337
Chapter 22
LGBT Elected Ofcials
and Their Roles in
Changing America
Jane Laine
Contents
Tammy Baldwin ............................................................................................... 340
Tom Ammiano ................................................................................................. 340
Mark Ferrandino ...............................................................................................341
Simone Bell .......................................................................................................341
Greg Harris .......................................................................................................341
Matt McCoy .................................................................................................... 342
Liz Malia .......................................................................................................... 342
Susan Allen ...................................................................................................... 342
Matt Titone ...................................................................................................... 343
Kate Brown ...................................................................................................... 343
Gordon Fox ...................................................................................................... 343
Angie Buhl O’Donnell ..................................................................................... 344
Victoria Kolakowski and Stu Rasmussen .......................................................... 344
Jared Polis......................................................................................................... 344
Karen Clark ...................................................................................................... 344
Conclusion ....................................................................................................... 344
Resources and Recommended Readings ............................................................345
338Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Civil Rights
On November 6, 2012, a tidal wave swept through the United States in the form
of democratic victories over fundamental civil rights issues. In Minnesota, a mar-
riage amendment that would include in the state’s constitution the denition of
marriage as being between a man and a woman was defeated. On the same day in
Maine, Washington, and Maryland same-sex marriage was legalized. As if these
events were not historic enough, in Wisconsin, the home of the very conservative
PaulRyan, the Republican vice presidential candidate Tammy Baldwin was elected
to the United States Congress. e people have spoken and a new day is on the
horizon for equality and civil rights.
To be openly gay and a politician means living your private life in the public
eye. Some may say that in order to be a public gure, one must expect a certain loss
of privacy as part of the job description. However, heterosexual politicians, histori-
cally, have only been expected to discuss aspects of their private lives when it comes
to the exposure of a scandal. is very idea sets up the notion that we as a society
deem anything other than heterosexuality as scandalous. Let us take into consider-
ation the recent example of General David Petraeus, former director of the Central
Intelligence Agency. No one questioned his sexuality or ability to lead, or even had
concerns one way or another regarding his private life until it was discovered that
he was having an aair with his biographer. Even after all is said and done, he will
probably emerge from the scandal some years down the line with little harm done
to his career. Another example from recent years is Bill Clinton. People knew that
he had a wife and daughter, no one questioned the background his marriage with
Hillary was until it was discovered that he was having a relationship with an intern.
Today, he is a well-respected politician and Hillary has become a highly regarded
and respected politician in her own right.
For a politician that has not started their political career as “out” publicly, there
can be very scary and harsh consequences if opposition discovers that one is opting
to try and keep this part of their life private. Neil Giuliano discusses how scary this
can truly be in his autobiography e Campaign Within (2012). Giuliano started
out as a city council member in Tempe, Arizona, and was the mayor of Tempe
from 1994 to 2004, but did not publicly come out until 1996. Giuliano discusses
in his autobiography the threats he received when constituents started to suspect
that he might be gay. He started being publicly ridiculed at city council meetings
by constituents who suspected he might be hiding his sexuality. As if that were
not enough, he also received threatening phone calls. Eventually, Giuliano felt like
he had no other choice but to come out in order to avoid continued harassment
andthreats. What he did not realize at the time was how rewarding this experience
would become for him. From that point forward, he was able to run as a publicly
out candidate with the support of the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, an organiza-
tion that has made a monumental dierence in the lives of many politicians, as well
as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people, the world over.
e Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund is a political action fund that works to orga-
nize and energize around electing openly LGBT people to oce. e organizations

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