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Washingtonblade.com - Volume 43, Issue 20 - May 18, 2012

Washingtonblade.com - Volume 43, Issue 20 - May 18, 2012

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Published by: Washington Blade Newspaper on May 17, 2012
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Obama inspires othersto support marriage, asexperts debate impact of announcement
By CHRIS JOHNSONcjohnson@washblade.com
President Obama’s endorsement of marriage equality last week has beenheralded as a milestone that inspired andexhilarated LGBT people throughout thecountry. Now, the practical implications of his words are being analyzed and debatedby supporters.LGBT advocates and political observershave different views on the social,political and legal ramifications of theannouncement as they agreed that Obamabecoming the first president to supportmarriage equality was historic in nature.Richard Socarides, a gay New Yorkattorney who advised former PresidentClinton on LGBT issues, said the culturalimplications of Obama’s endorsement of same-sex marriage are substantial becauseit marks “a very positive” turning point onLGBT rights.“I think having the president on recordin favor of this goal is very important, andI think it will help shape the discussion thatwe’re having as a country about this, and Ithink it’ll help it in a very positive direction,”Socarides said.Jeff Krehely, vice president for LGBTprograms at the Center for AmericanProgress, said the social implications of Obama’s announcement are huge becausethe endorsement triggered conversationsand additional support for marriage equalitythat otherwise wouldn’t have happened.“That has a huge impact on the countryon the issue, and the lives of gay people,too, who hear something that is very clearand very reassuring and very welcomed,”Krehely said.
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OUR COMMUNITY, OUR STORIES SINCE 1969
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Rep. Johnson places chief of staff on leaveafter email disparaging gay colleague
By CHRIS JOHNSONcjohnson@washblade.com
The chief of staff for a longtime Texas congresswoman has
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about an email he wrote disparaging a gay staff member.Eddie Reeves, spokesperson for the campaign of Rep.
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the lawmaker’s chief of staff, has been placed on indefiniteleave effective Monday and that Johnson would pursue anindependent investigation of his actions.The announcement follows Blade inquiries about anemail from 2010 apparently written by Gokcigdem, abouta gay staffer in the office, the late Christopher Crowe, who
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assistant to the undersecretary of budget and tax.The email, titled “Chris Crowe update,” is dated June2, 2010 and was apparently intended for Johnson butaccidentally sent to Crowe. It was obtained earlier this
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Gokcigdem wrote that he learned Crowe was among four
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a letter of recommendation from the congresswoman.The chief of staff writes that Crowe had friends within theadministration and suggests that other LGBT people helpedhim in the hiring process because he wasn’t sufficientlyqualified to have advanced that far otherwise.“It is my personal belief that he has contactsthere,” Gokcigdem writes. “And they, as a group watchingand supporting each other if you know what I mean.”The 29-year-old gay staffer became ill with meningitisand died of a staph infection that damaged his heart beforehe could secure the position.Reeves said the lawmaker decided on Monday to putGokcigdem on indefinite leave after she learned about theemail as she was traveling back to Texas.“Based on what she’s heard from different people onher staff, she decided the best course of action to do is putMurat on leave pending an investigation,” Reeves said.Reeves said Johnson has already informed Gokcigdem
CONTINUES ON PAGE 16 CONTINUES ON PAGE 12
President Obama’s endorsement of marriage equality has inspired other politiciansand celebrities to come out in support, including Reps.
STENY HOYER
and
JIM
 
CLYBURN
and
WILL SMITH
and
JAY-Z.
See page 14 for more.
PrideTime

headline Festival;Trans and Black Pridegetting underway.
PAGES 4 & 29
Hill staffer under investigation
‘Leadership matters’
Back tothe Beach
Summer season bringsnew restaurants, otherchanges to Rehoboth
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PAGE 32
 
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202.745.7000 |
www.whitman-walker.org 
 
For more of 
 
 June’s
story, visit
 
whitman-walker.org/mystory.
Our Stories. Our Community.
 June |
WWH volunteer 
“ 
e women that I have met through Whitman-Walker Health lets me know that there ishope. It has forever changed my life…and I have had many women tell me that it changed their life as well. For me, Whitman-Walker will always represent a safe welcoming place.” 
 
WASHINGTONBLADE.COM
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