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washingtonblade.com - volume 42, issue 29, july 22, 2011

washingtonblade.com - volume 42, issue 29, july 22, 2011

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Published by: Washington Blade Newspaper on Jul 21, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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JULY 22 2011 VOLUME 42 ISSUE 29
Senate hears fromspouses, activists aboutburdens of marriage ban
By CHRIS JOHNSONcjohnson@washblade.com
A Senate hearing Wednesday onrepealing the Defense of MarriageAct featured poignant testimony from
couples in same-sex marriages, who
described how the anti-gay law hasharmed them.The hearing, which took placebefore the Senate JudiciaryCommittee, was the first ever beforeCongress on repeal of DOMA,
the 1996 law prohibiting federal
recognition of same-sex marriage. The
hearing was intended to highlight the
Respect for Marriage Act, legislationpending before Congress that wouldrepeal DOMA.Ron Wallen, an Indio. Calif.,
resident, who married his partner
of 55 years in 2008, said he’s unableto make payments on his home
following the death of his spouse,
Tom Carrollo, four months ago. Had
he been in an opposite-sex marriage,he would have been able to receive
Social Security benefits to help pay forthe cost of living.
“I am selling the last house I shared
with my husband in a panic salebecause I can’t afford the mortgageand expenses,” Wallen said. “I amspending my days and nights sortingthrough our possessions, packing
boxes to move — even while I am stillanswering the condolence cards that
come in the mail.”Susan Murray, who lives inFerrisburgh, Vt., with her spouse,Karen Murray, said she also facesfinancial inequities as a result of DOMA. Murray was the co-counselin the lawsuit Baker v. Vermont, which
established civil unions in Vermont in
2000.One issue Murray cited was the
additional tax that she and her spouse
have to pay on employer-based
insurance coverage provided to
them through her spouse’s employer,Fletcher Allen Health Care.“Because of DOMA, I am notconsidered Karen’s spouse, so
the value of that health insurance
coverage for me ($6,200 a year) is
considered taxable income to Karen,”
Murray said. “She therefore has to pay
Expensive year for gay donors
Baldwin Senate race, Obama
re-election, ballot measures tocompete for funds
By LOU CHIBBARO JR.lchibbaro@washblade.com
An expected race for the U.S. Senate next year bylesbian Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.) will likely intensifyan unprecedented demand for fundraising within the LGBTcommunity for the 2012 elections on the national, state andlocal levels, according to LGBT advocacy groups.Political observers in Wisconsin say Baldwin has emergedas the leading Democratic contender to compete for aSenate seat being vacated by Democratic Sen. Herb Kohl,who announced that he won’t run for another term nextyear.With Baldwin said to have a decent chance of becomingthe nation’s first openly gay senator, LGBT rights groupsfrom throughout the country are gearing up to raise fundsfor her campaign, even though she isn’t expected toofficially announce her candidacy until later this summer.Fundraising among LGBT donors for a Baldwin Senate
campaign will come at a time when those same donors are
being called on to give money to the re-election campaignof President Barack Obama and to the campaigns of LGBTand LGBT-supportive candidates running for Congress,state legislatures, and city and town government posts.LGBT donors are also expected to be tapped for
contributions to campaigns opposing state ballot measures
seeking to ban same-sex marriage or to legalize the right of gay couples to marry in as many as five states in 2012.Chuck Wolfe, executive director of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, which raises money for LGBT candidates,said the cost of a Baldwin Senate race would likely riseto between $15 million and $20 million.“So if our community can be a significant player in thatrace, and we hope it will be, that will mean a significantinvestment,” he said. “And I would expect to see the LGBTcommunity play an important role in that race.”
“Because of DOMA, I am not considered Karen’s
spouse,” said
, who lives in
Ferrisburgh, Vt., with her spouse, Karen Murray, inrecounting the financial inequities they have facedbecause of DOMA.
Lifeguards share their
skin care tips; the bestways to fight wrinkles andmore in our special section.
We talk to the ‘A-List’
cast about the new
season, ‘evil’ Austin andReichen’s leaked photos.
Couples make historytestifying against DOMA
LaSalvia, attacked nearUnion Station, critical of hate crimes laws
By LOU CHIBBARO JR.lchibbaro@washblade.com
The head of the conservative gayRepublican group GOProud was attackedon a secluded street behind Union Stationwhile riding home from work on his bicycleon July 15 by a male teenager who calledhim a “faggot.”Jimmy LaSalvia, GOProud’s executivedirector, said the unidentified youthpunched him in the chest about 8:30 p.m.as he rode past the youth and six or sevenother male teenagers who were with theperson that struck him on 2nd Street, N.E. just north of L Street.“I was on my bike when I approachedthem,” LaSalvia told the Blade in ane-mail. “Just as I got up to them, theassailant lunged off the sidewalk towardme on the street and delivered a punchacross my chest. The momentum of mybicycling driving me into his fist and armcaused a shocking pain like I’ve never feltbefore,” he said.“Just as I began to realize what washappening, I heard it. The words are stillringing in my ears as I write this today – ‘F____faggot!’ LaSalvia said in his e-mail. “It wasclear to me in that moment that my sexualorientation had motivated this attack.”LaSalvia said that after barely catchinghimself from falling to the ground, hereached into his backpack for his cell phone,with the thought of calling the police. Thataction prompted one of the teenagersaccompanying the attacker to say, “Does hehave a gun?” LaSalvia told the Blade.The attacker and a few of the otherswith him “puffed up their chests and wereclearly ready to continue the attack,” hesaid. But seconds later, the group fled thescene after he kept his hand inside hisbackpack, “allowing them to wonder if Iwas reaching for a gun.”He said he then rode home and calledthe police non-emergency number. Areceptionist taking the call instructed himto call 911, saying an officer would cometo his house to take a report. But LaSalviasaid he didn’t feel it necessary to take uppolice time for what was no longer anemergency. He said he chose instead towait until morning to file a police report.According to LaSalvia, on Saturdaymorning, July 16, he went to theheadquarters office of the police Gay &Lesbian Liaison Unit, which is located inthe Sun Trust Bank building on DupontCircle. Upon his arrival, no one answeredthe doorbell, said LaSalvia, even thoughhe noticed people were inside the office.He said a sign on the door advised visitorsto call the GLLU’s pager number, whichhe did, he said. However, as of Mondaymorning, no one from the GLLU returnedhis message.Sgt. Carlos Mejia, the GLLU’s supervisor,told the Blade on Monday that the unit isphasing out the pager number, which hesaid is part of an “antiquated” system thatsometimes malfunctions. Mejia said the GLLUand the police department have distributedliterature and public notices advising citizensto contact the unit on its new 24-hour smartphone number of 202-506-0714.LaSalia, in a phone interview, said helater reached the GLLU and that oneof its members, Sgt. Joe Morquecho,interviewed him about the incident andmade a report that lists the incident as ahate crime.“He gave me the name of the detectivehandling the case and I was just contactedby a victims’ services representative,”LaSalvia said. “So the police department’sbeen very good to follow up with me andtalk to me about this.”LaSalvia informed friends about theattack in a message on his Facebook page.Mejia said the GLLU office is not staffed24 hours a day. One police source saidcivilian volunteers sometimes work in theoffice when the officers are out in the field.The volunteers are instructed not to answerthe door since they are not trained to workdirectly with the public, the source said.“I realize now that this is something thatshould be reported,” LaSalvia said.LaSalvia described his attacker as a blackmale appearing about 17 or 18 years old,about 5 feet 11 inches tall, and weighingabout 145 pounds. He said the attackerwas wearing gym shorts and had his shirtoff, exposing a slim but “muscular” build.LaSalvia said the attacker had a mediumskin complexion and “very short hair –almost like a shaved head.”GOProud describes itself on its websiteas an organization representing “gayconservatives and their allies…committedto a traditional conservative agendathat emphasizes limited government,individual liberty, free markets and aconfident foreign policy.”Although D.C. police have listed theassault against him as a hate crime,LaSalvia acknowledged that he andGOProud have emerged as critics of thefederal and state hate crimes laws.“We do not oppose hate crimes laws butI happen to think they’re a waste of timebecause they don’t do anything to preventviolent crimes from occurring and theyhave outlasted their usefulness,” he said.According to LaSalvia, hate crimes lawswould have been useful in the past, whenstate and federal law enforcement officialsoften did not prosecute crimes targetinggays and other minorities such as blacks.He said those days are all but gone, andauthorities now routinely prosecute crimesagainst gays and other groups, even if theyare not officially classified as hate crimes instates that don’t have hate crimes laws.The Obama administration and acoalition of Democratic and Republicanmembers of Congress that voted topass the Matthew Shepard Hate CrimePrevention Act in 2009 said the lawcould act as a deterrent to hate crimesby drawing attention to such crimesand building strong opposition to hateviolence in society.Activists supporting the federal hatecrimes law also noted that it includesprotections for transgender people.Activists said the transgender community,along with gays and lesbians, couldnow rely on the federal government toprosecute anti-LGBT hate crimes if a stateor local law enforcement agency declinesto prosecute such crimes against them.LaSalvia said he is aware that D.C.’shate crimes law, as well as similar laws inother states, allow judges to hand down astricter sentence to criminals convicted of committing a hate crime.“My argument is I’m fine with thatbut it didn’t do anything to deter himfrom doing it,” he said of the youth whoattacked him. “And that’s my whole pointabout why did we spend so much politicalcapital for [the federal hate crimes law]when, OK, it’s retribution, but it still doesnothing to prevent hate crimes.”
GOProud leader victim of anti-gay assault
02 • JULY 22, 2011LOCAL NEWS
‘Why did we spend so much political capitalfor [the federal hate crimes law] when, OK, it’sretribution, but it still does nothing to preventhate crimes,’ said GOProud’s
,who was attacked this week near Union Station.
Obituary: Joey Piccolo, 48
Former Washington resident Joey Piccolo died July 6 in Miami of liver canceraccording to his friend, Malcolm Stallons.Piccolo, who worked as a gay escort and was known in gay porn circles as“Storm,” was born in New York City in August, 1962. He was kicked out for beinggay when he was 17, he’d once told Stallons, “because I liked boys instead of girls.”After several years working as an escort in D.C., where he met Stallons, Piccolomoved to South Carolina in 2000 to be near his father. Later he moved to Key West.Stallons eventually wrote a book about his years in D.C. with the gay escort scene.Piccolo helped him compile it. It was eventually published as “Mack and the Boys.”
JULY 22, 2011 • 03
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