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Religious Right Stopped
in Its Tracks by Voters


Historic Democratic Gains Made Nationwide

First Openly Gay Candidate
for Congress Elected

Results from NGLTF

By Jack Nichols

Political analysts of every stripe agree that voters in yesterday's mid-term elections have effectively notified the Republican party they prefer political moderates to erstwhile right-wing religious ideologues. Though the Republicans still retain a slim lead in the U.S. Congress, Democrats have made startling mid-term election history with unexpected gains.

kolbe.gif - 15.70 K Rep. Kolbe Openly gay representatives Barney Frank (D-MA) and Jim Kolbe (R-AZ) were reelected. "We have lived through one of the most vitriolic and hostile years in recent memory for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people. With the first-ever election of an out lesbian non-incumbent to Congress, it's clear that we're moving forward, even in a time of great backlash from the right wing," stated Kerry Lobel, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

Among the most significant races won by Democrats were those in California and New York. On the west coast Californians re-elected Barbara Boxer, a Democrat to the U.S. Senate and, for the first time in three decades placed a Democrat, Gray Davis, in the Governor's seat. For the second time in a row, Representative Sanchez defeated former Congressman Dornan. Dornan had spearheaded many anti-gay bills and amendments while in Congress. bdornan.gif - 23.17 K Homophobe Dornan
loses again

New York's Democratic contender, Chuck Schumer won his U.S. Senate race against 18-year Republican incumbent Al D'Amato. D'Amato had wrangled a controversial endorsement from the Human Rights Campaign and others, including conservative New Republic editor, Andrew Sullivan who had called HRC's D'Amato endorsement "a brave, pioneering and shrewd decision."

In Florida, where the Oral Majority and Space Coast Lesbian and Gay Alliance had worked jointly to promote the passing of Amendment 9, there was jubilation. The groups had petitioned Governor-elect Jeb Bush to support the Amendment prior to the election and to repudiate anti-gay violence. He sent—in the last days of the campaign-- an E-mail to the gay and lesbian activists. It said:

"I condemn violence and support Amendment #9 as its drafters have intended it -- to protect against the discrimination of women and those of different national origin."

Amendment 9, which seeks to guarantee equality to the sexes, to every nationality and to the physically disabled, had been opposed by religious fanatics who feared—as their "homo-scare" campaign put it-- that it would open the door to homosexual marriages and adoptions. The Amendment, in fact, makes no mention of same-sex relationships.

"This is a stunning defeat for the Christian Right," said Oral Majority President, Bob Kunst. "They'd used the same dirty campaign to stop ERA in 1976 with Anita Bryant and Jerry Falwell. Now this mini-ERA has sailed through with an overwhelming majority—66%--demanding equality for everyone.

"Now is the time to support the proposed March on Congress on January 6," said Oral Majority's Bob Kunst, " to demand passage of hate crimes legislation. "The Oral Majority is planning to take a Gay Freedom Ride bus from Miami to Washington so that people can urge their representatives to pass this important legislation face to face."

baldwin3.gif - 21.49 K Tammy Baldwin In Minnesota, Tammy Baldwin, a openly lesbian candidate for the U.S. Congress defeated her Republican opponent. Ms. Baldwin, therefore, now becomes the nation's first openly gay U.S. Congresswoman elected to office.

"Tammy Baldwin ran a brilliant campaign based on her solid record of experience as an elected official, and she will make Wisconsin proud for years to come," HRC Executive Director Elizabeth Birch said from Baldwin's campaign headquarters in Madison, where she spent Election Night.

"We could not be more proud over this victory. Baldwin's election is a testament to how far our society has moved toward understanding and accepting gay people as full and valued members."

Baldwin, a Democrat who served three terms in the Wisconsin Legislature, defeated Republican Josephine Musser, the state insurance commissioner.

Birch said voters repudiated the GOP's rightward move, which was characterized by anti-gay rhetoric and advertising on the campaign trail and by a flurry of anti-gay legislation and pontification on Capitol Hill. "American voters rejected the mean-spirited, anti-gay positions that have been expressed throughout this election season, and registered their dissatisfaction at the polls," Birch said.

"In most cases where the voters had a choice, they picked the moderate, fair-minded candidate. This should be a clear message to the Republican leadership: Extreme right candidates don't make good candidates. The GOP must stop taking orders from religious political organizations, including the Christian Coalition and the Family Research Council."

This past summer, right wing Republican members of Congress introduced a stream of anti-gay measures, all of which were defeated. This spate came on the heels of Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott's equating homosexuality with alcoholism, sex addiction and kleptomania.

Activists nationwide are optimistic that the defeat of several anti-gay candidates bodes well for the 106th Congress. Coupled with the election of many fair-minded candidates and incumbents, there is hope the new Congress will quickly act on such important legislation as the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and the Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

Three other gay and lesbian candidates have, apparently, not fared well. Paul Barby (D-OK), Grethe Cammemeyer (D-WA) and Christine Kehoe (D-CA) will, according to early results, lose their bids to win House office.

Voters in South Portland, Maine passed local ordinances banning sexual orientation discrimination. Two other cities, Fayetteville, Arkansas and Fort Collins, Colorado defeated anti-discrimination initiatives.
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Grethe Cammemeyer

(Result of a civil rights initiative in Ogunquit, Maine was not in as of 12:30am.) "We recognize that the struggle for full equality is a long-term one. The victory in Maine is a reminder of the importance of perseverance. And win or lose in Hawaii and Alaska, we will continue to fight for full equality, including the freedom to marry, until we succeed," said Lobel.

Results of anti-gay marriage initiatives in Hawaii and Alaska have not yet been reported, though polling numbers suggest they may pass.
National Gay & Lesbian Task Force Reports:

Gay and Lesbian Congressional Candidates (Non-Incumbent)

Tammy Baldwin (D) vs. Josephine Musser (R) - Wisconsin 2nd Congressional District
Baldwin wins (57% to 43% - not all precincts reporting)
Baldwin, an out lesbian, is a three-term state legislator.

Paul Barby (D) vs. Rep. Frank Lucas (R) - Oklahoma 6th Congressional District
Lucas wins (66% to 33% - not all precincts reporting)
Barby ran unsuccessfully for this seat in 1996, though he garnered nearly 40 percent of the vote and carried Oklahoma Country.

Christine Kehoe (D) vs. Rep. Brian Bilbray (R) - California 49th Congressional District
Kehoe wins (54% to 44% - not all precincts reporting)
Kehoe was the first out elected official in San Diego. She has served on the San Diego City Council since 1993.

Grethe Cammermeyer (D) vs. Rep. Jack Metcalf (R) - Washington 2nd Congressional District
Metcalf wins (54% to 46% - not all precincts reporting)
Cammermeyer is a retired army colonel who successfully challenged her dismal from the military after having truthfully answered a questions pertaining to her sexual orientation.

Gay Congressional Candidates (Incumbent)

Rep. Barney Frank (D) vs. N/A – Massachusetts' 4th Congressional District
Frank is an openly gay, progressive incumbent. He is a consistent voice and vote on issues of concern to the GLBT community. Frank ran unopposed.

Rep. Jim Kolbe (R) vs. Thomas John Volgy (D) - Arizona 5th Congressional District
Kolbe wins (52% to 46% - not all precincts reporting)
Kolbe is an Employment Non-Discrimination Act co-sponsor. He also fought the Hefley Amendment, which would have overturned the Executive Order protecting federal employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Marriage Ballot Initiatives

Hawaii - Results pending

The Hawaii ballot initiative likely will lead to a ban on same-sex marriage. Voters cast ballots on two initiatives. The first would amend the state's constitution to empower the legislature to reserve marriage to opposite sex couples. The second would call for a constitutional convention to be convened - where an explicit anti-gay marriage ban could be mandated. In a 1996 ruling, a Hawaii court ruled that there is no valid reason for denying same-sex couples the freedom to marry. The government appealed that decision to the Hawaii Supreme Court, and a final decision is expected any time. This vote will essentially nullify the expected positive court decision.

Campaign Contact Information:
Protect Our Constitution Steve Okino, Communications Director
(808) 739-6263 -- Campaign office

Alaska - Results pending

In Alaska, voters elected to amend the state Constitution to limit the definition of marriage as only between one man and one woman. The initiative was in reaction to a ruling by the state¹s Superior Court (Brause v. Alaska) this past February in Alaska determining that the denial of same-sex marriage violates privacy and equal protection under the state¹s constitution.

Campaign Contact Information:
No on 2 Allison Mendel, Co-Chair
(907) 561-3767 -- Campaign office (907) 441-7854 -- Cell phone

Ballot Initiatives (non-marriage)

South Portland, Maine: Anti-discrimination ordinance passed (54% to 46%) Ogunquit, Maine: Anti-discrimination ordinance ­ results not in Fayetteville, Arkansas: Anti-discrimination ordinance failed (60% to 40%) Fort Collins, Colorado: Anti-discrimination ordinance failed (63% to 37% - not all precincts reporting)

South Portland, Maine - passed

This ordinance prohibits acts of discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, or the extension of credit. In February, Mainers voted 51 percent to 49 percent to repeal a state law (passed in 1997) banning anti-gay discrimination. In South Portland, 60 percent of the voters favored keeping the state law. This year the South Portland City Council decided to put the issue directly to the voters rather than having the council vote on the ordinance.

Campaign Contact Information:
Larry Bliss, South Portland Citizens for Justice
(207) 831-2471 -- phone

Ogunquit, Maine - pending

Referendum question 4 amends the Ogunquit Municipal Code to ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in the areas of employment, housing, public accommodations, and the extension of credit. In response to the repeal of Maine¹s statewide civil rights law banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, activists with Concerned Citizens of Ogunquit gathered enough signatures to have a human rights ordinance modeled after the statewide non-discrimination bill placed on the November 3rd ballot.

Campaign Contact Information:
Hal Feldberg, Concerned Citizens of Ogunquit
(954) 561-0032 Temporary Contact # in Florida

Fayetteville, Arkansas - failed

Resolution 51-98,the Fayetteville Human Dignity Resolution, would have added the categories of sexual orientation and familial status to the City of Fayetteville¹s non-discrimination policy for public employees. Last spring, the city council passed this non-discrimination resolution. The mayor vetoed it, and in a rare move the council overrode the mayor's veto, effectively enacting the resolution as law. A local group affiliated with the Christian Coalition gathered enough petition signatures to put the measure up for a vote.

Campaign Contact Information:
Anne Shelley, Campaign for Human Dignity Campaign Manager
(501) 571-4825 -- phone

Fort Collins, Colorado - failed

Ordinance 22 would have added sexual orientation to the city¹s non-discrimination law covering employment, housing, and public accommodations. The city council and mayor enacted the ordinance into law last spring. Shortly thereafter right-wing opposition groups gathered enough signatures to have the measure referred to the ballot in the hopes of defeating them in November.

Campaign Contact Information:
Chris Morris, Ft. Collins Citizens for Human Rights Campaign Coordinator
(970) 221-3247 -- phone

Closely Watched Senate Races

Senator Al D'Amato (R) vs. Charles Schumer (D)
Schumer wins (55% to 45% - not all precincts reporting)

Chuck Schumer will become the new junior senator from New York. He defeated Senator Alfonse D'Amato (R-NY) in one of the most contentious campaigns in the country. While D'Amato recently made overtures to the GLBT community, his staunch anti-choice votes have angered many in the GLBT, feminist, and other progressive communities.

Senator Barbara Boxer (D) vs. Matt Fong (R)
Boxer wins

Boxer is a staunch advocate of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender civil rights and reproductive choice. Fong has stated that he believes marriage should be between a man and a woman. He has also stated that he does "not support the [gay] lifestyle" and that that he does not support "homosexual behavior." Fong believes "Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided," and he opposes public funding and late-term abortions, and supports a parental consent requirement.

Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D) vs. Robert Dornan (R) ­ California 46th Congressional District
Sanchez wins (56% to 41% - not all precincts reporting)


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