Speed Read: Friday 6 December 2013

1-    SERIOUS JEOPARDY: Some media reports indicate that a House-Senate committee is getting close to a two-year budget agreement to head off another round of automatic sequestration cuts. The impact, whatever Congress ultimately agrees on, is expected to be felt far and wide. We asked officials at Howard Brown Memorial Clinic in Chicago what another round of sequestration cuts would mean to them. “HBHC’s ability to continue to serve patients would be seriously jeopardized,” said David Dodd, communications manager for the LGBT community-based clinic. “The cut in funding for the Ryan White Care Act, the federal law which provides funding for HIV treatment and prevention, would translate into a potential waiting list for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) which provides life-saving medications to those living with HIV….HBHC would also have to reconsider and/or cut funding to meet the current demand for care including adding medical providers which directly impacts our ability to provide comprehensive care to persons living with HIV.”

2-   NO GAY GOP SEATS? A U.S. House Republican from Virginia is catching heat for talking up a proposal to withhold contributions to the Republican campaign organization if that organization backs any openly gay candidates. Politico.com reported yesterday that “more than a half-dozen sources with direct knowledge of the talks” told the political news website that Rep. Randy Forbes is pushing the idea to punish the National Republican Congressional Committee if it backs gay candidates. There are at least two openly gay Republicans planning bids for Congressional seats next year –Richard Tisei in Massachusetts and Carl Demaio in San Diego.

3-   REACTION IS HOSTILE: “You either want Republicans to win or you don’t — it’s as simple as that,” said national Log Cabin Republican Executive Director Gregory Angelo yesterday in reaction to the report on Forbes’ proposal. “Apparently, Congressman Forbes does not. Thankfully, the real GOP leaders in the House know how to pick winners, and their money is on Richard Tisei and Carl DeMaio.” Politico reported that House Speaker John Boehner has rebuffed Forbes’ idea and thinks the party should support gay candidates. It also quoted NRCC Chair Greg Walden as saying, “Our decisions on the Republican nominees we support will not be based on race, gender or sexual orientation….”

4-   MANDELA’S LEGACY: South Africa’s legendary leader Nelson Mandela passed away yesterday, at 95. The Human Rights Campaign issued a statement noting that Mandela was an “outspoken advocate for LGBT equality. He appointed an openly gay judge to South Africa’s High Court of Appeal and during his presidency, South Africa became the first nation in the world to constitutionally prohibit sexual orientation-based discrimination.”  Rea Carey, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, called Mandela “an inspiration to the millions of people who yearn for freedom across the world.”

5-   17 PERCENT IN WASHINGTON: Associated Press reported yesterday that between December 6 of last year and September, 17 percent of Washington State’s marriages were same-sex couples. Of the 7,071 same-sex couples who married in Washington State during that period, 62 percent were female couples. In Massachusetts, 8,181 same-sex couples married during the first year that state allowed them to obtain marriage licenses. And between May 2004, when same-sex couples began marrying in Massachusetts, and the end of 2012, a total of 22,406 same-sex couples have married in the state.

6-   MICHAUD’S MOTHER PASSES: U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud’s office issued a press release last week, reporting that the congressman’s mother, Jean Michaud, died of natural causes November 27. She was 79.

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