Speed Read: Wednesday 4 December 2013

1-    FRANK BACKS MICHAUD: Former U.S. Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) is backing openly gay U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud (D-Maine) in his bid for the Maine governorship. Frank, who retired after many terms representing a district in Massachusetts, now lives in Ogunquit, Maine, with his husband Jim. “When Mike recently came out in a forthright, honest way,” wrote Frank in a fundraising letter to potential supporters, “I was extremely proud to think that Maine could make history by electing the first openly gay governor in the country.” The letter may help neutralize the news last month that longtime Maine lesbian activist Betsy Smith was endorsing independent candidate Eliot Cutler.

2- GAY MAN CONSIDERS D.C. MAYOR’S OFFICE: Long-time D.C. Councilman David Catania has formed an exploratory committee to consider challenging incumbent Democratic Mayor Vincent Gray next year, according to a Washington Post report yesterday. Catania, the first openly gay person elected to the D.C. Council, began his career as a Republican but switched to independent in 2004 over the party’s opposition to allowing same-sex couples to marry. Catania would not have to run in next April’s Democratic primary.

3- SUTLEY DEPARTING: The openly gay chair of the president’s Council on Environmental Quality announced Tuesday that she will leave her post in February. A statement from the White House noted that Nancy Sutley has been in her position for five years, playing “a central role in overseeing many” of the Obama administration’s environmental accomplishments. “Her efforts,” said the president, “have made it clear that a healthy environment and a strong economy aren’t mutually exclusive – they can go hand in hand.”

4-   SKATER APOLOGIZES:  Former Olympic skater Johnny Weir apologized yesterday for calling activists opposing the Russian laws against homosexuality “idiots.” Weir aimed the slur at protesters outside his speech Monday night at a university in New York City. Queer Nation-NY organized the demonstration to pressure NBC, for whom Weir works as a figure skating analyst, to report on the anti-gay laws in the Olympic host country. In a column for a suburban Virginia newspaper Tuesday, Weir said he feels “a great deal of remorse for allowing myself to insult other people, fighting in their own way, and for using insulting words instead of my usual cheerleading antics for one and all.”

5-   SUPPORTING FAST: The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force issued a statement of support yesterday for a high-profile fast taking place outside the U.S. Capitol and across the country by activists pressuring Congress to approve immigration reforms. “We are united with these friends and allies in demanding justice for the over 11 million undocumented immigrants — more than a quarter of a million of whom are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender — who long for a pathway to citizenship and access to the American Dream,” said NGLTF official Javen Swanson.

6- BADGERS BEAT GOPHERS: Lesbian U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin won a “friendly wager” against U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar over the rivalry game between the University of Wisconsin Badgers and the University of Minnesota Gophers November 23. Klobuchar owes Baldwin a Jennie-O turkey and rice dish for that loss. They also bet on the Minnesota Vikings-Green Bay Packers game the following day but that one ended in a tie.


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