Politically, 2010 was anything but predictable

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Typically, mid-term election years don’t provide much news of note—especially in the political arena. But 2010, if anything, was atypical.

Health Care, Prop 8 and Don’t Ask Don’t Tell took plenty of headlines on the national front and Florida’s repeal of its gay adoption ban and the closest gubernatorial election in history were the top headlines in the state. Major news networks are still talking about the major Republican sweep across the nation that will redraw the blue and red lines across the country.

This election year was defined by contentious and often downright dirty campaigns nationwide that created enough fodder for a year-end list that could fill several pages of newsprint.

But, as an LGBT newspaper, we take a look at the political stories of the past 12 months that dominated our political pages in 2010:

The repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell
The year ended on a high note for LGBT equality when the House and Senate voted to repeal a 1993 law that was responsible for the removal of more than 13,500 service members because they were either gay or lesbian.

AtypicalDADT_462770461.jpgAfter a major study within the armed forces, the pentagon presented its findings that a majority of service men and women felt ending Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell would have little or no effect on the country’s fighting forces. Unfortunately, gay service members cannot come out of the closet just yet. Legislation says President Barack Obama and his top military advisers must certify that lifting the ban won’t hurt troops’ fighting ability. After that, there’s a 60-day waiting period for the military.

The repeal reached the hearts of LGBTs across the country, including Equality Florida’s executive director, Nadine Smith.

“As a lesbian who left the U.S. Air Force Academy in the midst of anti-gay witch hunts in the mid-80s, the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is particularly personal,” Smith said. “I look forward to the not-too-distant day when open service is the law of our nation.”

Same-sex marriage sees gains, losses

At the close of 2010, six states and Washington D.C. all allow legal same-sex marriages and California is in the midst of a trial challenging the constitutionality of Proposition 8, which banned the practice in 2008.

In August, a federal judge in San Francisco ruled the voter-passed amendment to the state’s constitution was unconstitutional, sparking a debate that will undoubtedly land in front of the United States Supreme Court sometime in 2011.

New Hampshire started 2010 with couples legally exchanging vows on Jan. 1 after that state approved gay marriage in late 2009. In May, Washington, D.C., began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The two areas join Massachusetts, Vermont, Connecticut and Iowa in allowing the practice. However, couples married in five states and D.C. are not recognized federally as spouses.

Bill McCollum vs. gay adoption
Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum, who was defeated in the August primary election by Republican Gov-Elect Rick Scott, hoped to shore up support by publicly saying he would fight to reinstate Florida’s 30-year-old ban on gay men and lesbians adopting. McCollum told the Florida Baptist Witness newspaper that he opposed same-sex couples adopting and that children should only be raised by parents of opposite gender. While the statements did give McCollum time in the spotlight, it was not enough to save his campaign. Scott also said in his campaign that he opposed gay adoption in the state, but has not said if he would fight this year’s ruling that the 1977 law is unconstitutional.

Charlie Crist
The year was a difficult one for Florida Governor Charlie Crist. The one-time Republican ran as an Independent in the U.S. senate race, only to lose to Republican Marco Rubio in November. But the biggest stories for the LGBT community concerning Crist were his changing views regarding LGBT equality. The one-time candidate even went so far as to release a document outlining his support for gay rights.

ATypicalCrist_234013734.jpgIn it, Crist voiced support for domestic partnership benefits and civil unions including adoption rights, ENDA and more money for HIV/AIDS programs. He also stated, that he opposes Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and that he supports statewide anti-bullying measures.

However, since Crist lost the 2010 election, many wonder if we will ever see where he truly stands on LGBT issues.

Attacks on Gainesville’s Craig Lowe
As is par for the course during an election year, attack ads ran rampant throughout the country and the state on just about every level of government. But many feel a church in Gainesville sank below regular levels when it outwardly attacked mayoral candidate Craig Lowe, who was eventually declared the winner of an April 13 election after a recount.

Dove Outreach Church fueled the debate over Lowe’s sexuality through online videos and advertisements decrying the candidate’s “sinful lifestyle.” In the videos and literature, Pastor Wayne Sapp called Lowe a “fag” and said that “Gainesville should not be turned into ‘Homoville.’” Sapp even went as far as to change the church’s sign to read, “No Homo Mayor.”

Lowe won the election with 6,110 votes. His opponent, Don March, garnered 6,068 votes.

The Dove Outreach Church is the same church that threatened to burn copies of the Koran in September, sparking international outrage and major media attention. The church never followed through with its threat.

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