Lamba Line: March 2004

VOTE JOHN KERRY FOR PRESIDENT!


New York Democratic Presidential Primary


Tuesday, March 2nd
Polls Open 6AM-9PM
Don’t Know Where to Vote? Call 212-NYC-VOTE.

L.I.D. Comes Out For Kerry


At the January 26th Annual Meeting, L.I.D. became the first LGBT political club in New York City to endorse John Kerry for President in the March 2nd New York Primary. The endorsement was big news, garnering front-page coverage in both Gay City News and The Park Slope Courier.

Club members heard presentations from representatives of all but two candidates, and had a lively discussion, before voting by nearly a 2-to-1 margin to support Kerry over runner-up Howard Dean. Kerry certainly wasn’t considered a shoo-in, and in a sign of respect for the club, most campaigns sent high-powered supporters to address us. Former Public Advocate Mark Green was the primary speaker for Kerry; Dean’s New York State Campaign Chair Ethan Geto spoke on his behalf; Bronx City Councilmember G. Oliver Koppell represented John Edwards; former Brooklyn City Councilmember Sal Albanese appeared for Wesley Clark; and 14th Congressional District delegate candidate Danielle Feris spoke for Dennis Kucinich.

Ultimately members were compelled by Kerry’s long record of support for the LGBT community, his achievements as a Senator, his overall progressive agenda, as well as his ability to beat George Bush. In terms of our community, Kerry holds a 100% rating from the Human Rights Campaign, and his leadership dates to his first year in the Senate (1985), when he introduced a bill prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Not only has he co-sponsored key legislation like the federal Hate Crimes Prevention Bill, Employment Non-Discrimination Act, and Ryan White CARE Act, but Kerry has also called for an end to the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, and was one of 14 senators — and the only one up for reelection in 1996 — to oppose the Defense of Marriage Act. For more information on Kerry’s record, go to his campaign web site at www.johnkerry.com.

Since the L.I.D. endorsement, the field of Democratic candidates has thinned and the momentum has firmly swung Kerry’s way. Nonetheless there’s still work to be done to ensure a Kerry victory on March 2nd. Our President, Dan Tietz, was among three busloads of New Yorkers for Kerry who went door-todoor speaking to voters in New Hampshire the weekend before that state’s Primary. Now is your chance to do the same here in relatively balmy Brooklyn. To volunteer, please e-mail us at
LID@LIDBrooklyn.com.

Don’t Forget the Delegates


Once you cast your vote for a presidential candidate, you can vote for a number – typically five – of delegates. Voting for all the candidates committed to your presidential candidate does not help either the presidential candidate or any of the delegates. Here’s how it works: Once the presidential vote in your congressional district is tallied, the delegates are allotted proportionately to that vote. So say Kerry gets 60% of the vote, Dean 20%, and Edwards 20%. This means in a five-delegate congressional district, Kerry gets three delegates, Dean one, and Edwards one. Which delegates? The top vote-getters. That is, the single Dean delegate will be the delegate candidate listed under Dean who receives the highest vote. If you vote for all five Dean delegates, you haven't helped one of those delegates win over the others, and the delegate vote has no effect on the presidential preference vote. So you should be voting for only delegates you really want elected, and you should be voting for delegates under several presidential candidates’ names.

Delegates do more than support a nominee at the convention – they also work on the party platform and intra-party rules. So if you back delegates supporting several candidates, you ensure that no matter who becomes the nominee, progressive delegates will be working for our issues at the highest levels of the Democratic Party.

We urge you to pull the lever for the following L.I.D. members who are running for delegate in the March 2nd Primary: Renée Cafiero (Dean), Scott Klein (Clark), and Lori Knipel (Edwards) in the 11th Congressional District; Ken Diamondstone (Dean) in the 10th CD; and Bob Zuckerman (Gephardt) in the 12th CD. Also three L.I.D. members are running for alternate delegate: Andrew Kurzweil (Kerry) in the 9th CD, and Bill DeBlasio (Edwards) and Chris Owens (Dean) in the 11th C.D. Please note, however, that voters in each district only get to vote for one alternate delegate candidate.

Beyond the Primary: Beat Bush in November


In mid-January L.I.D. co-sponsored a forum called “Brooklyn Rallies to Beat Bush.” Although speakers included representatives of each major Democratic Presidential campaign, all agreed on one thing: regardless of whom we support now, we must be willing to work hard to help the eventual nominee beat Bush in November’s General Election. Speakers enumerated some of the countless reasons George Bush must be stopped, from his dismantling of social services, to his irresponsible tax cuts for the rich, to his trumped up war on Iraq, to his violation of the environment, to his weakening of Medicare, to his defense of heterosexual marriage, to his attacks on the Constitution itself. As a progressive, reformist club L.I.D. must unite with other Democrats to stop Bush’s regressive, dishonest, homophobic administration. Speaking of Bush’s defense of heterosexual marriage, recent events in San Francisco and Massachusetts have caused him step up his rhetoric on the issue. He told the Associated Press on February 19, “I have watched carefully what's happening in San Francisco, where licenses were being issued, even though the law states otherwise…I have consistently stated that I'll support [a] law to protect marriage between a man and a woman. Obviously, these events are influencing my decision…Marriage ought to be defined by the people, not by the courts.” Of course the people Bush envisions creating the definition would be the Republicans in Congress, not friends of ours.

L.I.D. Elects a New Exec Board


Also on the agenda at the January 26 Annual Meeting was the election of L.I.D.’s 2004 Executive Board. Congratulations to: Dan Tietz, President; Peter Fleming, Vice President; Scott Klein, Treasurer; Renée Cafiero, Secretary; Beverly Copeland, Gary Parker, Christopher Murray, Alan Fleishman, Ken Diamondstone, Harley Diamond, Seth Slade, Joe Tanzi, and David Shanton, Members-At-Large. The newly elected Executive Board is currently working on updating the L.I.D. bylaws and will present those changes in an upcoming membership meeting. We're also planning a joint forum with Empire State Pride Agenda on same-sex marriage, possibly in late March. We will be encouraging our sister clubs, Central Brooklyn Independent Democrats and Independent Neighborhood Democrats, to co-sponsor.

Help Harley Run


On Sunday, February 29, Richard Malanga and Rodney Gordon will host a kick-off fundraiser for L.I.D. Board Member Harley Diamond’s Civil Court campaign (www.harleydiamond.com). Harley, who just completed three years as L.I.D.’s Treasurer, is running for Civil Court Judge, Boroughwide. He will be the first openly gay male to run boroughwide in Brooklyn. Harley has been an attorney for 17 years, has worked in private practice and in governmental service, has served as an Administrative Law Judge with the Parking Violations Bureau, and was an Arbitrator in Small Claims Court. In addition he has taught Constitutional Law at The New School for Social Research and Employment and Labor Law at Fordham Graduate School of Business. We hope you will join Richard and Rodney in giving Harley's campaign a rousing kick off on February 29, 1:00-3:00 p.m. at 53 South Portland Avenue, Fort Greene. RSVP: 866-273-5065 or info@HarleyDiamond.com.

Demand Equal Benefits


On February 27 at 10:00 AM, the Equal Benefits Bill will have its second City Council Contracts Committee Hearing at City Hall. Councilmember Christine Quinn (D-Manhattan) introduced the bill to require that the City only do business with companies who provide the same benefits to their employees with domestic partners as they provide to employees with spouses.

The bill’s first hearing in November went well, but as the bill moves through the legislative process, it is critical to continue to demonstrate its wide support. L.I.D. is a member of the Equal Benefits Bill Coalition and we encourage members to attend the hearing on the 27th. To RSVP or for more information, call Carin Mirowitz in Councilmember Quinn’s office (212) 564-7757 x105 or e-mail carin.mirowitz@council.nyc.ny.us.

Defend Same -Sex Marriage


While same-sex marriage is a front-page issue around the country, New York’s State Legislature has thus far ducked the subject. As we reported last month, both S.3816 and A.7392, the Senate and Assembly  ills that would legalize marriage for same-sex couples, were passed off to their respective Judiciary committees last spring.

In an effort to start the momentum for marriage equality in New York State, L.I.D.’s 2003 Peter Vogel Award winner, State Senator Tom Duane (D/WFP-Manhattan), has called a public forum on the topic for March 3rd. He hopes the event, at the Legislative Office Building in Albany, will spur both houses of the legislature to move on the bills and begin a serious discussion of providing equity to all New York State families.

Senator Duane is soliciting testimony from same-sex couples, their families, legal and social policy experts in the area of same-sex unions, elected officials and advocates from across New York. He also encourages members of the community to attend the forum, which will take place from 9:30AM-2:00PM in Hearing Room A of the Legislative Office Building. For further information please visit Senator Duane’s web site at www.tomduane.com or contact his counsel, Mark Furnish, at (518) 455-2451 furnish@senate.state.ny.us.

Thompson Wields Pension Fund’s Power


In early February, New York City Comptroller Bill Thompson announced that four more Fortune 500 companies have endorsed shareholder resolutions submitted on behalf of the New York City Employees’ Retirement Fund (NYCERS) to include sexual orientation in their non-discrimination policies. This brings to 17 the number of companies that have made this change due to the City’s effort. The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, the El Paso Corporation, the Smurfit-Stone Container Corporation, and the Masco Corporation are the latest companies to notify Thompson that they are revising their Equal Employment Opportunity Policies to explicitly prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation. Accordingly, Thompson has withdrawn the shareholder proposals.L.I.D. applauds Comptroller Thompson – who is Brooklyn’s own – and his fellow members of the NYCERS board for using the Fund’s shareholder power to fight workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation. Among those serving with Thompson on the NYCERS board are City Finance Commissioner Martha Stark, Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum, and Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz (Brooklyn).

Phil Saperia Speaks Out


Former L.I.D. Board member Phil Saperia, who served as Director of The Mayor’s Office of Jewish Community Affairs in the Dinkins Administration, has a wonderful first-person article in a recent issue of VOICES, the journal of the Kolot Chayeinu synagogue. Phil is a member of Kolot Chayeinu, a progressive Jewish congregation in Brooklyn. In the article he tells of the political dilemmas he faced as Mayor Dinkins’ liaison to the Jewish Community two years after the Crown Heights riots. And he shares the surprising outcome of having his sexual orientation publicized and denounced by the Jewish Press. The article entitled, “Catching Up with Myself” can be read online on Kolot Chayeinu’s web site: www.kolotchayeinu.org/voices_1103.pdf.

2004 Lunch with Lambda


Our annual Spring fundraising lunch is tentatively scheduled for April 17 at Aunt Suzie’s restaurant in Park Slope. We still welcome suggestions of potential honorees and also appreciate any volunteers who wish to help with the event. Please e-mail us at LID@LIDBrooklyn.org.

Calendar:


Friday, February 27, 10:00 a.m.

NYC Council Contracts Committee Hearing on the Equal Benefits Bill, City Hall, Manhattan.
Saturday, February 28, 7:00-11:00 p.m.

Open Tent, a fundraiser for Kolot Chayeinu congregation, Grand Prospect Hall, Park Slope. Tickets $108. For more information e-mail opentent@kolotchayeinu.org or call Andrew Stettner at (347) 432-0904.
Sunday, February 29, 1:00-3:00 p.m.

Friends of Harley Diamond (former L.I.D. treasurer) Civil Court Campaign Kick-off Fundraiser, home of Richard Malanga and Rodney Gordon, 53 South Portland Avenue, Fort Greene. RSVP: 866-273-5065, info@HarleyDiamond.com.
Wednesday, March 3, 9:30 a.m.-2:00 p.m.

Public Forum on Same Sex Marriage, Hearing Room A, Legislative Office Building, Albany.
Thursday, March 4, 7:00-10:00 p.m.

The Park Slope Civic Council 2004 Community Forum "Atlantic Yards Development Project", a discussion of the impact on the surrounding areas, P.S. 282 Auditorium, 180 Sixth Avenue (between Berkeley and Lincoln Places) Park Slope. For more information visit www.ParkSlopeCivicCouncil.org.
Friday & Saturday, March 12 & 13, 8:00 p.m.

EmilyTreehouse Shakers presents “Under Covers,” and Gina Young presents a new theater piece entitled “god in a girl,” Brooklyn Arts Exchange, 421 Fifth Avenue, 3rd Floor, Brooklyn. Phone: (718) 832-0018, www.bax.org.

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