In 2003, Rev. Roland Stringfellow, who had served as pastor of a fundamentalist Baptist church in Indiana for a decade, resigned quietly rather than face his African-American congregation and explain that he was a gay black man.
"At that time, the best thing was not to proclaim it," Stringfellow told ABCNews.com. "When it comes down to being a black man, oftentimes we are forced to make a decision, 'Is my community or family more important than my own well-being?' We choose to live in silence and play the role, living on the down low."
Today, 39, and living in San Francisco, Stringfellow belongs to a more socially liberal church and hopes to be married one day. He is openly fighting California's Proposition 8 - a ballot initiative to outlaw recently legalized gay marriage - and cultural prejudices in his own community.
But Stringfellow's views may not be typical of most minorities in California, who could hold the key to the future of gay marriage in the most populous state in the nation. If passed, it will amend the state constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman.
There were rumors for years, but they were widely ignored in Austria, a conservative nation not much interested in prying into the private lives of its leaders. Now, grieving over the death of Jörg Haider, the charismatic far-right politician, the country has been forced to confront directly the question of his sexuality after his political successor asserted that Mr. Haider had been “the man of my life.”
“We had a special relationship that went far beyond friendship,” the successor, Stefan Petzner, a former fashion and cosmetics reporter, said Sunday in a highly emotional interview on Austrian Radio 3. “Jörg and I were connected by something truly special. He was the man of my life.”
Mr. Petzner, 27, took over the Alliance for the Future of Austria after Mr. Haider, 58, died in a car crash on Oct. 11. He had been drinking at what has been reported as a gay club before flipping his car at nearly twice the legal speed limit.
Terrorist strikes on four American cities. Russia rolling into Eastern Europe. Israel hit by a nuclear bomb. Gay marriage in every state. The end of the Boy Scouts.
All are plausible scenarios if Democrat Barack Obama is elected president, according to a new addition to the campaign conversation called "Letter from 2012 in Obama's America," produced by the conservative Christian group Focus on the Family Action.
The imagined look into the future is part of an escalation in rhetoric from Christian right activists who are trying to paint Obama in the worst possible terms as the campaign heads into the final stretch and polls show the Democrat ahead.
Only one member of Georgia’s 15-member Congressional delegation — Rep. John Lewis, a Democrat from Atlanta — scored a perfect 100 on a new report tracking their votes and sponsorships of gay and transgender issues. Six members of the state’s delegation received a score of zero.
The scores are part of the biennial scorecard from the Human Rights Campaign for the 110th Congress, which for the first time included both the Senate and House passing hate crime legislation that includes provisions for sexual orientation and gender identity. In the 110th Congress, senators increased their average score from 41.7 percent to 55.4 percent, while House members upped their scores from 40.5 percent to 47.9 percent.
There's more after the jump.
Only one member of Georgia’s 15-member Congressional delegation — Rep. John Lewis (photo), a Democrat from Atlanta — scored a perfect 100 on a new report tracking their votes and sponsorships of gay and transgender issues. Six members of the state’s delegation received a score of zero.
The scores are part of the biennial scorecard from the Human Rights Campaign for the 110th Congress, which for the first time included both the Senate and House passing hate crime legislation that includes provisions for sexual orientation and gender identity.
Ellen DeGeneres had a message for Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin on her talk show Wednesday: "We should all be equal."
The TV host took aim at the Alaska governor for favoring a federal ban on gay marriages.
Trevor Potter, a former chair of the U.S. Federal Election Commission who is gay, is serving as the top lawyer for the presidential campaign of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).
As the campaign’s general counsel, Potter has been identified by newspapers such as the New York Times and Washington Post as one of the nation’s most highly regarded experts on U.S. election laws. Potter has been credited with helping draft the McCain-Feingold Act, a bipartisan federal measure that reformed federal campaign finance laws.
But few mainline news outlets have reported on Potter’s other role as a high-level, openly gay adviser to McCain.
Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin says she supports a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, a break with John McCain who has said he believes states should be left to define what marriage is.
In an interview with Christian Broadcasting Network, the Alaska governor said she had voted in 1998 for a state amendment banning same sex marriage and hoped to see a federal ban on such unions.
Eight judicial candidates -- five running for seats in DeKalb and Fulton counties -- were endorsed by the statewide gay rights group Georgia Equality ahead of the Nov. 4 election.
The candidates were among 21 that sought the backing of Georgia Equality, according to Southern Voice. Adoptions by gay parents play a role in at least two of the races.
There's more, including a list of endorsed candidates, after the jump.
Sen. Barack Obama’s presidential campaign is seeking help from gay voters to win some surprising new battleground states in November’s election.
Dave Noble, who is in charge of mobilizing the gay vote for Obama, said Democrats are “really expanding the map and there are states in play for Barack Obama that haven’t been in play for Democrats in years past.”
Foremost among the new competitive states in this year’s election is Virginia, which has not been claimed by a Democratic presidential candidate since President Lyndon Johnson won the state in 1964. A Rasmussen poll published Monday found Obama leading Republican presidential nominee John McCain in Virginia, 50-47.
Tim Riley, a gay Democrat, is looking to blaze a new trail in his largely rural district in North Georgia. He's running for the state Senate and if successful, will become only the second openly gay member of the Georgia General Assembly.
A candidate for the District 47 seat in the Georgia Senate, Riley has been quietly running as an openly gay man and said it hasn’t been an issue in his largely rural district. Senate District 47 includes half of Athens/Clarke County and large swaths of the surrounding countryside, including the small towns of Jackson and Madison.
“To be honest with you, no one is fighting me on gay issues, and I think finally, finally we are opening up,” Riley said. “I’m just very hopeful that the tide is changing slowly but surely.”
Riley is running against Ralph Hudgens, the Republican incumbent, on the Nov. 4 ballot.
Allan H. Spear, a former Minnesota state senator who was one of the nation's first openly gay legislators, has died. He was 71.
He died Saturday of complications after heart surgery performed Thursday, said Don Jorovsky, a longtime friend who used to work for Spear.
Spear, a member of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party — Minnesota's version of the Democratic Party — was first elected in 1972 and was state Senate president from 1993 to 2000, when he retired. He was the first non-attorney to lead the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Was Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice considered and later dropped as a possible vice presidential pick by top advisers to GOP presidential nominee John McCain because of persistent rumors that she’s a lesbian?
The Republican candidate for President of the United States has declined to say how he would protect families headed by lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans Americans.
The Family Equality Council, an advocacy group for LGBT parents, wrote to Senator McCain and his Democratic nominee Senator Barack Obama in July.
FEC asked both candidates to outline their plan to "recognise, respect, protect and celebrate all of the loving families [they] seek to represent."
Georgia Equality, the statewide gay rights group, issued endorsements today in a handful of state legislative races.
The Georgia Equality board of directors has voted to endorse candidates in 11 general election races. Endorsements fell into two categories: Good Incumbents and Candidates for a Fair Majority. The former category is made up of incumbents facing challengers where the incumbent has demonstrated his or her commitment to the LGBT community through votes or involvement. Candidates for a Fair Majority endorsed candidates are candidates running in open seats or against incumbents who are not supportive of the LGBT community.
Read the list of Georgia Equality's endorsed candidates after the jump.
Senator Hillary Clinton addressed guests via satellite Saturday night at the Human Rights Campaign annual fund-raiser in Washington D.C. in place of vice presidential candidate Senator Joseph Biden, who cancelled all his weekend campaign events due to his mother-in-law becoming critically ill.
Clinton told the room of nearly 3,000 people it was a "privilege" to fill in for Sen. Biden because of the work she had proudly done with HRC is previous political battles. "Together with the Human Rights Campaign on the front lines, we took back the Congress in 2006 and together we're going to take back the White House," she said.
Watching the vice presidential debate, you might have gotten the impression that Sarah Palin supports civil rights for same-sex couples. During an exchange on the topic, both she and Joe Biden said they oppose gay marriage. But Biden added that he and Barack Obama favor granting gay couples many of the same benefits—hospital visitation rights, health benefits—that married couples enjoy. Palin was tougher to pin down. She clearly didn't want to appear intolerant, but neither did she want to seem to embrace gay rights. "[N]o one would ever propose, not in a McCain-Palin administration, to do anything to prohibit, say, visitations in a hospital or contracts being signed …" she said.
With about a month to go before we pick a new president, the stakes are high. So it's no wonder that the Human Rights Campaign is a bit cranky when it comes to John McCain.
The group condemned McCain for his answers in a gay press Q&A this week.
"John McCain’s answers to those well written questions do nothing but insult the intelligence of the LGBT community," says Joe Solmonese (photo), HRC's president. "Senator McCain’s double speak fools no one. At the end of the day, his policies haven’t changed at all."
There's more after the jump.
The Human Rights Campaign condemned Sen. John McCain's recent interview with a gay newspaper, criticizing the Republican presidential candidate for "insulting the intelligence of the LGBT community."
"John McCain’s answers to those well written questions do nothing but insult the intelligence of the LGBT community," says Joe Solmonese, HRC's president. "Senator McCain’s double speak fools no one. At the end of the day, his policies haven’t changed at all."
UPDATE: Biden-Palin debate touches on gay issues.
The Log Cabin Republicans, who have endorsed Senator McCain for president, have defended Alaska Governor and running mate Sarah Palin after she told CBS' Katie Couric in an interview aired Tuesday night about a longtime friend of hers and the "choice" that person made to be gay.