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Santa Fe, New Mexico has elected the city’s first openly gay mayor on Tuesday when Javier Gonzales won the election beating out two others. The 47-year-old vice president of a real estate firm also chaired the state’s Democratic Party. His win is being widely contributed to the support he received from businesses as well as his grass-roots campaigning, which consisted of over 70 house parties and eight community “conversations.” “This campaign was never about me. It was about us,” he told his supporters alongside his two daughters. “I stand before you humbled. I stand you before standing on the shoulders of people like Mayor Coss and my father and so many who have been before in this position to say that I am ready to accept the responsibility and the honor of being your mayor,” he said.
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For gay right’s activists, there may be more victories than expected in the wake of Jan Brewers veto. Arizona State Senator Steve Gallardo has come out as gay, and he attributes the decision — at least in part—to the recent fight in his state over SB 1062 (the bill that would allow business owners to deny LGBT people service).
Said the senator in an announcement held in the Arizona Senate Caucus room, “After I stood up on the floor and argued against 1062, as I’ve done on many bills before, I sat down and said, ‘Wow. This bill affects me. It affects me directly.'”
He notes that the decision has received mixed reaction from his family and friends. That is, his family wonders “why [Gallardo] has to do this,” while his friends’ attitude is more along the lines of “it’s about time.”
This year, Gallardo will run for US House of Representatives in Arizona’s 7th congressional district.
Categories: arizona, Politics arizona, comes out, congress, gay, House of Representatives, Jan Brewer, Politics, sb 1062, senator, state, steve gallardo
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We told you a little over a month ago that the former-American Idol Clay Aiken was planning a Congressional run in North Carolina, and now the rumors have proven true. The reality show star will try to obtain Rep. Reneee Ellmers seat. There’s already good news for Aiken. His announcement has immediately reshaped the race with Houston Barnes, planning to withdraw and support Aiken. The openly gay single father’s only opponent is Keith Crisco and Toni Morris as his primary opponents.
All right, how many Claymates are going to register as Democrats in North Carolina?
Watch his video announcement after the jump…
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President Obama issued his fifth State of the Union and focused heavily on his successes as a President, but also about both social and economic inequality that is defining America. “Inequality has deepened. Upward mobility has stalled,” he told the crowd. He continued by issuing a new plan to strengthen the middle class with or without the help of Congress, a theme he held throughout. A more determined and unapologetic Obama also criticized government gridlock, and said he’d continue to work with mayors, governors, and local government officials about issues that range from homelessness to marriage equality. Obama said that job growth will only come through investing in state-of-the-art technology, conservation, and increasing energy independence.
“Debate is settled, climate change is a fact,” Obama said demanding better and stricter CO2 emissions laws. The President remained positive on education by hoping to help cap student loans, increasing early childhood education, and connecting schools with high-speed Internet.
Keep reading after the jump about what he had to say about women and sexual orientation…
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Openly gay singer Clay Aiken has his sights set on once again trying to win America’s votes, but this time not for another singing competition, but for a seat in Congress, according to sources. The American Idol runner-up seems to be seriously vying for a seat in D.C. to represent North Carolina’s 2nd congressional district. The 35-year-old father of one, who is originally from Raleigh, has already spoken to political operatives in D.C. According to the Washington Blade: “One Democratic source said Aiken made phone calls to gauge support, talked to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and has met with figures in Raleigh, N.C., about a potential bid. Although it’s unclear when Aiken might formally announce a decision, the source said Aiken is ‘actively considering’ it and ‘sounding and acting like a candidate.'”
All right Claymates, get ready to vote!
Categories: Entertainment, north carolina, Politics American idol, Clay Aiken, congress, election 2014, gay, Gay Congressman, gay North Carolina, gay singer, singer
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Dick Cheney’s daughters have taken center stage in the national debate on gay marriage as a heated disagreement surfaced this week regarding Liz Cheney’s support for “traditional” marriage. That’s news to her sister, Mary, who is openly gay and tied the knot with her wife in Washington D.C. in 2012 with Liz in attendance. Liz is pursuing a Senate seat in Wyoming and first voiced her stance on the issue in August.
She has been defending it ever since, both publicly and privately. The nation got a glimpse into that private sphere after Liz appeared on “Fox News Sunday” over the weekend and said she supports “traditional marriage.” Mary and her wife, Heather, responsed on Facebook saying that Liz was “dead wrong” and “offensive” in her comments. While Liz tried to brush the conflict aside as “just an issue on which we disagree,” Mary was insistent that Liz’s views have been hurtful and harmful to their relationship. Mary told the New York Times that she hasn’t spoken to Liz since last summer.
Meanwhile Dick Cheney and his wife, Lynne, are trying to figure out how to sort through a fundamental family disagreement that has now gone so public. The parents issued a statement clarifying that Liz has always been against gay marriage, perhaps in a last-ditch effort to salvage her campaign. Liz has been criticized for changing her views to appeal to constituents. Dick, the former Vice President who first voiced support for gay marriage in 2009 (legalized by states and not at the federal level), is scheduled to appear alongside Liz on Wednesday in Denver for a campaign fundraiser according to the New York Times.
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“Pure Life” has a sinister meaning to those in Pakistan, whose aquifers are threatened by demand for the bottled water brand of the same name. An alert issued by Sum of Us spells out a classic case of environmental injustice as a major corporation–Nestlé, which owns Pure Life–pads their profits by exploiting the natural resources of a vulnerable population. The alert points to the Pakistani village of Bhati Dilwan, which faces a water table that has sunk by “hundreds of feet” because of Nestlé’s activities. It also mentions problems with water contamination caused by the prospecting and Pakistanis stricken with illness from a spoiled water supply.
Nestlé owns more than 70 percent of bottled water brands in the world according to Bottled Life, a documentary about the company’s bottled water business. The label “Pure Life” is Nestlé’s term for mineral-infused purified groundwater mined in developing countries. When Nestlé sells bottled water from Europe or the United States, it typically markets that fact right on the bottle because these sources are considered more desirable to consumers. But when it takes groundwater from a developing country, it simply uses the “Pure Life” label to obscure the water’s origins. And it works–Pure Life is the best-selling brand of bottled water in the world.
Sum of Us is spearheading a petition to Nestlé demanding that they cease harmful operations in Pakistan. The petition is rapidly approaching its goal of 400,000 signatures.
Categories: Business, businesses, Gay Travel, petition, Politics, protest bottled water, environmental justice, Nestle, Pakistan, petition, scarcity, water
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On the leadership front, Europe is setting the prime example for equality as Xavier Bettel, the openly gay mayor of Luxembourg City, seems set to become the continent’s second openly LGBT prime minster, following the lead of Belgium’s Elio Di Rupo, who became the first in December of 2011.
If Bettel is successful in forming a coalition government in Luxembourg by next month, he’ll be firmly positioned to assume the country’s highest political office and his partner Destenay Gauthier will join him in the Prime Minister’s official residence.
While the fact that Di Rupo and Bettel’s political achievements are an inspiring symbol of progress and equality for the LGBT community in Europe and across the globe, what may be even more inspiring is the how little discussions of their sexuality have permeated the spheres of media and politics in Europe.“Society is changing and what would be considered as not normal is fully normal nowadays. You can live your life as yourself and be considered as you are,” Bettel said in an interview with Buzzfeed. “I never hid [my sexuality]. It’s a fact. I am like I am and I want to be honest with myself and honest in politics.”
Bettel also told Buzzfeed that he has plans to legalize same-sex marriage within the next year, continuing Europe’s progressive track record.
Categories: Europe, Gay Travel, Politics Elio Di Rupo, Europe, european union, gay leaders, gay Prime Minister, LGBT politics, Luxembourg, world politics, Xavier Bettel
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Missouri Governor Jay Nixon announced at a news conference on Thursday that the state of Missouri will now accept joint tax returns from gay couples married in other states, according to a Columbia Tribune report.
Missouri state law requires couples that file joint federal tax returns to do the same when filing state returns. In his executive order, Nixon clarifies that the term “couple” now refers to all legally wed pairs as a response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s DOMA ruling.
While Nixon stated that the executive order does not affect the legality of same-sex marriages in Missouri, he did note that his own views on same-sex marriage have evolved and hopes that the state will have an opportunity to revisit the issue.
“Many Missourians, including myself, are thinking about these issues of equality in new ways and reflecting on what constitutes discrimination,” Nixon said, according to the Tribune report. “For me, that process has led to the belief that we shouldn’t treat folks differently because of who they are.”
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Maine Congressman Mike Michaud who is challenging Maine’s Governor Paul LePage announced that he is gay. Despite running in over a dozen elections, the representative said that his sexuality has never been questioned. “I ran for office 17 times and it’s never been an issue. However, someone or some group definitely tried to make it an issue in this campaign, and I decided to put it right out there on the table,” he told the AP. The 58-year-old has kept such a tight lip on his private life that not even his mother was aware of his orientation. Hoping to silence what he called “whisper campaigns, insinuations and push-polls,” Michaud came out publicly in an op-ed piece. “It was a difficult decision to tell my sister and my mother,” Michaud said. His announcement may be ultimately help his campaign by attracting more liberal voters concerned about both his “blue dog” image and his votes on abortion, according to the AP. This announcement may also see the influx of donations from gay rights groups. The coming out now brings the total of gay and lesbian congressmen to seven and only one senator, while there are currently no openly gay governors.