Speed Read: Friday 4 October 2013

1-    BIDEN BOWS OUT, CITING SHUTDOWN: Vice President Joe Biden’s office informed the Human Rights Campaign Thursday that he would have to back out of his keynote appearance at the group’s annual national dinner in Washington, D.C., October 5. The news came less than a week after the nation’s largest LGBT political group announced Biden’s appearance at the sold-out event. The White House’s liaison to the LGBT media was out of the office Thursday due to the “lapse in appropriations” and a recorded message at the vice president’s media office indicated that, due to the government shutdown over budget wrangling, only emergency calls would be returned. But HRC spokesman Fred Sainz told the Washington Blade that the cancellation was due to the shutdown.

2-   SPORTY BOOST FOR OREGON: The chief executive officer of the Oregon-based Columbia Sportswear company announced Tuesday (Oct. 2) that he endorses a 2014 ballot initiative to allow same-sex couples to marry in Oregon. The Portland-based Willamette Week reports that Tim Boyle took no position in 2004 when voters passed a constitutional amendment to ban marriage for same-sex couples. Most publicly traded companies, notes the paper, “steer clear of controversial political issues out of fear of alienating customers and shareholders.” Columbia’s stock this week was trading at roughly $60 per share.

3-   DISSECTING QUINN’S LOSS: The New York Times produced a 30-minute documentary examining lesbian New York official Christine Quinn’s unsuccessful bid to become the city’s first woman and first openly gay mayor. Quinn had been ahead in the polls for months for the Democratic nomination but saw her numbers drop dramatically just a month out from the voting in September. The 30-minute documentary, “Hers to Lose,” is an intimate portrait that provides a generous amount of private moments behind the scenes. Refreshingly, it doesn’t just explain why Quinn tanked, it illustrates it –filming such moments as Quinn deflecting questions from constituents who clearly liked her but didn’t like her support for Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s third term. It also illustrates that “haters” played a role. The video can be viewed here.

4-   LPAC GETS INTO MASS. GOVERNOR’S RACE: The Democratic primary is a year away, but apolitical action committee organized by lesbians in 2012 is soliciting donations now for Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley’s campaign for governor. The PAC and Coakley got a boost from lesbian legal powerhouse Mary Bonauto of Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders. Bonauto sent out an email alerting her friends to the October 10 LPAC fundraiser in Brookline, Mass., where Coakley will appear.

5-    LPAC CLIMBING A TOUGH ROAD: The new lesbian political action committee LPAC is attempting to succeed where an earlier “National Lesbian PAC” fell short. The latter PAC was formed in Washington, D.C., in 1996 but raised less than $17,000 per cycle and shut down by 2000. But the 2012 Federal Elections Commission “Two-Year Summary” filed by LPAC shows it raised $783,204. It transferred $211,830 to EMILY’s List’s independent project to rally women voters (Women Vote!) and $100,000 to Priorities USA Action, which includes “LGBT Issues” as one of its 13 “priorities.” So far in the 2014 cycle, LPAC has raised $216,981.

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