocate, noted about one of his exhibits at the Louisiana State Museum.
Gallery shows of Harter’s work were mounted in New York, San Francisco and Baton Rouge, La. Exhibitions have been held at the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art in New York, the University of Southern Mississippi Museum, the Studios Plat du Jour in Paris and elsewhere. The 2005 exhibit organized by the Contemporary Arts Center in New Orleans, “The Culture of Queer: A Tribute to J.B. Harter,” featured his work as well as art by Robert Mapplethorpe, Andy Warhol and others. Harter’s work is held in collections of the New Orleans Museum of Art, the Louisiana State Museum, the Historic New Orleans Collection and the Leslie-Lohman Museum, located in New York’s Soho district. In 2002, the John Burton Harter Charitable Trust, an independent 501(c)(3) foundation, was established to preserve, publish and exhibit Harter’s work, and fund scholarships, exhibitions and projects relating to the artist’s lifelong aesthetic and philosophical
interests and involvements — including grants for the New Orleans AIDS Memorial and a documentary about the key role in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights history of the city’s glamorous public drag balls. Harter was a member of the Human Rights Campaign, and the trust, through its advisors John J. Sullivan, George E. Jordan and Michel G. Delhaise, is a generous donor to the HRC Foundation. Donors — through estate planning — can establish a charitable legacy that will support the HRC Foundation well into the future. Many planned giving options are available, including charitable remainder trusts, charitable gift annuities, donor-advised funds and private foundations. For information about estate planning through HRC, contact Adam Swaim, director of estate planning, at 202-216-1563 or adam. firstname.lastname@example.org. See www.hrc.org/estateplanning for more on the program. DeClue is the HRC Foundation’s senior grant writer.
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Photo: Mike Rosenthal
MEI con't from p. 23
Ties con't from p. 21 the bows. Another was inspired by a tile console table in our house. Another one is an homage to one of our favorite hotels in New York City, the Crosby Street Hotel. All the bows in the second collection are named after places in NYC we love. It’s meant to be a celebration of a great city and state that honors marriage equality.
Los Angeles, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle and St. Louis scored 100 points. Of course, cities located in states with statewide protections for LGBT people typically scored better than those cities in less progressive states with little or no protections, Oakley said. Real standouts were cities like St. Louis and Philadelphia that, despite a lack of state-level LGBT protections, have gotten perfect scores. Oakley cited Austin, Fort Worth and Salt Lake City as other cities that scored exceptionally well despite a lack of LGBT-inclusive, state-level law. These scores are not simply academic; cities have real incentives to be inclusive of LGBT people in their laws and policies. Cities that attract the top-tier talent, or the
“creative class” — scientists, engineers, innovators, entrepreneurs and others — do better on a variety of economic indicators, according to Richard Florida, an international expert on city development. To attract new jobs and the kind of big ideas that lead to new jobs, cities need to be able to attract and retain the creative class — and the creative class cares about diversity and equality. Florida argues that a third of the American workforce, or 40 million workers, want to live in a city that provides a welcoming and stimulating environment for them. “Openness and tolerance to the LGBT community is a huge component of this,” Florida wrote in an article in The Atlantic magazine about HRC’s report. The Municipal Equality Index, he says, is “an important new benchmark for cities to measure themselves against.”
How and when did you two first meet? Love at first sight? Jesse: Justin and I met through a mutual friend named The Gym. I thought Justin was incredibly attractive and sweet, and I think I fell for him pretty fast. I don’t know what love at first sight is but I do know that I can’t ever remember a time when I didn’t love him. Justin: How do I follow an answer like that!? Do Cameron and Mitchell on “Modern Family” remind you two at all of your own relationship? Jesse: I’ve never thought about this before. Yes, in the sense that my relationship with Eric Stonestreet requires care and patience and compromise just like my “real” relationship does. It’s similar in that I adore Eric and he can also drive me crazy. I think every relationship has that dynamic. Beyond that, I don’t see much of a similarity. Justin is a much better kisser. Cruz is HRC’s publications intern.
2012 CITIES 2013 NEW CITIES
How were the cities chosen? HRC’s 2012 Municipal Equality Index rated 137 municipalities of different sizes from every state in the country. It includes the 50 state capitals, the nation’s 50 largest cities and 25 large cities, 25 mid-size cities and 25 small cities with the highest population of same-sex couples. Cities with HRC steering committees were also included. The 2013 MEI is doubling that number, as the map (above) shows. See www.hrc.org/mei.
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Bob Villaflor, HRC Design Director; Joey Villaflor, Future HRC Member (Photo: Malek Naz Freidouni)
Besides teaching his son Joey about how to ride a bike or tie his shoes, Bob, a straight ally, is also teaching his 6-year-old about equality. A generation of young people are growing up in a world where bullying and discrimination against LGBT Americans are quickly becoming as outdated as an Atari video game console. By wearing HRC’s Love Conquers Hate tee, Bob and Joey are saying, without speaking a word, that equality is a family value.
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LAS VEGAS GALA, MAY 18 • Aria Resort & Casino • Charles Beraud, Latoya Holman & Tom Kovach • hrc.org/lasvegasdinner
LOUISIANA GALA, JUNE 15 • Hyatt Regency New Orleans • Deb Guidry, Lester Perryman & Susan Reyes • hrc.org/louisianadinner
COLUMBUS GALA, JUNE 1 • Ohio Union at The Ohio State University • Dee Reller & Rick Straits • hrccolumbusdinner.com
To buy tickets for HRC Gala Events, please contact Box Office Tickets, 800-494-8497, or www.hrc.org/boxoffice.
The HRC EQUALITY CIRCLE was established to recognize individuals who have created gifts to the Human Rights Campaign or the Human Rights Campaign Foundation through their estate planning. By making a gift in this way, members demonstrate their long-term commitment to the mission of the Human Rights Campaign and the Human Rights Campaign Foundation.
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A PRIDE CLASSIC
30 YEARS AFTER “IT’S RAINING MEN,” DANCE DIVA MARTHA WASH IS BACK — AND STILL INSPIRING were scared. Mainstream America was scared. People always feel like they have to blame somebody. So naturally, it was heaped upon the gay community. It was really awful; there was no dialogue going on because nobody knew anything. It was a very scary time. You were raised on gospel music? Yes, I grew up in a very Pentecostal church, and the only music that was played in my house was gospel music — so that’s what I grew up listening to. My mother sang in the church choir. … I played for the youth choir in my church. That’s what keeps me grounded. And my faith has just carried me all of these many, many years. … But for many, many decades, preachers did not embrace the gay people that were members of their church. I am a Christian and I believe if we try to live the best that we can and we’re led by God, He will bless us. When you were young, did you ever feel like an outsider?
You were so supportive, early on, in the fight against HIV/AIDS, recently receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award from the AIDS Emergency Fund. You experienced HIV/AIDS devastation up close and the stigma it carried — even as a friend of our community.
Honey, I had my days and my problems. I was the fat kid in school. I always got picked on because I was bigger than everybody else. It got to the point where I didn’t want to go to school, I didn’t want to be bothered with other kids because they were going to ridicule me, talk about me, bully me. I’ve been through all that. But somewhere deep down inside, there must have been a spirit, saying “OK, I need help,” whether from somebody like a psychologist or just praying. You know you pray to get through situations. Some people don’t feel like anybody understands them and they don’t feel like what they’re going through at the time is worth living for. … And they want to take their own life. I had felt that way at times when I was a kid.
During that time, in the music community, we lost a lot of people — artists, producers, DJs. A lot of them were just gone. And people
You have a long career, several hits, and now another well-received CD. What are you most proud of, so far?
Just still being here 30 years later. [Laughs.] Just still really being in this business. It’s a tough business, right? Oh, honey, yeah.
THE CLASSIC TRACKS: • “Everybody, Everybody” • “Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)” • “It’s Raining Men”
Follow Wash on twitter @Martha_Wash Her new album, “Something Good,” is available at www.marthawash.com and music resellers nationwide.
Photo: Luke Jones
artha Wash still recalls recording the song almost as a lark in Los Angeles, 30 years ago. Diana Ross, Barbra Streisand, Cher and Donna Summer had all turned it down. Wash herself didn’t think the song would fly. “You’ve got to be kidding me,” Wash remembers telling her musical team. “We recorded the song in about 90 minutes, walked out of the studio and went on about our business,” she says. The Pride anthem, “It’s Raining Men,” has sold more than 6 million copies worldwide. Wash even sang it for President Clinton at the White House. From being a guest judge on “RuPaul’s Drag Race” to releasing a new solo album, “Something Good,” on her own label, Wash is back — and more inspiring than ever. One standout track, “It’s My Time,” has already been used at state-level marriage equality rallies. Wash was extremely popular in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community in San Francisco in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. She sang backup as a member of Two Tons o’ Fun and then the Weather Girls for the legendary Sylvester, who performed early on with the drag troupe The Cockettes. Wash never backed down from a fight. When she faced discrimination from the music industry for her weight — she was not credited several times for her work because music professionals chose to use someone of a smaller size — she went to court. Wash, who lives in New York, has sung at several HRC galas. Equality caught up with her recently.
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