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washingtonblade.com - volume 42, issue 30 - july 29, 2011

washingtonblade.com - volume 42, issue 30 - july 29, 2011

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Published by: Washington Blade Newspaper on Jul 28, 2011
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JULY 29 2011 VOLUME 42 ISSUE 30 •
Motive for killing unclear;police seek community’s help
By LOU CHIBBARO JR.lchibbaro@washblade.com
More than 200 people turned out July 23 for a vigil tohonor Lashai Mclean, a 23-year-old transgender woman
who was shot to death three days earlier in NortheastWashington.The event took place at the site where police sayMclean was gunned down about 4:30 a.m. near the cornerof 61st and Dix Streets, N.E. Among those attending were
Mclean’s mother and other grieving family members and
relatives.Deputy D.C. Police Chief Diane Groomes, who spoke at
the vigil, said later that homicide detectives are pursuinginformation provided by a witness that the fatal shootingtook place shortly after two unidentified males “had some
words” with Mclean in an alley shortly before she was shot.“The motive is still not clear to us,” Groomes told theBlade after the vigil. Groomes said police haven’t found
evidence of either a robbery or a hate crime in the early
stages of the investigation.Neighborhood residents and passersby looked on withinterest as more than a dozen speakers, including D.C.Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Paul Quander, condemned
the murder and called on the community to speak out
against violence targeting the transgender community.
Emotional vigil for trans woman
‘Don’t Ask’ repeal allows
gay service membersto become ‘whole’
By CHRIS JOHNSONcjohnson@washblade.com
For the first openly gay assistant secretary at
the Pentagon, helping to advance “Don’t Ask,Don’t Tell” repeal implementation has been apersonally rewarding experience.In an exclusive interview with the WashingtonBlade, Douglas Wilson, the DefenseDepartment’s assistant secretary for publicaffairs, said Tuesday that his role in bringing
about the change has had particular significancefor him because of his admiration for the nation’s
armed forces.
“It’s meant a lot to me personally becauseit’s been an opportunity to help realize changein an institution that I respect tremendously,”
Wilson said.The process leading to gays serving openly inthe U.S. military, Wilson said, has been important
to him because he knows there are people inuniform who feel they “couldn’t be whole” as
they served under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
“I know what it’s like to feel like you’re not a
whole person,” he said. “This is why as the process
of repeal took place, and then the process of certification took place, that was something that
personally I kept upper-most in my mind. An
institution that has done so much for people,that has produced so many outstanding people,that has done so much for the country itself couldunderstand and recognize how important it is to
Obama certifies‘Don’t Ask’ repeal
is the first openly gay assistant secretary at the
Maryland governor sayshe will sponsor 2012 billto enact marriage equality
after disappointing 2011.
Fans of ManyColors
Dolly Parton’s mostpassionate fans explain
her lasting gay appeal
on eve of D.C. concert.
A personal victory forgay Pentagon official
was shot
to death last week.
Governor criticized for lowprofile on 2011 measure
By PHIL REESEpreese@washblade.com
ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Flanked bylawmakers and members of a broadcoalition of Maryland LGBT leaders, Gov.Martin O’Malley last week announced thata law legalizing same-sex marriage wouldbe part of his 2012 legislative package.After a disappointing 2011 session formarriage equality advocates in Maryland,ending with the death of a Senate-passedmarriage bill in the lower house, thegovernor came out in favor of a bill thathe said would address “religious freedomand protect marital equality rights equallyunder the law.”O’Malley’s press conference signals thathe may take a more active role in leadingon marriage equality legislation. He wascriticized earlier this year for not taking amore visible role in support of the 2011 bill.“I’m supportive of this bill in the upcomingsession, and so supportive that I’ve decidedto make it one of the handful of bills that willbe an administrative priority.”When asked by a reporter if his own viewson marriage equality had changed, thegovernor said, ”I have always believed in thedignity of every individual. I believe in ourown responsibility to advance the greatergood. And I also understand that there is aunity of the spirit and matter, and that whatwe do in our own lifetimes does matter.”He continued, “As a free and diversepeople of many faiths, we choose to begoverned under the law … governed bycertain principles and beliefs. Amongthem, equal protection of the law for everyindividual and the free exercise of religionfree of interference from government.Other states have found a way to protectboth of these fundamental beliefs.Therefore in the 2012 legislative sessionI will sponsor legislation that protectsreligious freedom and protects maritalequality rights equally under the law.”While taking questions, O’Malleyemphasized that while he supported civilunions in the past, he’s always believed inequal protection under the law. He alsobrought up the victory for marriage equalityin New York, and noted that process willinfluence strategy in Maryland as well.“Each state learns from the otherstates,” the governor said. “I would like tothink that in New York, they learned fromour experience, and we will learn fromtheir experience.”He continued, “New York showed youcould protect religious freedom and youcan protect rights equally and that’s whatwe’re going to do with this bill.”When asked about the influence themomentum from New York had on hisdecision to hold last week’s press conference,O’Malley said the bill’s prospects arestronger because the coalition pushing thebill is much better developed.“I think the broad nature of this coalitionis something I’m very much encouragedby and by the success in New York. Itis a fundamental truth that with everyaccomplishment, further accomplishmentsappear possible. When New York wasable to bring people together — and doit by the way, in a bi-partisan way — andwere able to bring into their coalition…a number of religious leaders.” He said,“We still have a lot to do, and this coalitionis important, and this is the way to get itdone, and certainly New York’s success inaccomplishing the marital equality bill inNew York was something encouraging toeveryone, including myself.”There had been some speculationwithin the Maryland LGBT communitythat a second chance for a 2011 successmay surface in the state’s October specialsession for redistricting, but the governorwas quick to dismiss that strategy.“I think most of us are focused on theupcoming regular session, and I thinkthat time will be well used to broaden thiscoalition,” O’Malley said.When asked what he thought aboutthe possibility of opponents of marriageequality bringing a referendum to theballot undoing any new law, O’Malleysaid, “It’s their right under the laws,” butadded that he is focused on getting thelaw passed by a broad coalition of leadersfrom throughout the civil rights andreligious communities so that such effortswould not gain traction.During the press conference, severallawmakers took the podium to emphasizethe size and scope of the new coalition topass a bill legalizing same-sex marriage inthe Free State.Marylanders for Marriage Equality, a newgroup, announced earlier this month a majorcoalition to begin a statewide effort to pressfor passage of a marriage equality bill in 2012.The coalition includes Progressive Maryland,1199 Service Employees International Union,Communications Workers of America,American Federation of State, CountyMunicipal Employees (AFSCME), AmericanCivil Liberties Union of Maryland, EqualityMaryland, the Human Rights Campaign,Pride in Faith, Maryland Black Family Allianceand Catholics for Equality.“Many during the past session said thiswas not a civil rights issue,” said Sen. RobertJ. Garagiola, (D-Montgomery Co). “I don’tsee how you can’t look at it as a civil rightsissue. You just look at our history — Americanhistory, Maryland history — we had lawson the books that discriminated betweendifferent races, and right now we have lawson the books that discriminate between twoloving people. To me it’s the same exactthing.”“We had a little bit of courage from oneRepublican in the Maryland Senate, AllanKittleman,” the senator continued. “Tome this is an issue where Democrats andRepublicans should come together.”“The governor is saying this is what’sright,” said Del. Benjamin Barnes (D-AnneArundel & Prince George’s County). “We’rea nation founded on equality, and whenyou deny certain individuals their rightsunder marriage, you deny them certainfundamental equal rights. This governor issaying this is not just, and we’re going tohave equality in the state of Maryland.”Ezekiel Jackson of the ServicemembersEmployee International Union local 1199of Maryland and the District of Columbiawas in Annapolis to announce the union’sinvolvement with the coalition taking thelead on passing marriage in 2012. Jacksonclaims SEIU’s membership on the coalitionmakes sense because families should nothave to leave the state of Maryland inorder to get married and take advantageof the benefits marriage affords.Many members of the Maryland LGBTCaucus were on hand to praise thegovernor as well, including Sen. RichardS. Madaleno Jr. (D-Montgomery County),and Del. Maggie McIntosh.The only openly gay member of theSenate, Madaleno enthusiastically tookthe microphone to praise O’Malley forpledging to lead in passing marriageequality in Maryland.“This is probably going to be thesecond most exciting moment that I havehad in this room,” Sen. Madaleno said.“And it will only be surpassed by themoment within the next nine months thatwe will stand here, with [the governor],pen in hand, to sign into law the marriageequality bill.”“Maryland, in history, is the seventhstate in the union to have embraced theConstitution,” Madaleno pointed out.“And in the next nine months, we willbe the seventh state in this country toembrace marriage equality.”Del. McIntosh, Maryland’s first openlygay lawmaker, and former majority leader,has known O’Malley throughout hispolitical career, beginning with his timeon the Baltimore City Council. “All of usin the legislature who are openly gaymembers would like to thank you for yourleadership, Gov. O’Malley,” she said atthe press conference. “Your sponsorshipand your willingness to continue towardmarriage equality in Maryland means somuch to so many families in Maryland. Sowe’re going to win!”When asked how the LGBT Caucus ismapping out its strategy with the governorand who has taken the lead, McIntosh toldthe Blade that, while the members of theLGBT Caucus have yet to meet with thegovernor over this bill, officially, she andMadaleno have been working with thegovernor’s chief legislative officer, Joe Bryce.“Obviously Sen. Mandeleno and I havehad conversations with the governor,and many of our colleagues have hadconversations with the governor urginghim to take the lead,” McIntosh said. “Wewill work with Joe Bryce going forward,probably looking at the New York law,looking at ours — ours was only two orthree votes short — so is there somethingwe can tweak. We have to all be on thesame wavelength about that. But wewill introduce a bill, and I think we willabsolutely work with his office.”
O’Malley backs 2012 push for marriage equality
02 • JULY 29, 2011LOCAL NEWS
Maryland Gov.
at a pressconference last week announcing his support fora 2012 marriage equality bill.
JULY 29, 2011 • 03
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