The Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington, D.C., (GLAA) launched its 2013 Election Project Monday, Jan. 28, releasing a policy brief on local issues of importance to the LGBT community and a questionnaire that will be used to determine ratings for D.C. Council candidates seeking the at-large seat made open by the elevation of Councilmember Phil Mendelson (D) to chairman.
The policy brief outlines action items that would expand or protect current District laws with regard to equality for LGBT individuals, couples and families.
The brief runs the gamut, from family issues like marriage, adoption and surrogacy, to health concerns such as HIV/AIDS, to profiling, particularly of transgender residents under controversial ''prostitution-free zones.'' The brief also supports reform of liquor-licensing procedures that allow relatively tiny groups of people to hinder some businesses' ability to operate.
''It is a tribute to the strength of coalition efforts in the District that 'Agenda: 2013' reflects input from allies across the District's entire LGBT community and its supporters,'' GLAA President Richard J. Rosendall said in a statement. ''The resulting policy brief is the most comprehensive single document advancing LGBT issues in D.C.''
The bipartisan organization also emailed its questionnaire to the eight candidates who will appear on the April 23 ballot for the at-large seat on the D.C. Council. The questionnaire incorporates many of the policy issues highlighted in GLAA's brief and asks candidates to describe their positions and how their political records or involvement with the LGBT community back up their policy positions.
The candidates for the seat are expected to return the questionnaire by Thursday, Mar. 7, at which point GLAA members will rank the responses.
Among the candidates vying for the at-large seat are Democrats Anita Brown, the appointed incumbent; former Independent Councilmember-turned Democrat Michael A. Brown, who lost to Councilmember David Grosso in 2012; lawyer Paul Zukerberg, who's running on a platform of decriminalizing marijuana; Elissa Silverman, a former reporter for The Washington City Paper and The Washington Post; and Republican and current Ward 1 D.C. Board of Education member Patrick Mara.