Victory Institute Celebrates Announcement of Harvey Milk Stamp

article-2601824-1D016A8B00000578-290_233x383Gay & Lesbian Victory Institute President and CEO Chuck Wolfe issued the following statement today regarding the first-day-of-issue dedication ceremony of the Harvey Milk forever stamp, set to take place at the White House on May 22:

“Harvey Milk urged LGBT people to seek public office because he understood the power of elected officials to create change. Since his high-profile election in San Francisco, thousands of LGBT people around the world have responded to his call to serve their own communities by seeking elected and appointed office, and indeed that is helping to change our world. We applaud President Obama and his administration for opening the White House to this historic occasion, and we are especially grateful to the Harvey Milk Foundation and everyone who worked to make this possible. We hope the issuance of the Harvey Milk stamp will inspire a new generation of young LGBT leaders to choose careers in public service and continue his important work.”

Milk is the first out official ever to be featured on a forever stamp

The Victory Institute is the nation’s largest resource for openly LGBT candidates and public officials, providing training and executive development to help them win public office and serve effectively. Learn more at www.victoryinstitute.org.

U.S. Sending Experts to Uganda to Refute Anti-LGBT Bigotry

data=VLHX1wd2Cgu8wR6jwyh-km8JBWAkEzU4,qMake2l2rgD6Mbrm2RDfWIFCxHo03EqD0IzGyEUB9jsDbuOoYNkkUevVpxAhoKDcGsXYCEUsbrSTNYsM1qsMOrroih0--OYFl7hSoHwcoXh6QJKyuiK6kp6J33_9PfURfwoBueYdTQvcKLlEd0Q_Ifs3bojSecretary of State John Kerry announced his intentions to send experts on homosexuality and LGBT issues to Uganda, in an effort to revert that country’s controversial Anti-Homosexuality Act. The act, which Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni signed into law in February, imposes lifetime prison sentences for same-sex sexual activity between consenting adults and penalizes anyone who “aids or abets” the LGBT community. Museveni pointed to dubious reports made by Ugandan lawmakers with “medical backgrounds” as basis for the legislation, concluding that homosexuality was a confluence of one’s environment and active recruitment from others.

At a Town Hall meeting this week, Kerry said Museveni has expressed a willingness to receive the U.S. experts and consider their input on the nature and science of homosexuality. “He committed to meet with some of our experts so that we could engage in a dialogue as to why what he did could not be based on any kind of science or fact, which he was alleging,” said Kerry, as detailed in a Buzzfeed report. Kerry invoked that the response is part of a new strategy employed by the State Department of taking a “tailored approach” to address the numerous countries that have enacted severe anti-LGBT laws.

Since the signing of the bill, international organizations and governments have condemned Museveni and withdrawn their support from Uganda: a number of European nations have suspended aid, and the World Bank has halted the distribution of $90 million in healthcare loans.

Following Kerry’s announcement, MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow pointed to the influence of American evangelicals in Uganda as a catalyst for rising anti-LGBT sentiment. She noted that this violent rhetoric might have roots in a 2009 conference organized by American proselytizers and held in Uganda on the evils of the LGBT community. A prominent speaker at the event, Massachusetts minister Scott Lively, is facing international persecution charges for crimes against humanity, alleging that he was instrumental in the oppression of LGBT individuals in Uganda. “Our government is apparently about to embark on a rather fascinating experiment in real science and real diplomacy in a faraway country that a number of Americans had a real hand in really, really screwing up,” she said on her show Tuesday.

Senate confirms Levy as U.S. District Judge for Michigan

Judith LevyThe United States Senate on Wednesday confirmed Judith Levy as U.S. District Judge in the Eastern District of Michigan, an area that covers cities including Detroit, Ann Arbor, and Flint.

President Obama nominated Levy, who is openly gay and has three children, in July of 2013 to fill the judgeship. Levy’s confirmation means that all positions are now currently filled in Michigan.

Levy is a former trial attorney with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in Detroit, where she specialized in civil rights cases including fair housing, police conduct, and disability law. She won multiple awards for her work with housing issues in the state.

Prior to her appointment, Levy served as the director of the University of Michigan’s Law School’s Public Interest/Public Service Faculty Fellows. She also served as the Assistant U.S. Attorney in Eastern Michigan since 2000 and was the Chief of the Civil Rights Unit since 2010.

Colombia elects first openly LGBT member of Congress

Angelica Lozano Angèlica Lozano Correa was elected to Colombia’s House of Representatives on Sunday, becoming the first openly LGBT candidate ever elected to the country’s Congress.

Lozano, who ran as a member of the Green Alliance Party, garnered over 30,000 votes in her bid to represent the capital region of Bogotá. As a former lawyer, city councilwoman in Bogatá, and mayor, she has been an advocate for LGBT and woman’s rights throughout her career.

Recently, Lozano collaborated with the Victory Institute during the planning and implementation of the organization’s work in Colombia. She was a member of the Advisory Committee for the Institute’s first international training in May 2013 in Bogotá, Colombia, where she discussed her life as an LGBT elected official and activist. She also participated in a public event that ran concurrently with the training alongside Victory Institute President & CEO Chuck Wolfe.

Lozano’s election means there are now 13 senators and 7 representatives that are LGBT or allies of LGBT policies within Colombia.

Victory Fund breaks monthly candidate endorsement record

February's 35 endorsed candidatesToday, the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund – the nation’s largest resource for out LGBT individuals in politics – endorsed 35 candidates for public office. This is the organization’s largest slate of endorsements since its founding in 1991.

“We are proud to have endorsed our largest slate of candidates for public office this month,” said Torey Carter, chief operating officer at the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund. “This slate of LGBT candidates illustrates our community’s political diversity with candidates of three political parties (Democrat, Republican, and Independent). For the 2014 cycle Victory has endorsed 71 out LGBT candidates and we expect to endorse more than 200 out LGBT candidates this year.”

Endorsed Candidates
James Michael Bowers – Candidate for State Senate, Nebraska
David Catania – Potential Candidate for Mayor, District of Columbia
Adam Ebbin – Candidate for Congress, Virginia
Ryan Fecteau – Candidate for State Representative, Maine
Ennio Garcia-Miera – Candidate for Village Council, New Mexico
Dan Innis – Candidate for Congress, New Hampshire
Steve Kirkland – Candidate for Civil Judge, Texas
Joan McBride – Candidate for State Senate, Washington
Rob Nosse – Candidate for State Representative, Oregon
Chris Remmes – Candidate for State Representative, Massachusetts
Marque Snow – Candidate for School Board, Nebraska
Claire Snyder Hall – Candidate for State Senate, Delaware
Richard Tisei – Candidate for Congress, Massachusetts
Jon Tollefson – Candidate for State Representative, Minnesota
Hina Wong Kalu – Candidate for Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Hawaii

Incumbent Endorsed Candidates
Nicki Antonio – Candidate for State Representative, Ohio
Kevin Beiser – Candidate for School Board, California
Tim Carpenter – Candidate for State Senate, Wisconsin
Justin Chenette – Candidate for State Representative, Maine
Luke Clippinger – Candidate for Delegate, Maryland
Karla Drenner – Candidate for State Representative, Georgia
Joan Garner – Candidate for County Commissioner, Georgia
Rich Gordon – Candidate for State Assembly, California
Kevin Lembo – Candidate for Comptroller, Connecticut
Andrew McLean – Candidate for State Representative, Maine
Chris Pappas – Candidate for Executive Council, New Hampshire
Jill Ravitch – Candidate for District Attorney, California
Joaquin Rivera – Candidate for Board of Education, California
Deb Ruggiero – Candidate for State Representative, Rhode Island
Joe Saunders – Candidate for State Representative, Florida
Carl Sciortino – Candidate for State Representative, Massachusetts
Patricia Todd – Candidate for State Representative, Alabama
Rich Waterman – Candidate for City Council, California
Suzi Wizowaty – Candidate for State Representative, Vermont
Ken Yeager – Candidate for County Supervisor, California