Michael Crawford

Obama Campaign Announces New GLBT Endorsements

Filed By Michael Crawford | March 11, 2008 8:28 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: Barack Obama, Democrats, election 2008, endorsed candidates, gay rights, LGBT, LGBT steering committee

The Barack Obama campaign just announced a list of 40 prominent GLBT activists who have endorsed Obama's campaign for the presidency. The list includes state and municipal elected officials, the leadership of the AFL-CIO's Pride at Work initiative, and prominent equal rights activists from states holding upcoming primary contests.

Senator Barack Obama's campaign rolled out a new swath of 40 national LGBT supporters, adding to the original list of about 60 queer supporters they announced last year. (The new list is available at the end of this article).

"This continues to show the momentum that the Obama camp is demonstrating in all different slices of the electorate," said Eric Stern, who has been actively courting gays and lesbians to join the Obama team.

Stern said the new additions would be reaching out to people based on their particular spheres of influence - be they elected officials, transgender activists, or union leaders. "This isn't just a list," he said, "it's a group of individuals, all of whom are highly skilled and bring a tremendous amount of experience and knowledge to the campaign."

Read Barack Obama's platform on GLBT civil rights.

Jeanette Mott Oxford, Missouri State Representative, District 59-St. Louis City

Wilson Cruz, Actor, Los Angeles, CA

Kevin Jennings, Founder and Executive Director, Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN)

Donna Rose, Former Board Member of the Human Rights Campaign; Former member of the Hillary Clinton for President LGBT Steering Committee; Transgender Activist

Jeremy Bishop, Executive Director, Pride at Work (AFL-CIO)

Ian Palmquist, Executive Director, Equality North Carolina; Immediate Past Chair, Equality Federation

Jo Kenny, Development Director, Pride at Work (AFL-CIO)

Stephen Glassman, Chairman, Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission

Hans Johnson, President of Progressive Victory

Craig Bowman, Former Executive Director of National Youth Advocacy Coalition

Donna Cartwright, Communications Director, Pride at Work (AFL-CIO)

Perry Nelson, Founder, Gateway Stonewall Democrats (St. Louis, MO)

Ben Turner, Co-Founder and Former Co-Chair of the Capital Region Stonewall Democrats (Harrisburg, PA)

Robert Perez, Public Relations Executive and Former WA Press Secretary for Kerry-Edwards

Judy Chambers, Co-Founder and Former Co-Chair of the Capital Region Stonewall Democrats (Harrisburg, PA)

Conrado Terrazas, Political Field Director for SEIU 1000 (CA)

Lisa Hazirjian, Visiting Professor, Carnegie Mellon University (PA)

Gregg Gallo, National Stonewall Democrats Board Member (WA)

Anita Latch, Washington State Stonewall Democrats President

Jenny Durkan, Washington John Edwards for President State Chair (2004 & 2008)

Krista Strothmann, Baltimore Chapter of Pride at Work (AFL-CIO)

John Klenert, Campaign Board of the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund and Member of Board of Directors for DC Vote

Marti Abernathy, Transgender Advocate (Indiana)

Joe Darby, Vice President, Pride at Work (AFL-CIO), Lansing, Michigan

Randall Ellis, Former Executive Director of Lesbian/Gay Rights Lobby of Texas

Andres Duque, LGBT activist (NY)

Gary Fitzsimmons, Dallas County District Clerk (TX)

Tim Downing, Member of Board of Directors for Human Rights Campaign (OH)

Christina Ocasio, Transgender activist; 2004 delegate to the DNC Convention (TX)

Dyshaun Muhammad, Former GLBT Caucus Chair, Young Democrats of America; Former Political Chair of Twin Cities HRC Steering Committee (MN)

Pauline Park, Chair, New York Association for Gender Rights Advocacy

Glen Maxey, Former Texas State Representative (first openly gay member)

Marti Bier, Former Field Director for PFLAG

Doug Lakey, Director of West Coast Office of Alliance for Justice; former Development Director for the Human Rights Campaign

Terry Penrod, Member of Board of Directors for Human Rights Campaign (OH)

David Pena, Jr., Executive Director, National Hispanic Business Association

John McClelland, President, Denton County Stonewall Democrats (TX)

Joe Lacey, Dayton (OH) Board of Education Member

Tony Ballis, President, Dayton (OH) Stonewall Democrats

Noel Alicea, LGBT activist (NY)

*Organizations listed for identification purposes only.

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Michael Bedwell | March 11, 2008 9:00 PM

Help me out here, Michael. I've lost track. This is your _____th post praising the Dali Obama and the ______th time you have failed to disclose your official connection with his campaign?


PS: Still waiting for Eric Stern to explain why if St. Barack loves us so much he can't be bothered to be interviewed by LOGO or "The Washington Blade" or the Ohio gay paper or why not a single mention of LGBTs can be found in "Blueprint for Change—Barack Obama's Plan for America" and why he keeps misrepresenting Obama's position on states' rights and gay unions.

Michael Crawford Michael Crawford | March 11, 2008 9:13 PM


I don't recall writing posts about anybody called "the Dali Obama." I have written a number of posts about Barack Obama and have on a number of occasions both here at Bilerico and on my personal blog pointed out that I am a volunteer on Obama's LGBT Policy Committee.

I haven't included that on every post I have written about Obama, but if it helps you sleep better at night, I can.

Wow - Two contributors listed and another coming on board soon!

Way to go Donna and Marti!

MB~ Don't see why disclosure's necessary here. He posting a list of supporters, just like we posted lists of Clinton's LGBT supporters and Edwards's LGBT supporters. There's not much opinion here.

Good to see some TBP contributors on there. I like seeing our people anywhere in the news.

Personally, I'm getting tired of Bedwell's constant insinuation of Michael's "official connection with his campaign." He's a freakin' volunteer, Bedwell. Get over it.

We have folks who were on Edwards team and currently sit on Clinton's team. Strangely enough, while you vehemently castigate anyone who says anything remotely Obama positive (or, hell, in this case neutral!), I have yet to see you call for the head of a Clinton volunteer who says something Clinton positive.

Instead of trying to paint Clinton in a warm fuzzy feeling by insinuating bad mojo on Obama supporters part, perhaps you should realize that by picking on such petty matters, you don't further the debate or make me feel anything for Clinton but disdain that her supporters have to stoop this low.

Give it a rest, Bedwell. There are plenty of valid issues to pick at Obama. A disclaimer for Michael for volunteering for a political campaign isn't one of them.

MB is expressing his perception of the "rapture" that so many seem to express in support of BO. Actually, I find it somewhat refreshing, even though I myself voted for and prefer BO to HC.

Support and enthusiasm can be a good thing, but it can also be bad. It is time for a reality pill. BO supports the concept of civil unions, relegating our community to second class status. His "equality for all Americans", like HC's, has reservations. Perhaps the "endorsements" should be held back unti full equality really means full equality. We still have a lot of work to do - no matter who wins the race in November.

Oh, I'm not saying anything about the "rapture" type movement of Obama supporters. I'd actually agree with that.

I'm just tired of the constant sniping Bedwell does on every post of Michael's that mentions Obama. He doesn't do it to those on Hillary's committee - it's a double standard.

LOL! Personally, I am just tickled when MB can keep his snipes shorter than a full blown essay!

Each candidate is working by a detailed organized plan. Unfortunately, the candidates primary (no pun intended) goal is to get elected so they will reproduce the sound bites that will garner suupport in any arena possible. I'm old enough and hopefully wise enough to want to know:

"Where's the beef?"

I am concerned with exactly what will be accomplished when elected. What legislation do they have in the pipeline? What is their strategy for insuring the civil rights, human rights, and equal rights for every US citizen? As a community we should request (demand) to see a written work plan on how the candidtaes propose to achieve results. How will we hold either candidate accountable when neither has given us any standards to which we can hold them accountable?

Politics is a business. Businesses require contracts agreed to by all "parties."

Where's the written contract?

Where's the beef?

Michael Bedwell | March 12, 2008 12:06 PM

You can, of course, do what you want with the site...good and bad...as you own it, Bil, but please help me understand....

Who are all these Clinton volunteers/committee members? How many of them are certified Bilerico contributors? How many of them are certified Bilerico assistant editors? How many "topics" about Obama has certified Bilerico contributor/assistant editor Crawford uploaded? How many of them have been critical? How many "topics" by contrast has Bilerico published about Sen. Clinton? How many of them have been critical? Has Bilerico ever published a video of Obama that comes close to the shameful sexism of "The video Hillary does not want you to see"?

Blog standards of integrity are far from being agreed upon; even rarely discussed. But as you have modeled much of your decisions on traditional concepts of publishing such as copyright laws and "editing" and commentary etiquette, how is it unreasonable to request consistent disclosure of a vested interest in the topic by one of your "columnists/editors" when it's not unreasonable to assume that readers less familiar with his prejudice could think he's simply "reporting" "objective" "facts."

And the alleged "neutrality" of this thread is cancelled out by his linking to "Barack Obama's platform on GLBT civil rights." That went, once again, from simple reporting facts to advocacy.

"I'm just tired of the constant sniping Bedwell does on every post of Michael's that mentions Obama. He doesn't do it to those on Hillary's committee - it's a double standard." Huh? I've repeatedly made clear my choice of Sen. Clinton over Obama. Isn't it you holding me to a double standard because what you're actually tired of is my defense of Sen. Clinton whom you've admitted to hating, one of the biggest bitches you've ever met or something like that and of my documented criticisms of Obama because although he was your third choice his primary appeal is that he's not Hillary. And because you are repeatedly defensive when anyone criticizes any Bilericians for whatever reason simply because it is criticism.

Thank you for this update.

I will share this good news with others.

Blessings on you for your good works.

Michael Bedwell is actually correct in his most recent post. I am personally guilty of "demonizing" Hillary Clinton in the BP, and received no opposition other than his own. Just because I don't like her doesn't make me right.

Perhaps most here feel that HC is old school, and seek a candidate that they feel represents change. However, we should remember we want that change for a reason. We want the world to be a better place for all people to live in. That would include Hillary Clinton, Geraldine Ferraro, and even Spitzer and Barney Frank and Joe Solomnese. People can be wrong, misguided, and even treacherous and still be people. Let's not lose sight of our basic humanity, or sense of fair play. Demonizing candidates and others is just a little too simple and easy when your alone with your computer at home or in the office. And like Sally Kern, what you say can reach more than is actually intended.

FatherFaggot | March 12, 2008 5:34 PM

Wow! This Obama/Hillary campaign is really getting divisive.
Personally, I do favor Obama. But, if Hillary did get the nomination I'd sure vote for her before I did for John McCain.
Let's keep in mind that there are a lot of Republicans voting in the Democrat primaries since McCain tied up his nomination. And it seems that they favor Hillary because she carries much more baggage than does Obama.
But then, I'm no expert.

Michael Bedwell | March 12, 2008 6:29 PM


Thank you for those words!!! Not because of any agreement with me per se but because they eloquently address the greater issue that is often ignored—attention to "personal attacks" shouldn't be limited to blog participants but also considered in regard to the people they write about.

I fear the opposite extreme, too....a fake sugary Pollyanna world in which one cannot call a liar a liar, a racist a racist, a sexist a sexist, and so on. I admit that the closest I have come to the challenge of "measured" commentary in the “real world” is trying to separate as objectively as possible those whom I disagree with about some things but agree with about more from those I believe are, in fact, evil. I believe, for instance, that Jerry Falwell was evil, as was William F. Buckley, and Reagan, et al. Among the living there is Karl Rove and Bush and Fred Phelps and James Dobson, et al. For such people, I feel no responsibility to be "respectful." And they have enough documented evil deeds that no one need make any up.

I don't think Ferraro was being racist, now or when Jesse Jackson was running for President. But I can be angry with her for foolishly fanning the flames of false charges of racism against Sen. Clinton. I can think that Barney Frank was a self-serving blowhard for repeatedly flaming SF Mayor Gavin Newsom for his actions re gay marriage equality "apparently" because Frank hoped to take Kerry's seat in Congress if Kerry became President and blames Newsom for contributing to Kerry's failure. But I agree with Frank on many other things and find no reason to throw him on the Satan Pile as many Bilericians do. Etc., etc.

If I have ever appeared to "demonize" Obama or his supporters rather than simply but forcefully nailing him/them for what I consider his/their mistakes and sins, I apologize.

Michael, you are welcome...but I don't know that I deserve thanks. I was trying to be open and honest, the same as you. I think we all get carried away at times. I don't think you needed to apologize - everyone is guilty. In any event, I appreciate both gestures. We don't have to agree with each other to show common courtesy and respect. And for what it is worth, I do respect you. Be well...


You seem like an exceptionally kind and decent person with a special spirit. I admire that you are insightful and outspoken when you wish to be but you are also thoughtful of others and seem genuinely concerned about everyone's feelings and everyone being respected. You manifest a compassionate heart and are truly a model for others of us here. Thank you for the witness you provide. It is a gift. May God Bless you as you Bless us all. I would love to know more about your spiritual/ethical beliefs/traditions/practices if you would honor me by sharing.

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The Advocate provides additional background on this story :

"Obama Rolls Out More LGBT Supporters"


"The Obama campaign aims to target specific sectors of the LGBT community to improve his odds in the remaining primaries.
By Kerry Eleveld
An Advocate.com exclusive posted March 11, 2008
Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign rolled out a new swath of 40 national LGBT supporters, adding to the original list of about 60 queer supporters it announced last year. (The new list is available at the end of this article).

“This continues to show the momentum that the Obama camp is demonstrating in all different slices of the electorate,” said Eric Stern, who has been actively courting gays and lesbians to join the Obama team.

Stern said the new additions would be reaching out to people based on their particular spheres of influence – be they elected officials, transgender activists, or union leaders. “This isn’t just a list,” he said, “it’s a group of individuals, all of whom are highly skilled and bring a tremendous amount of experience and knowledge to the campaign.”

Not feeling like a number is exactly what swayed Donna Rose, a transgender leader and former Clinton supporter, to make the jump to Obama just this week. Rose signed on to the Clinton campaign last March when the race was just revving up. But when she offered input to the campaign, she felt like it fell on deaf ears.

“I have not really felt that the team was very engaged,” said Rose. “I didn’t see any impact on the messaging.”

Obama first caught her attention after the Logo/Human Rights Campaign debate last summer. “After the debate was over, I got a personal thank you note from one candidate, and that was Senator Obama,” said Rose, who was a member of HRC’s board of directors at the time. “Sometimes, it’s the little things that make a difference.”

Rose did not single out Obama for specific stances on trans rights, saying she doesn’t typically make distinctions between transgender rights and the broader slate of LGBT rights. But she hopes to offer her insights to the campaign moving forward and is even angling for a personal phone call from the senator, even if it is only two or three minutes.

“I think it’s really important to acknowledge that a presidential candidate in this country can take some time out of his schedule to have a discussion with a visible and proud member of the transgender community,” she said.

Rose’s yearning to get involved is the very reason Missouri state representative Jeanette Mott Oxford, another new endorser, was persuaded to support Obama.

Originally, she was so pleased with the entire field of Democratic candidates that she wasn’t going to endorse anyone. “But I watched what was going on around me and the kind of excitement that he generated in such a diverse group of people,” said Oxford, ticking off a list that included her 60-year-old knee surgeon, a mid-20s social work student she knows, and the kids – mostly African-American – she reads to at the elementary schools in her district. “Folks just really want to engage in the process of making the country a better place. They’re saying, ‘Obama, I want to work with you to fix it.’ That’s the kind of impulse that I want to nurture because I want to be part of that movement toward citizen involvement.”

Oxford, a passionate advocate for the poor and a former organizer for welfare rights, has a fondness for getting people involved. At the end of the day, she believes grassroots organizing is the hard work that can help overturn something like the Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibits the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages and allows states to ignore marriages that are legally performed in another state. Changing something like DOMA, she says, can only happen from the ground up.

Asked if it was politically feasible for Obama to deliver on his stance for full repeal of DOMA, she said, “He’s an old community organizer and he knows that it’s not always time to try to make a bill move and that you have to build power.” But, she noted, one has to articulate that vision in order to move people. That’s where Obama differs from Clinton, who supports repealing the plank of DOMA that prohibits federal recognition of gay marriage but leaving in place the states’ rights to self-determination on marriage.

DOMA also moves Jeremy Bishop. As executive director of LGBT union advocacy group Pride at Work, Bishop views DOMA as one of the major hurdles preventing blue-collar gays and lesbians from getting access to health and pension benefits. “I think that’s important when you’re looking at working-class people who don’t have those benefits and need them to sustain their families,” he said. “If you got rid of DOMA, all these different unions and companies who say we can’t give benefits because you’re not recognized by the federal government, all that would change in a heartbeat.”

Bishop, like many LGBT people, was initially disappointed that the Obama campaign included homophobic gospel singer Donnie McClurkin in its gospel tour through South Carolina.

“But you can kind of tell someone’s merits by what they say to rooms that are not friendly to [a gay] audience,” he said, adding that Obama has regularly challenged the African-American church on homophobia.

In terms of outreach, Bishop has been working on some op-eds for inclusion in papers such as The Southern Voice and The Washington Blade. His ties also run deep in the labor community, though he is careful to note that the 7,000-member Pride at Work has not endorsed a candidate.

Nonetheless, Bishop’s support can’t hurt in states that are union-heavy, and he counts Pennsylvania among one of the five states with the densest Pride at Work membership.

Pennsylvania, the next massive primary prize with 188 delegates, will vote on April 22, and it is considered Clinton country – the New York senator is leading in all recent polls by anywhere from five to 15 points and has the key support of Gov. Ed Rendell and Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter.

“We face an uphill battle in Pennsylvania,” Stern acknowledged.

That’s where Stern hopes someone like Stephen Glassman, the highest-ranking LGBT official in the state and another new member of Obama’s team, can make a difference.

Glassman, who chairs the state’s Human Relations Commission, will be heading up LGBT outreach in the state along with Obama LGBT policy director Tobias Wolff, a law professor at the University of Pennsylvania.

The Pennsylvania battle is already in full swing, with Philadelphia’s Liberty City Democratic Club holding its endorsement meeting Tuesday night.

One of the things Glassman has been focused on in the last five years is working with mayors, council members, and county commissioners around the state to enact local nondiscrimination legislation.

“We now have 14 local jurisdictions with nondiscrimination legislation – more local jurisdictions than any other state in the nation,” says Glassman. “Those are all logical locations for Obama, every one of those 14, because they are constituencies that are more responsive to Obama’s demographic according to what the polling has been telling us from the contests that have already been decided.”