Responses of Anthony A. Williams to GLAA 2002 Questionnaire
for DC Mayoral Candidates
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1. Will you direct the Chiefs of the Police and Fire/EMS Departments to include openly gay and transgender community representatives in mandatory sensitivity and diversity training programs for all members of their departments?
I believe it is important to have openly gay and transgender community representatives in mandatory sensitivity and diversity training programs for all members of the police and fire/EMS departments. I also believe that the gay, lesbian and transgender community members involved must have the background and knowledge to provide this training in a professional way.
2. Will you order the incoming Fire Chief to issue a new grooming policy which is in compliance with both the First Amendment and the DC Human Rights Act?
I will mandate that the Fire Department have a grooming policy, which is in full compliance with both the first amendment to the constitution and the DC Human Rights Act.
3. Will you order the Corporation Counsel to cease appealing the judgment against the city related to the Fire Department's grooming policy and settle the suits by rehiring firefighters and paying back wages?
I will ask the Corporation Counsel to give me an immediate update on all pending appeals related to the Fire Departments grooming policy and will ask that any suits that were won by firefighters based on sections of the law that were not in compliance with the DC Human Rights Act and first amendment be settled.
4. A few years ago the District enacted a version of Megan's Law that refuses to allow sex offenders to keep themselves off the public registry of sex offenders by demonstrating that they are no longer a danger to the community. A federal judge struck down this provision of the D.C. law as unconstitutional last September. Similar provisions have been struck down by many other federal courts. Will you support a change in Megan's Law to ensure that the registry of sex offenders only includes those who are still dangerous?
I support a change in Megan's law that will make the law constitutional. I believe that sex offenders who can prove beyond a doubt that they are no longer a danger to the community should not be on the sex offender list.
Public Health and AIDS
5. The Director of the HIV/AIDS Administration, Ron Lewis, is his own boss, also serving as a deputy Health Director. Will you hire a full-time Director of the HIV/AIDS Administration?
No manager in my Administration is "his own man." I am committed to performance management and accountability. I believe that HIV/AIDS is epidemic in our community and that we must work very closely together - the health department and members of the communities most touched by this terrible disease. I believe that all money spent on fighting HIV/AIDS and educating the community as well as the work of HAA must be totally transparent. Our residents must understand the terrible impact that HIV/AIDS is having on our community. We must fight this disease through both education and care. I believe we must do more to reach out to African American women because they are the fastest growing population affected by AIDS, which is infecting their newborn children. I will work to involve the faith community in my efforts to combat the spread of HIV/AIDS.
6. The current HIV epidemiological surveillance system discourages people -- especially immigrants -- from getting tested by requiring both their partial social security number and their country of origin. This potentially threatens their ability to stay in this country. As Mayor, will you order the Department of Health to issue new regulations to eliminate the partial social security number for the unique identifier code?
Knowing our HIV status by getting tested should not be connected with the city's HIV unique identifier reporting system. Anyone can get an anonymous HIV test, which is not linked to the new HIV reporting requirement. The city's unique identifier reporting system is for reporting positive outcomes from confidential HIV tests. This system is very important to target early prevention and intervention. I supported the Unique Identifier System program and directed my Administration to come up with one, which was done with the active involvement of community members and health care providers. I also understand the issue of immigrants to our city who in order to be tested are being asked to supply both a portion of their social security number and country of origin. I believe that we can - and must - come together and agree on a unique identifier system that is sensitive to the confidentiality concerns of our immigrant residents AND is an effective tool for fighting this terrible disease.
7. Will you further increase funding to the Office of Human Rights to increase the numbers of investigators and support staff and reduce the time required to process claims of discrimination?
I will continue to increase funding in my budget for the Office of Human Rights. In the past four years I have increased the budget and the backlog of cases has been substantially reduced. However, there is still much work to be done and it is a priority of my administration to continue to reduce the time it takes to process a claim of discrimination in our City. I have also begun to develop working relationships with the law schools in the District including the David A. Clark School of Law to assist in bringing down the backlog.
8. The Council recently confirmed the reappointment of Pierpont Mobley to the D.C. Commission on Human Rights, despite Mr. Mobley's statements during his confirmation hearing indicating a lack of support or understanding of the Commission's ruling against the Boy Scouts' policy of excluding gay men from participating either as Scouts or as leaders. Will you refuse to nominate anyone to the Human Rights Commission who similarly lacks a commitment to enforcing the D.C. Human Rights Law of 1977?
I will refuse to nominate anyone to the DC Commission on Human Rights who lacks a commitment to enforcing the DC Human Rights Law of 1977. I am proud to have nominated and the Council has confirmed Mario Acosta-Velez to the Commission.
9. Will you refrain from issuing proclamations saluting individuals or organizations that promote any sort of bigotry, including but not limited to the Nation of Islam and the Boy Scouts of America?
I will not issue City proclamations saluting individuals or organizations that promote bigotry or intolerance in our society. I believe that our nation is built around the guarantee of human rights for all our citizens and that we as leaders must stand up for those rights and hold others accountable to do the same. If individuals or organizations cannot meet the high standards of our DC Human Rights Law then we as a City should not be honoring them.
Defending Our Families
10. Do you support legal recognition of marriages between partners of the same sex?
I believe that a civil marriage should not be the purview of government to prohibit. If a bill on same sex marriage were to come to me as Mayor to sign, I would sign it. I believe that committed partnerships of same sex couples, should they decide to legalize them in a civil union, should have the same rights and responsibilities assigned as those of opposite sex couples.
11. Will you support legislation similar to Vermont's creating Civil Unions -- for same-sex and opposite-sex couples -- having all of the rights and responsibilities of Marriage that are offered by the District?
I would support legislation similar to Vermont's creating Civil Unions for same- sex and opposite-sex couples.
12. Will you support amending the domestic partnership regulations to recognize the more than 100 couples who registered under Mayor Kelly's September 30, 1992 Directive?
I will have my office assist any of those couples that would like to re- register now as domestic partners who can show proof that they registered in 1992 and continue to be domestic partners. I believe that those individuals who have maintained their relationships for over ten years now and whose records were lost through no fault of their own deserve our recognition and help. They of course will have to fill out the appropriate forms because the forms they filled out ten years ago were not legal forms but merely symbolic, as they understood when they first filled them out.
13. Will you support amending the domestic partnership regulations to recognize domestic partnerships and civil unions established in other jurisdictions?
I will support amending the domestic partnership regulations to recognize domestic partnerships and civil unions established in other jurisdictions or if that were not possible because this is actually a health care expansion act I would support new legislation that would recognize domestic partnerships and civil unions established in other jurisdictions.
14. Will you support the "Elimination of Outdated Crimes Amendment Act of 2002," Bill 14-636, which eliminates archaic criminal laws including fornication, adultery, and others?
I will support the "Elimination of Outdated Crimes Amendment Act of 2002," Bill 14-636.
15. Will you veto legislation designed to end nude dancing at any establishment holding a D.C. liquor license or prohibiting such establishments from transferring their nude dancing licenses to different establishments or otherwise further limiting nude dancing in ABC-licensed establishments?
I believe that community groups have the right to voice their opinions as to these types of establishments in their neighborhoods. I continue to believe that we should be looking at what kind of regulations could be developed for these establishments in designated non-residential commercial districts and would be willing to look into this issue on a case by case basis making sure that as we rebuild neighborhoods in which these establishments now exist that we don't automatically put these businesses "out of business". What people would like to see or consider as entertainment in commercial areas of the District is not up to government to decide.
16. If it is passed by the Council, will you veto "The Office of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Affairs Act of 2002," Bill 14-719, which would undermine citizen advocacy by creating official gay advocates under the direction of the Mayor?
I have stated that I am in support of a bill that will guarantee that no future Mayor can disregard the needs of the GLBT community. Setting up an office with funding for a small staff within the Mayor's Office and appointed by the Mayor to address the special needs of the GLBT community should only enhance the response to those needs. I also believe that many of the issues of the GLBT community should be addressed within all our existing agencies. For example, the Office on Aging should be committed to addressing the special needs of the aging GLBT community. I would not sign legislation that in anyway limits the ability of the GLBT community in all its diversity to be heard.
I am pleased that I have been able to add to the strides made by my predecessors in ensuring that the GLBT community is adequately represented in every agency of government and on many of the most crucial boards and commissions in the District. The diversity of the GLBT community mirrors the diversity of our city. It is black, white, Latino and Asian and is rich and poor. Members of the community reside in every ward of our city and their interests encompass every issue in the city. The GLBT community is concerned with children and families, education, public safety economic development, job development, health care, and the cultural and creative life of our city. The city is well served by the dedicated and hard working members of the community that I have appointed leadership positions on the Board of Education, Human Rights Commission, Health Safety Net Council, the Office of Boards and Commissions, Anacostia Waterfront Initiative, the Office of Neighborhood Services, the Board of Trustees of the University of the District of Columbia, Mayor's Faith Advisory Council, my campaign, and to positions at every level throughout the government.
Your record is part of your rating. Please list any actions that you have taken that may help illustrate your record on behalf of lesbians and gay men.