Candidate's record on HIV/AIDS
Candidate's record on gay & lesbian issues
Cover letter accompanying questionnaire response
1. Do you support legal recognition of marriages between persons of the same sex?
Yes. I have always advocated for same-sex marriage as an important component in providing gay men and lesbians with equality of opportunity. For those couples who deem that marriage is right for them, they should receive the City's blessing, recognition, and advantages, regardless of the gender or sexual orientation of the parties constituting the couple.
Currently there is a wall of homophobia which impedes our society. Certainly, legal recognition of same sex unions will be one of the most difficult parts of this wall to remove. Although I have championed legislation that benefits domestic partnerships, such as the "Health Benefits Expansion Act" and the "Human Remains Act," these provide only limited benefits. However, as we continue to make progress in the area of equitable benefits for same sex partners, we will continue to make a transition toward this final stage of recognition of lesbians and gays.
With this in mind, I feel we should create a "Family Diversity Commission." I feel such an entity could expand upon the foundation which has been provided by the "Health Benefits Expansion Act of 1992" and could be a vital force in trying to provide full benefits and rights for same sex partners.
2. Will you oppose efforts by Congress or other parties to stop the District of Columbia from recognizing same-sex marriages performed in Hawaii or other places?
Yes. I would oppose any effort brought forth in the District Council or by Congress not to recognize the validity of same sex marriages performed elsewhere in light of the recent passage of the grotesquely named "Defense of Marriage Act." I believe strongly in the Full Faith and Credit clause of the United States Constitution, that if the state of Hawaii would recognize a same-sex marriage in their state, I would certainly be proud to do the same.
3. Do you oppose efforts by Congress or other parties to outlaw or restrict adoptions by unmarried couples in the District of Columbia?
Yes. I publicly applauded the recent court decision that allowed unmarried couples to adopt children jointly in the District. In this city, there are too many children sucked into the foster care system, who deserve a loving home. The best interest of the child should always be the overriding factor in these decisions. I was disturbed that Congress, once again, is putting its nose into the District affairs by saying that unmarried same-sex couples are not allowed to simultaneously adopt, this, after our courts have already approved such measures. I strongly support legislation that would allow the simultaneous adoption for same-sex couples, and would be willing to work with GLAA on drafting such a bill.
4. If Congress ever repeals the D.C. Health Care Benefits Expansion Act of 1992 that established the registration of domestic partnerships, will you vote to reenact the same law?
Yes. I would proudly reintroduce legislation that I first introduced over four years ago, to support reenactment of the domestic partnership law if Congress repeals it. The legislation is ready to go, and I have already sent a memo to the Council stating that I will reintroduce the bill should Congress repeal the current law. It would be nothing short of a disgrace for Congress to overturn the current law, which in itself is only a first step in the effort to achieve full equality of opportunity for gay men and lesbians, and for other couples who are not married. Congress has no business interfering in this action of home-rule, and its interference would be magnified because it would be overturning an important, progressive step that reaches out to those living in alternative family arrangements.
As a member of the Domestic Partnership Committee, I am committed to continuing to fight for domestic partnership legislation, and to ensure the District's recognition of stable families, with or without a marriage license. With this in mind, I would like to work with members of the lesbian and gay community to draft a "Family Diversity Committee" which could further expand the foundation of this law.
5. Do you support the reestablishment of the Office of Human Rights as an independent, Cabinet-level agency whose Director has direct access to the Mayor?
Yes. The Office of Human Rights is one of the most important mechanisms this city has to ensure proper enforcement of the Human Rights Act of 1977. I have always been opposed to the department sharing personnel with the Office of Minority Business Development, which I believe is the sole reason the back-log of complaints is sitting at 3 to 4 years. I fully supported, on the record, the recent reform of the Human Rights Law that will allow the two sides to come together for mandatory mediation. I also supported the recent legislation that would have reorganized the department, making OHR a separate office. This however, is only the first step. I strongly support the independent, Cabinet-level position for the Office of Human Rights. Only then will the Human Rights Act of 1977 be fully enforced. For example, the current Department of Human Rights and Minority Business Affairs recently accepted the Boy Scout's of America's claim that it was exempt from the Human Rights Act because it was a "private club". This ridiculous conclusion would not have been made if the office had been an independent Carinate- level entity. I also fully support more investigators to reduce the backlog of anti-discrimination complaints, and give automatic priority to complaints involving allegations of HIV or AIDS related discrimination.
6. Do you agree that the Boy Scouts of America is violating the D.C. Human rights Law's ban on discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation by excluding gays from participating either as scouts or as leaders?
Yes. I was extremely offended when the Office of Human Rights and Minority Business Development classified the Boy Scouts of America as a "private club." The intolerance and bigotry that the national leadership of the Boy Scouts of America exhibit, will not be tolerated under our laws. However, because of Corporation Council's recent "watering-down" of the Human Rights Law, I am anxious to work with members of GLAA and the lesbian and gay community to work on appropriate legislation that would strengthen the bills original meaning to be "interpreted broadly."
7. Will you vote to repeal the Armstrong Amendment, which allows religiously-affiliated private educational institutions in the District to discriminate against student clubs that promote equal rights for lesbians and gay men?
Yes. We must seek the repeal of this law, which as then-Senator Weiker said, "came out of the gutter." I will introduce legislation along with other "technical amendments" to effectively repeal this outrageous law. However, I will work closely with GLAA on the delicate timing of the introduction of such a bill.
8. Will you oppose efforts by Congress or other parties to abolish or restrict the right of our public school students to form clubs that promote greater understanding between gays and others?
Yes. I will strongly opposed any efforts similar to the homophobic Utah legislature of banning of all non-curriculum-related clubs in public schools. I believe there needs to be a greater understanding among our young people about homosexuality amongst their peers, and fully support organizations that promote such enlightenment. Today's youth are killing themselves because they think that they are lesbian or gay. Only through these school organizations are they able to understand that they are not alone, and that being lesbian or gay is as natural as having brown eyes.
Because I feel so strongly about this subject, I am involved with the work SMYAL is doing. My chief of staff sits on the SMYAL Board of Directors, and I am committed to having SMYAL funding placed in the budget before it undergoes Council review next year. If unsuccessful in this venture, I will need the assistance of GLAA and other lesbian and gay groups as I present this proposal to my colleagues.
9. Do you support the designation of a third party to act as a fiscal agent for the distribution of federal AIDS money, such as the system recently adopted by the Financial Control Board?
Yes. On March 7, 1996 I called a meeting of AIDS service providers (ASOs), District agencies, and the Chief Financial Officer to discuss the issue of late payments to the ASOs. I originally brought up the suggestion that there be a third party payor for all federal Ryan White dollars. Although this idea was put to the side, I made it clear that I would be willing to introduce legislation that would create such an entity. However, because of this meeting and my consistent follow-up measures, the District's Ryan White funding is now facilitated though the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services ensuring timely payments to these vendors. Although this solution has fixed the immediate problem, it's a slap in the face to home rule. I would eventually like to see a permanent District position outside of DHS to handle future payments in a timely and prompt manner.
During the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) funding shortfall in January and April, I also pushed for the release of federal and District funds. I was in constant communication with Chief Financial Officer Anthony Williams to ensure the DC CARE Consortium and the pharmaceutical companies were paid in a timely and consistent manner.
Finally, recognizing the vital need for confidential HIV testing, I have on numerous occasions (at both local and regional meetings) vigorously worked to ensure that language requiring mandatory testing of certain individuals is not implemented.
10. Do you agree that our own elected officials, past and present, bear much of the responsibility for the District's current financial plight because of their reluctance to make tough budgetary decisions, to establish priorities, and to demand maximum efficiency and productivity (rather than political loyalty) from all District government agencies and workers?
Yes. I believe that some of our own elected officials bear a share of the responsibility for the District's financial plight for the reasons stated. I have continuously argued in the Council Chamber that we must set priorities, fully fund these areas, and not continue with programs that we cannot afford. However, the sole problem does not just rest with our elected officials. The District was saddled with an unmanageable structure which requires it to pay for and administer certain traditional state functions like Medicaid, pensions, and the prison system. These costs are as much a part of the problem as management.
11. Do you support the condom availability programs that have been established in the District's public schools and prisons?
Yes. I congratulate GLAA for its instrumental work in getting this plan adopted by the Administration, and for creating and leading the Condom Availability Coalition (CAC). I was a founding member of the CAC and devoted considerable staff time to this project over the years. I was the first and most vocal Councilmember to support this initiative. I spoke with, and sent correspondence to, my fellow Councilmembers and the Mayor urging their support for CAC and its mission. Obviously, I am committed to the oversight work needed to ensure this program is administered effectively.
I have also advocated for strong AIDS awareness. With regard to condom advertising, I wrote a letter to Robert L. Mallet, then the Deputy Mayor for Operations with regard to efforts by the Whitman Walker Clinic to institute an AIDS awareness promotional campaign in ten METRO bus shelters in the Dupont Circle area. My response from DPW was that the ads were too sexually explicit, and that they only included men. I pushed Metro on the fact that Whitman Walker's contract was for an ad campaign directed toward gay and bisexual men, and that these ads were far less explicit than other "mainstream" ads.
With regard to AIDS prevention, I introduced the "Human Immunodeficiency Virus Transmission Prevention Amendment Act of 1995" to allow the Commissioner of Public Health to designate community based organizations or other qualified individuals to facilitate a needle exchange program of their own in cooperation with the Agency for HIV/AIDS and the Addiction and Prevention Recovery Administration (APRA).
12. Will you support legislation that will establish an effective civilian complaint review system for our Metropolitan Police Department?
Yes. I believe that the Civilian Complaint Review Board is a vital mechanism for reviewing complaints of police abuse. The previous system however, was ineffective because of inadequate budget and staffing resources. I supported the recent legislation which puts teeth back into the CCRB. I strongly support the non-inclusion of Police officials on this board which would, I believe, hinder any effective enforcement.
13. Do you support sensitivity and community relations training for all elements of our public safety system (police, fire department, etc.) that includes strong recognition of gay and lesbian community concerns, so that the District will never again tolerate the kind of insensitivity and incompetence reflected in the Fire Department's handling of the Tyra Hunter case?
Yes. I have worked extensively with Gay Men and Lesbians Opposing Violence (GLOV) with regard to the implementation of the District's "Bias-Related Crimes Act of 1989." Specifically, I worked with GLOV in expanding the D.C. Fire Department's investigation of the Tyra Hunter incident. After the repeated anti-lesbian and gay mistakes made by the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) at the 1991 Halloween High Heel race on 17th Street, I worked at length with the community and GLOV to ensure a full investigation was undertaken and that the MPD's police sensitivity training was enhanced. In light of recent mishandling by the D.C. Fire Department involving two gay men attacked in Dupont Circle, I sent a letter to the Mayor calling for a prompt investigation into the matter, and immediate implementation of sensitivity training that GLOV is willing to provide.
14. Do you oppose legislation or initiatives that would authorize organized prayers in our public schools, thereby encouraging the harassment of individuals who choose not to participate?
Yes. I join GLAA, the ACLU and others opposing "student-initiated" prayers in public schools. I strongly believe in separation between church and state, and feel that those behind such initiatives are the same organizations who wish to abolish the teaching of homosexual tolerance (i.e. the Hancock Amendment). I feel those students who wish not to participate in "Christian" payers because of their own personal beliefs (Muslim, Judaism) will be both publicly and privately harassed in a manner unbefitting to the ideals of the United States Constitution.
15. Do you oppose efforts to abolish or drastically curtail the powers of our elected Board of Education?
Yes. Neither the Mayor's office, nor the City Council has the time or expertise to run the District's public school system. That job is better left to people chosen by the city's electorate, and these citizens should hold them responsible. Unfortunately, Congress may step in and curtail the Board's powers given the recent code-violates, but I will vocally oppose such efforts to restrict their responsibility. I am also in favor of allowing members of the lesbian and gay community to sit in during the Board's interview with Superintendent finalists. Other community groups are offered this courtesy, and the lesbian and gay community should be represented as well.
Councilmember Jack Evans introduced emergency legislation, the "Human Immunodeficiency Virus Transmission Prevention Amendment Act of 1995," to allow the Commissioner of Public Health to designate community based organizations or other qualified individuals to facilitate a clean needle exchange program of their own in cooperation with the Agency for HIV/AIDS and the Addiction and Prevention Recovery Administration (APRA). He was also a strong supporter of earlier legislation which created the District's needle exchange program.
Councilmember Jack Evans fought during the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) funding shortfall in January and April, 1996 for the release of federal and District funds. He was in constant communication with Chief Financial Officer Anthony Williams to ensure the DC Care Consortium and the pharmaceutical companies were paid in a timely and consistent manner.
Councilmember Jack Evans brought together concerned AIDS Service Providers (ASOs), members from the Department to Human Resources and the Agency for HIV/AIDS with Chief Financial Officer Anthony Williams to discuss late and non-payments to the ASOs which had threatened the District's Ryan White funding. Because of this meeting and consistent follow-up measures, the District's Ryan White funding is now facilitated though the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services ensuring timely payments to these vendors.
Recognizing the vital need for confidential HIV testing, Councilmember Jack Evans has on numerous occasions (at both local and regional meetings) vigorously worked to ensure that language requiring mandatory testing of certain individuals is not implemented.
Councilmember Jack Evans introduced the "Extended Health Benefits Amendment Act of 1995". This legislation will help all District of Columbia employee's apply for extended health care benefits, allowing non-full-time personnel leaving the government, to continue their health care coverage by paying their own premiums. This measure is especially important to persons living with AIDS who must leave their District job unexpectedly.
Councilmember Jack Evans has consistently fought during the District's budget process to preserve and expand a guarantee of full Medicaid coverage for people with HIV/AIDS. He remains focused not only on those who are in the late stages of the disease, but to also meeting the needs of many who are simply HIV positive or in the early stages of the disease.
Councilmember Jack Evans is committed to the needs of women with HIV/AIDS. He backs efforts to ensure that city agencies which dispense birth control or barriers for disease prevention to also provide dental dams and/or other barriers for safe lesbian sexuality.
Councilmember Jack Evans is committed to condom availability in public schools and prisons and was a founding member of the Condom Availability Coalition (CAC). He devoted considerable time to this project, and continues to be the most vocal supporter of this initiative in the Council.
Councilmember Jack Evans worked with Pediatric AIDS/HIV Care, Inc. to rehabilitate a vacant rowhouse in Ward 2 to be a family respite care center. He actively solicited construction corporations to donate their time and materials to this project.
Councilmember Jack Evans has personally assisted AIDS organizations in raising funds, including: securing more than $100,000 in District funds for the Whitman Walker Clinic's Elizabeth Taylor Medical Clinic; AIDSWALK Team Captain/Major Sponsor ($5,000); AIDS Action Foundation Co-Host; Food and Friends 1,000,000 Meal Celebration; Food and Friends Chief's Best Fundraising Dinners; Whitman-Walker Clinic "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" Host, 1992-93.
Councilmember Jack Evans' Record on Lesbian & Gay Issues
[information provided by the candidate]
Councilmember Jack Evans was the leader in overturning the District's antiquated sodomy laws. His efforts began immediately upon taking office in 1991 (his first meeting with another Councilmember was with former Councilmember Rolark in regard to this issue). His legislative efforts began in December, 1992 when he sought to attach language repealing D.C.'s sodomy law as a non-germane amendment to another bill before the D.C. Council. While this effort was not successful, Evans did prevail in early 1993 when he led the Council to unanimously pass "The District of Columbia Criminal Code Right to Privacy Amendment Act of 1993".
Councilmember Jack Evans was instrumental in the passage of the "Health Care Benefits Expansion Act of 1992" (aka the Domestic Partners law). He was active in all steps of the passage of this legislation -- including meeting with unsupportive Councilmembers, as well as members of D.C.'s religious "right," to let them know of his unwavering support of this legislation. Evans is on record as ready and willing to re-introduce Domestic Partnership legislation should Congress overturn D.C.'s law.
Councilmember Jack Evans has worked extensively with Gay Men and Lesbians Opposing Violence (GLOV) with regard to the implementation of the District's "Bias-Related Crimes Act of 1989." Specifically, he has worked with GLOV in expanding the D.C. Fire Department's investigation of the Tyra Hunter incident. After the repeated anti-lesbian and gay mistakes made by the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) at the 1991 Halloween High Heel race on 17th Street, Evans worked at length with the community and GLOV to ensure a full investigation was undertaken and that the MPD's police sensitivity training was enhanced. In light of recent mishandlings by the D.C. Fire Department of lesbian and gay violence, Councilmember Jack Evans is working to institute lesbian and gay sensitivity training within the D.C. Fire Department.
Councilmember Jack Evans introduced the "Human Remains Decisions Act of 1995." The legislation allows an individual to designate another person, who may be non-related by blood or marriage, to claim his or her body at death and arrange for the disposal of his or her remains. The power of attorney allows the holder to claim the deceased's remains, to bury or cremate the remains, to make funeral arrangements, and to determine the place of burial. This bill was approved by the D.C. Council in January, 1996.
Councilmember Jack Evans has introduced and presented approximately 50 Ceremonial Resolutions from the Council for various Gay/Lesbian/AIDS functions ranging from AIDSWALK to Pride Day to "Take Back the Night" rallies to the AIDS Quilt to the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance Anniversary celebrations.
Councilmember Jack Evans commitment to the lesbian and gay community goes beyond his legislative efforts. Having participated in numerous fundraisers for the community, Evans has raised in excess of $50,000 for Gay/Lesbian/AIDS causes. Councilmember Jack Evans is the only Councilmember to appoint a staff member (Tim McMullen) designated solely to working on issues of importance to the gay/lesbian/AIDS community, plus the election/appointment of Lesbians and Gay men to positions in the D.C. Democratic Party. In addition, his Chief of Staff and employee of five years (John Ralls) is an active member of the gay and lesbian community. Additionally, he has had an office representative regularly attend meetings of the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club, Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance, GAYLAW and the Board of Directors of Sexual Minority Youth Assistance League (SMYAL).
Councilmember Jack Evans looks forward to working with the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance, as well as the lesbian and gay community, in the future on projects, including: ensuring prohibitions against same-sex marriages is not introduced in the D.C. Council (as well as working against any Congressional efforts); the establishment of the National Gay and Lesbian Community Center in Ward 2; repeal of the Armstrong Amendment; and strengthening the District's response to hate crimes.
August 15, 1996
Richard J. Rosendall, President
Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance
P.O. Box 75265
Washington, DC 20013-5265
I enjoyed the opportunity to meet with you and Craig Howell to discuss the issues and concerns of the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance. I have relied upon GLAA throughout my terms of office for guidance in my efforts to advance the civil rights of the District's lesbian and gay residents. I have found the work of GLAA to be so important to the District, that I have made sure a representative from my office has been involved personally with GLAA. If re- elected, I hope to continue my close relationship with GLAA as I move forward on repeal of the Armstrong Amendment, strengthening the Health Care Benefits Expansion Act and the Human Rights Act, and ensuring proper AIDS education, prevention and financial support for all the District's residents. Enclosed are my responses to the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance 1996 Questionnaire for City Council Candidates. I have attempted to be as thorough as possible, recognizing the importance placed upon these questionnaires by the leadership of the lesbian and gay community.
I have always thought of myself not only as a friend of the lesbian and gay community, but also as an advocate. During my terms in office I have championed for the repeal of the District's antiquated sodomy law, actively extended the domestic partnership law, spoke out against the District Police and Fire departments intolerance and indifference to lesbian and gay men, and took the lead on getting AIDS service providers paid, and just recently spoke directly with District authorities to make sure that AIDSWALK '96 is held at a time which can generate more participants. While I realize that the current situation regarding the liquor licenses of The Edge/Wet and the Green Lantern is of great concern to GLAA, I am committed to working with you on finding out who and why these establishments are being targeted, and what I can do to "pull in the reigns" from the ABC Board. The legislation I introduced in 1994 was not meant to be used for such "witch-hunts," and may have to be reexamined in the near future.
To also demonstrate my commitment, I have enclosed a two-page fact sheet citing my accomplishments with regard to HIV/AIDS and lesbian and gay issues. I hope that you feel my work these past four years has earned me a 10.0 rating with GLAA. Please feel free to contact either myself or my Lesbian/Gay/AIDS Community Liaison, Tim McMullen, if you should have any further questions or comments. Thank you for your time and GLAA's continued commitment to the civil rights for all lesbian and gay District residents.