Carol Schwartz, DC Council At Large

Carol Schwartz

Republican, At Large

Response to GLAA 1996 Questionnaire
for DC Council Candidates

1. Do you support legal recognition of marriages between persons of the same-sex?

A. While I support same-sex relationships that are characterized by love and mutual support, I remain undecided on the issue of marriage. I will continue to defend DC's current Domestic Partnership Law which I voted for when I was on the Council, and will work to strengthen it, and make certain it survives a hostile Congress. Lesbian and gay couples have a right to the same governmental benefits and opportunities currently provided to heterosexual couples.

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?

A. Yes. Current D.C. Law accords full faith and credit to marriages contracted in all of the states. I will oppose efforts in Congress or elsewhere to force the District to deny full faith and credit to same-sex marriages recognized in any state. The case of Clarke, et al v. USA, to which I was a party, established that when Congress legislates for the District of Columbia, Congress is still bound by constitutional limitations and guidelines. I believe it would be unconstitutional for Congress to attempt to force the District to deny full faith and credit to legal marriages from any state.

3. Do you oppose efforts by Congress or other parties to outlaw or restrict adoptions by unmarried couples in the District of Columbia?

A. Yes. Everyone must be treated fairly and equally. I believe that sexual orientation should not be a factor in determining whether someone can be a responsible and loving parent. However, I do believe in thorough background checks for all.

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?

A. Yes. I would oppose any repeal of the D.C. Health Care Benefits Expansion Act which exclude solely domestic partners. While Congress has certain duties and responsibilities with regard to the District, it should not attempt to impose its will on the citizens of D.C..

5. Do you support the re-establishment of the Office of Human Rights as an independent, Cabinet-level agency whose Director has direct access to the Mayor?

A. Yes. Budget constraints and mayoral indifference should not be allowed to curtail our commitment to human rights for all of our citizens.

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?

A. Yes.

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?

A. Yes. I have been a longtime opponent of the Armstrong Amendment, and will work to repeal it as soon as I am elected into office. As a D.C. council member I was one of the first to sign on to the court brief that overturned the original Armstrong Amendment. I believe that when religiously affiliated organizations discriminate, they are not protected by the First Amendment and should be treated like any other business or organization.

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?

A. Yes. As I said before, I am only intolerant of intolerance. There is no room for bigotry or prejudice anywhere. Through my leadership and action I will personally set the tone of inclusiveness.

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?

A. Yes. As the Vice President of the Whitman Walker Clinic I am aware first-hand of the burden that the D.C. government causes when not issuing moneys owed to AIDS Service Organizations. The City Council should urge the Mayor to implement sound financial management, so that the District can govern all of its affairs. In the meantime, I support the temporary designation of a third party to act as a fiscal agent for the distribution of federal AIDS money. Of course this should not be a permanent solution to the problem.

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?

A. Yes. I fought very hard when I was on the Council (Jan.,1985-Jan.,1989) to get our elected officials to make the tough decisions which would have kept us out of the financial mess we see today. Unfortunately, in spite of my 3 out 4 "no" votes on the various budget and my warning pleas, the tough decisions were not made. I have long been a critic of the mismanagement of our government; and I have run for Mayor twice to gain the power to address these very issues. If elected to the Council this time, I will once again try to prevail upon the Mayor and other members of the Council ( who I believe recognize now the urgency of the situation) to get our financial house in order and managerial act together.

11. Do you support the condom availability programs that have been established in the District's public schools and prisons?

A. Yes. I support condom availability programs in both the public schools and in the Department of Corrections. Condom availability can go a long way in preventing the spread of HIV, and together with proper education (which should include teaching abstinence) and leadership it can help save lives.

12. Will you support legislation that will establish an effective civilian complaint review system for our Metropolitan Police Department?

A. Yes.

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's 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?

A. Yes. I will personally set the tone and provide the leadership needed to ensure that every District employee, including those in the police department, respect and give equal treatment to their fellow human beings.

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?

A. Yes. While I believe that values and personal prayer are an important part of any society, government-mandated or government-sponsored prayer runs counter to the respect for individual rights and cultural diversity upon which our society is founded. Therefore, I will oppose efforts to introduce organized prayer into our public schools. I will also oppose a referendum that would seek to permit organized school prayer, and would oppose Council legislation that would authorize such activities. I do believe, though, that voluntary moments of silence or quiet reflection, coupled with teaching of civility and social responsibility, are needed as long as they are not exclusive in nature.

15. Do you oppose efforts to abolish or drastically curtail the powers of our elected Board of Education?

A. Yes. I am a believer in more democracy for D.C., not less. Our elected Board of Education could be one of the most important tools in the betterment of our quality of life in DC and it should not fall prey to the whims of Congress or others. But we must be vigilant in making demands on the Board to do its job and if not, elect members who will. I did, however, favor the line item approval of the Board's budget by the Mayor and Council who ultimately must be accountable as well.

In addition, the Board of Education has an important role to play in making our schools a safe and welcoming experience for lesbian and gay youth. For example, when I served on the Board of Education (1974-1982), I successfully worked for the inclusion of information on homosexuality in the sex education curriculum. It must be a leader in promoting tolerance.

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