Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance: FAQ
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Fighting for Equal Rights Since 1971

Founded in 1971, the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington, DC (GLAA) is an all-volunteer, non-partisan, non-profit political organization that defends the civil rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the Nation's Capital.

GLAA lobbies the D.C. Council; monitors government agencies; educates and rates local candidates; and works in coalitions to defend the safety, health and equal rights of LGBT families. GLAA remains the nation's oldest continuously active gay and lesbian civil rights organization.

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

Topics:


Question: Are you a national organization, like Human Rights Campaign and NGLTF?

Answer: No, we are not a national organization. We are a local organization focused entirely on advancing the rights and interests of gay people in the District of Columbia. Our activities include lobbying the DC Council and Mayor, monitoring city government agencies, rating District candidates on gay issues, and working in coalition with other advocacy groups on issues of common concern. GLAA is a member of the Federation of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Statewide Political Organizations.


Question: Do you endorse candidates for political office?

Answer: No, we do not endorse candidates in partisan races. We are strictly non-partisan. We do rate local DC candidates based on their records and signed positions on gay-related issues, but our ratings are not to be interpreted as endorsements. See our Elections Project under the Projects menu.


Question: Are you affiliated with a political party?

Answer: No. We are strictly non-partisan. We have never been affiliated with any political party.


Question: Are there employment or internship opportunities available at GLAA?

Answer: Unfortunately, no. GLAA is a low-budget, all-volunteer, nonprofit, non-partisan political action and local advocacy organization. We have no employees, and do not have the resources to supervise interns. We do encourage all who are interested to attend our meetings and become involved. We are always eager to welcome new members and supporters. Check out our Meetings page at www.glaa.org/meetings.shtml, and our Membership page at www.glaa.org/membership.shtml. Those seeking employment or internship opportunities can check out other gay organizations (local, statewide, national, and international) via our links page at www.glaa.org/resources/links.shtml. Also, check out ACCESS - Networking in the Public Interest, at www.accessjobs.org.


Question: I need professional legal services on a gay-related matter. Can you help?

Answer: GLAA is not a legal services organization and cannot offer legal advice, services, or referrals. You might want to check your local gay newspaper for ads from lawyers that specialize in the area you need (family law, employment discrimination, etc.). In the Washington, DC area, Gaylaw’s attorney referral service is at: http://www.gaylaw.org/attorneyreferral.html. Elsewhere, your nearest statewide GLBT organization might be able to recommend someone or point you in the right direction. For a list of statewide groups, see our links page at: www.glaa.org/resources/links.shtml#state. Our links page also lists law-related resources at: www.glaa.org/resources/links.shtml#legal. You might also contact the nearest chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. To find an ACLU State Affiliate, go to the national ACLU at www.aclu.org/. At the national level, there is the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund. They are online at: www.lambdalegal.org/. In New England, contact Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders at www.glad.org.


Question: What are you doing to shut down www.godhatesfags.com and similar sites that defame gay people?

Answer: Nothing. We believe that the proper response to hateful speech is more speech in response to it -- not suppression of views with which we disagree, however offensive they may be.

Here is the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

The liberties outlined in the First Amendment belong to all Americans, not just people who agree with us. Freedom of speech means nothing if it does not mean the right of people to say things that offend us. In the words of Justice Robert Jackson in the 1943 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that no one may be forced to say or even stand for the Pledge of Allegiance: "Freedom to differ is not limited to things that do not matter much. That would be a mere shadow of freedom."

Thomas Jefferson put it well in a statement on academic freedom at the University of Virginia, in a letter he wrote to William Roscoe in 1820:

"This institution will be based on the illimitable freedom of the human mind. For here we are not afraid to follow the truth wherever it may lead, nor to tolerate any error so long as reason is free to combat it."

Yes, the nexus between hate speech and hate violence should be explored, and there should be vigilance in monitoring hateful websites and broadcasts. The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation specializes in this work. GLAAD's website is at www.glaad.org. That being said, we believe that the wisest course, both politically and ethically, is to practice the tolerance we are preaching and respond to hateful speech with speech of our own. Attempts at suppression are distinctly illiberal, are unlikely to succeed in any case (gays are in the minority, remember), and tend to play into our enemies' hands. Responding to hateful speech can be time-consuming and expensive, and requires imagination and skill, but it is the wisest course. There are no short-cuts to freedom.


Question: Can you give me information on the rights of gay families (marriage, civil unions, adoption)?

Answer: See the listing for Marriage & Family on GLAA's links page at www.glaa.org/resources/links.shtml#family.


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E-Mail us: equal@glaa.org

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All rights reserved. GLAA, P.O. Box 75265, Washington, DC 20013