/HRC/ homeGUARDIAN newsletter
November 2000
Volume 6, Number  2 


HRCNCF Holds Joint Candidate Forum with NOW, NAACP, ACLU

On Octobter 17 the Human Rights Council of North Central Florida held a joint human rights candidate forum with Gainesville Area NOW, and the local chapters of the NAACP and the ACLU.All candidates in all local contests up to the State Senate race were invited to attend.Candidates for each office were questioned together, and each organization had the opportunity to ask each group of candidates one question.HRCNCF President Cindy Laughren served as moderator at the event, which 70 people attended. 
Dr. Kathy Cantwell made a brief presentation on the importance of voting “Yes on One,” the clean water and air amendment.She reminds us that we need to vote both sides of the ballot, as Charter Amendment 1 is on the back of the ballot. 

Tax Collector

The evening started with the two candidates for County Tax Collector, Democrat Von Fraser and Republican Debra McElroy, who were asked about how they would work to eliminate discrimination within the tax collector’s office.Neither candidate felt that it would be acceptable to discriminate against employees on the basis of sexual orientation. They went on to discuss their qualifications for the position. 

Alachua County Commission

In the Alachua County Commission races, Mike Byerly, Jim Konish, Rodney Long, and Penny Wheat were present.All four contenders stated they would support a county ordinance banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.Three county commission seats are on the November 7 ballot:In District 1, Mike Byerly (Democrat) faces Susan Carter (Republican) and Tom McKnew (running with no party affiliation or NPA); in District 3, incumbent commissioner Penny Wheat (Democrat) faces Ben Rowe (NPA); and in District 5, Rodney Long (Democrat) faces Jim Konish (NPA) and Lloyd Bailey Jr. (NPA). 

State House of Representatives 

In House District 22, Democratic candidate Perry McGriff Jr. made a brief appearance, but did not stay for questions.(Republican candidate Chuck Clemons from District 22 did not respond to our invitation.) His Reform Party opponent Phil Denton was questioned along with House District 23 candidates Democrat Ed Jennings, Jr. and Dick Williams (NPA).In one of the more negative statements on lesbian and gay rights expressed that evening, Jennings flatly stated that he believes that state civil rights laws “should not be extended to include sexual orientation.”Williams said he would support adding sexual orientation as a protected category in state statutes. 

State Attorney

George Schaefer, Democratic candidate for State Attorney, was present and promised to vigorously enforce hate crime legislation. His Republican opponent Bill Cervone failed to appear. Schaefer was questioned on racial profiling by both the NAACP and the ACLU and promised to work hard to eliminate this practice in his jurisdiction. 

State Senate

Both Republican Bob Casey and Democrat Rod Smith, candidates in the hotly contested District 5 State Senate race, received questions.Because they were last on the agenda and because the race is so contentious, several questions were allowed from the floor.Both candidates were remarkably similar in their views on most issues.Neither candidate felt there was a need for state legislation to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation in the state university system, both candidates claimed to be “pro-choice,” but both wanted to restrict abortion rights in some way.Emily Browne, write-in candidate, was present, but stayed in the audience as one of NOW’s spokespeople.
HRCNCF Vice President Abby Goldsmith expressed satisfaction with the forum. “We would also like to thank the Holy Trinity Episcopal Church for the use of their fine meeting hall,” she added.


Comparing the Presidential Candidates

Gore vs. Bush vs. Nader

Voters this November 7 will have a choice between presidential candidates with different backgrounds and viewpoints on issues of equality for lesbian and gay Americans. 
George W. Bush, the Republican nominee, has consistently referred to any measure designed to afford equal opportunity for lesbian and gay people with the familiar religious political extremist term “special rights.” 
Bush opposed hate crime prevention legislation that was proposed in the wake of the brutal crimes against gay student Matthew Shephard in Wyoming and African-American James Byrd, Jr. in Bush’s own state of Texas. 
In a recent debate with Al Gore, Bush said he supported a version of hate crime legislation that was proposed by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) as opposed to one supported by Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA). In the Kennedy proposal crimes motivated by sexual orientation would be considered hate crimes but under the Hatch version they would not.
Bush has also opposed any recognition of same sex couples and has consistently opposed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. 
Bush is also on record opposing adoptions by lesbian and gay people and is also against allowing lesbian and gay people to serve openly in the military.

Despite these positions, the Log Cabin Republicans, a group of lesbian and gay Republicans, has endorsed Bush.

Al Gore. The Clinton-Gore administration has done more than any previous Presidency to advance the cause of equality for lesbian and gay Americans. An Al Gore presidency would likely continue to build upon the progress that has been made over the past eight years. Gore supports the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) and supports maintaining the presidential order against federal workplace discrimination. Where violence toward lesbian and gay people is concerned, Gore supports the hate crime legislation before Congress that has been consistently opposed by the Republican leadership.

On the issue of adoption by lesbian and gay people, Gore has stated that he believes placement of children should be based on the best interest of the child and not on prejudice. 

Although Gore believes the term marriage should be reserved for opposite sex couples, he has stated support for extending the legal and economic benefits that married couples now have. 

The right of lesbian and gay people to serve openly in the military is supported by Al Gore. He favors eliminating the current “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. 

Gore puts his views on equality in this perspective: “It is time for all Americans to recognize that the issues that face gays and lesbians in this country are not narrow special interests; they are matters of basic human and civil rights.” 

Al Gore’s candidacy has been endorsed by the Human Rights Campaign and Equality Florida.

Ralph Nader. It’s difficult to fully assess Ralph Nader’s positions on lesbian and gay issues. He doesn’t really like to talk about them very much. In 1996, when questioned about his views on gay rights, Nader said he is “not interested in gonadal politics.” 

This led the Harvard-Radcliffe Perspective to assess the Nader candidacy in this manner: “This leaves him entirely alienated from the Greens’ Key Values on Feminism and Respect for Diversity, as well as a critical component of Social Justice. In other words, the message that’s gone out under the Green banner is an amputated version of the Green message.”

Nader himself described the narrowness of his interests in saying, “My work deals with indiscriminate injustice” as opposed to discriminatory injustice.

As the 2000 election year cycle has progressed there has been a slow evolution in Nader’s handling of lesbian and gay issues. In February of this year when asked if his position regarding avoiding “gonadal politics” remained the same, Nader replied that he could have used the term “sexual politics” instead.He also referred to his support for the right of women to serve on juries “way back before some of the more prominent issues of homosexual rights and abortion came onto the political scene” and drew a distinction between his own positions and those of the Green Party.

By October of this year Nader began to use the words “gay” and “lesbian.” When asked on a joint appearance with Pat Buchanan on NBC’s Meet the Press about his view on civil unions for same sex couples, Nader responded, “My view on this is equal rights, equal responsibilities for gay and lesbian people. That would cover all issues.”

As for a comparison of Al Gore and Ralph Nader on issues of equality, Michelangelo Signorile summed up his viewpoint by saying, “As passionless as Al Gore may seem on the issues, for anyone who puts gay rights high up on his or her agenda, Nader, comparatively, has simply not delivered.”


First Annual Lesbian and Gay Pride Dinner Recognizes Community Efforts

Gainesville’s first annual Lesbian and Gay Pride dinner was held at the Thomas Center on October 20.Price Celebration of Gainesville presented three awards that evening:Woman of the Year, Man of the Year, and Community Person of the Year.

Patti Carnuccio was recognized as the Community Person of the Year, which awards personal leadership highlighting achievements in the community as a whole. HRCNCF’s Secretary, Bob Karp, was chosen Man of the Year and Kathy McGlone as Woman of the Year.

Kathy McGlone was instrumental in creating Lavender Menace, a woman’s athletic social group, and more importantly the philosophy that Lavender Menace adheres to, that all who choose to participate can, to the best of their abilities, in an atmosphere that is supportive. A long-time past Pride Committee member, she had brought together hundreds of women over the course of over a ten-year period and served as a catalyst to community building within the lesbian community.

Bob Karp was a founder of the annual Gainesville Pride celebration and an early leader in the movement for human rights in Gainesville. Karp was campaign manager or key advisor for several of the campaigns of local elected officials who have voted for human rights measures that have come before city and county commissions over the past several years.

Patti Carnuccio is well known as an educator in the lesbian and gay community, often assuming the alter persona “Mrs.Oil” in her work with HIV/AIDS safer sex education.She has volunteered for many issues, including conservation, humane societies, and the Florida Search Dog Association.

The dinner was sponsored by Pride Celebration of Gainesville. Pride Celebration member Joe Antonelli hailed the event as the beginning of a Gainesville tradition.

The event was one of several events that took place during Lesbian and Gay Pride Week, which was held in October for the first time this year.The week was capped off by the Pride festival attended by hundreds at the Downtown Community Plaza.


Johns Committee Film Highlights HRCNCF Fundraiser at Hippodrome

On October 2, the Hippodrome Cinema was the site for two standing room only screenings of “Behind Closed Doors:The Dark Legacy of the Johns Committee,” a documentary co-produced by University of Florida graduate student Allyson Beutke as part of her masters thesis.
Officially known as the Florida Legislative Investigation Committee and operating for nine years in the 1950s and 1960s, the state-funded committee conducted most of its investigations to ferret out gay and lesbian faculty and students at the state’s universities.
Beutke offered her documentary as a fundraiser for the Human Rights Council.

“The history and lasting impact of the Johns Committee was something that the Human Rights Council has always wanted to provide to our membership and the public, so this documentary fit the bill perfectly,” said Karp. 

“It’s a first-rate production, both educational and instructive, and it also leaves you with an emotional impact that stays with you well after the film ends,” he added.“I urge everyone to see this film.”

There was an opportunity after the film for a discussion with the producer and Jim Schnur of Eckerd College who has done extensive research on the Johns Committee.Beutke said that she would be providing other opportunities around Gainesville and other parts of Florida to see the 30-minute film.