Human Rights Campaign
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Big Wins for Gays in Detroit, FL and N.C-Not much Media!
Maine voters may have chosen to take marriage rights away from their neighbors, but not all was gloomy for LGBTs: three wins around the country brought victory to gay and lesbian politicians and their constituents.
In Chapel Hill, N.C., GLBT equality advocate Mark Kleinschmidt won as mayor against Matt Czajkowski and two others contenders, taking 49% of the overall vote, reported the Chapel Hill News on Nov. 4. Kleinschmidt’s victory marks the third time an openly gay candidate has won Chapel Hill’s mayoral office.
In St. Petersburg, Fla., the city council gained a new, and openly gay, member in the person of Steve Kornell, who won over Angela Rouson for the council’s District 5 seat with nearly 60% of the vote, making him the city’s first openly gay elected official. The seat became available when Jamie Bennett resigned to pursue a spot in the mayoral race, which was won by Bill Foster, reported a Nov. 4 St. Petersburg Times article posted at TampaBay.com, which noted that the town’s leaders have historically been opposed to Pride events there.
The article quoted Kornell as saying, "The thing about making history is fine. But this campaign was really about the future of St. Petersburg and that’s what I plan to focus on for the next four years."
Said Rouson, "I have no regrets.... I am very proud and pleased and we worked very hard. I’m proud of the folks who worked for me. We fought a good fight. District 5 couldn’t have lost no matter what the results were."
Outgoing mayor Rick Baker praised both candidates, saying that Rouson "ran a great race. But the guy she ran against is a good guy and ran a great race, too. Nothing to be ashamed about."
And Detroit elected openly gay former Fox News reporter Charles Pugh as city council president, reported a Nov. 3 article at the Detroit Free Press.
Said Pugh, "This is unbelievable... It means Detroit has really wanted change for a very long time."
In other elections, Washington voters seemed poised to uphold state provisions for same-sex families granting most of the same state-level rights and protections enjoyed by married heterosexuals, but not calling such unions marriage.