2 washingtonblade.com • april 15, 2011
Mayor, Council membersarrested in protest
D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray and several City Council mem-bers were arrested Monday at a demonstration called by DCVote on Capitol Hill to protest a ederal budget deal that in-cluded city unding cuts.What began at 5 p.m. Monday as a noisy demonstrationo a ew hundred people quickly escalated into a sit-downstreet protest that closed Constitution Avenue between Firstand Second streets led by Gray, the Council Chair and fvemembers o the Council.The demonstration was called to protest last week’s budgetdeal to keep the ederal government open. President Obamaand Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) accepted House Speaker JohnBoehner’s demand or riders on the D.C. budget, angeringmany city residents. The budget deal would prohibit city undsto be used to pay or abortions or low-income women and citymoney could not be used to und needle exchange programs,a critical component in the fght against HIV. The budget dealalso includes a school voucher program long opposed bymany city ofcials, including Gray.The mayor spoke and called or continued demonstrations.“I am ed up and we won’t take it anymore,” he told the crowd.The crowd’s chants included “Who owns the streets? Wedo!” and “Free D.C. Now!” As the crowd grew the mayor tookto the street and many demonstrators and Council membersjoined him along with the leaders o D.C. Vote. Then a ew pro-testers sat down in the street and the mayor and Council ChairKwame Brown joined them and others soon ollowed. Capitolpolice threatened to arrest those that didn’t leave voluntarilyand when no one moved the paddy wagons were called.Among those arrested with the mayor were Brown andCouncil members Michael Brown, Yvette Alexander, TommyWells and Muriel Bowser. Sekou Biddle, a candidate or theAt-Large seat vacated by Kwame Brown, was arrested, whilehis opponent in that race, Vincent Orange, remained on thesidewalk.Also arrested was Jerey Richardson, director o the May-or’s Ofce o GLBT Aairs.
Del. Senate passescivil unions bill
The Delaware Senate voted 13-6 late last week to approvea civil unions bill that would provide same-sex couples with allo the rights and benefts o marriage under state law.LGBT activists were optimistic that the Delaware House oRepresentatives would approve the bill; a vote was expectedThursday or Friday, ater the Blade’s print deadline. Visit wash-ingtonblade.com or updates. The state’s governor, DemocratJack A. Markell, has said he plans to sign the bill.“We are delighted that not only did the civil unions bill getpassed by the Senate but that it got passed by a two-to-onemargin,” said Lisa Goodman, president o Equality Delaware,a state LGBT group coordinating lobbying eorts or the bill.“We think that says a lot about what the citizens o Dela-ware want to see, that the citizens o Delaware are two-to-onein avor o civil unions,” she said.Joe Solmonese, president o the Human Rights Campaign,called on the Delaware House to quickly pass the bill andsend it to the governor or signing.“Today we applaud the Delaware Senate or valuing allDelaware amilies,” Solmonese said.A public opinion poll commissioned by Equality Delawareand conducted in March by the survey research frm LakeResearch Partners ound that 62 percent o voters avor al-lowing same-sex couples to orm legalized civil unions, with31 percent opposing such a law. Seven percent o the voterspolled were undecided. The poll had a margin o error o plusor minus 3.8 percent.“We eel very optimistic about getting the bill through theHouse,” Goodman said. “We have all three o the Democraticleaders in the House on the bill as sponsors and we’ve beenworking very hard with House members.”Democrats hold a 26 to 15 majority in the 41-member Dela-ware House o Representatives.Goodman said a debate and vote on the bill in the ullHouse was expected to take place April 14.Similar to civil unions laws in other states, the Delawaremeasure, Senate Bill 30, would provide same-sex coupleswith all o the rights, benefts and obligations o marriage un-der state law but would not provide any ederal rights or ben-efts related to marriage.The Deense o Marriage Act (DOMA), which Congresspassed in 1996 and President Bill Clinton signed, bars same-sex couples rom receiving ederal marriage-related rights orbenefts.I the Delaware civil unions measure is approved by thelegislature and signed by the governor, Delaware would be-come the eighth state to provide marriage-related rights andbenefts to same-sex couples – either through either civilunions or comprehensive domestic partnership laws.Two o the other states – Illinois and Hawaii – approvedsuch laws earlier this year. The Illinois law is scheduled to takeeect in June and the Hawaii law goes into eect in January2012.
LOU CHIBBARO JR.
Stein Club electsnew president
The Gertrude Stein Democratic Club, the city’s largestLGBT political group, Monday night elected local attorneyand lesbian activist Lateeah Williams as its new president.Williams replaces Jerey Richardson, who resigned aspresident ater being appointed by Mayor Vincent Gray as di-rector o the Mayor’s Ofce o GLBT Aairs.She becomes the frst Arican-American woman to hold thepost o Stein Club president since the club’s ounding nearly35 years ago.Williams also serves as national committeewoman or theD.C. Young Democrats and is a member o the D.C. Demo-cratic State Committee and the Metropolitan Women’s Demo-cratic Club.Career wise, Williams is political and legislative director orLocal 689 o the Amalgamated Transit Union. She previouslyworked as a policy analyst or the think tank and governmentwatchdog group OMB Watch and as an attorney in privatepractice or local D.C. area law frms. She holds a law degreerom Georgetown University Law School and is a member othe bar in D.C. and Maryland.“It is truly an honor to preside over an organization withsuch a storied history and to ollow in the ootsteps o themany great club presidents who have preceded me,” shesaid. “I am truly committed to service and l look orward toworking with our members and the community at large to con-tinue to advance LGBT equality and Democratic ideals in theDistrict o Columbia.”
LOU CHIBBARO JR.
was arrested this week while protesting thebudget deal that prevented a shutdown o the ederal government.
Washington Blade fle photo by Michael Key
Thom Gibb, 60
Thom Gibb, a ormer member o theGay Men’s Chorus o Washington, diedo AIDS-related illnesses Feb. 2 at hishome in Columbia Heights. He was 60.He died at home in his sleep, accordingto his riend and housemate o almost 30years, Larry Rosen, who said Gibb was inrelatively good health until his last monthand “was still making jokes and laughing.”Gibb spent his entire career with theAmerican Red Cross as did his parents.He began as a volunteer in his nativePittsburgh. He earned his bachelor’s de-gree rom Westminster College in Penn-sylvania and went on to serve the RedCross in several eastern states and Ger-many beore transerring to the D.C. areain the late 1970s. He retired in 2008 andimmediately became a volunteer again.Gibb was a lielong music lover, espe-cially o opera and musical theater. Hewas an ardent devotee o Maria Callas,Stephen Sondheim and drag shows, andoten bragged about having seen Katha-rine Hepburn in “Coco.” He joined theGay Men’s Chorus in 1990 where he sangbaritone. He was on the Chorus boardand served one year as vice chair. Hewas a member o the Circle o Excellence(1999) and a recipient o the “You Are theLight” Crystal Award. His last concert withthe Chorus was in June 2005.Rosen called Gibb a “kind, generousand caring man.” He was an early volun-teer with Whitman-Walker’s AIDS servic-es group and managed other volunteercaseworkers. He enjoyed ood, cookingand dinner parties.“He was best known or his readysense o humor and distinctive laugh,”Gibb said. “He was always easy to fndin a crowd just by listening or the soundo his laughter.”Gibb is survived by David Buntin,Marc Fallow and Larry Rosen o Wash-ington and J.R. Yeager o Oakland, Cali.He was cremated. A memorial service isscheduled or April 23 at 11:30 a.m., inthe Hall o Service at the headquarterso the American Red Cross, 1730 E St.,N.W. Donations in memory o Gibb maybe made to the Gay Men’s Chorus oWashington, 2000 P St., N.W., Suite 730,Washington, D.C. 20036, or to the charityo your choice.
Photo courtesy o Larry Rosen