2020 hopefuls commit to equality ahead of Florida’s primary

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ABOVE: “DEMZ” featuring Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg, Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden by Chad Mize.

It’s been more than three years since Donald Trump assumed the presidency of the United States, succeeding LGBTQ ally Barack Obama to become the nation’s 45th commander in chief. It’s been longer still since he became the first Republican to acknowledge the LGBTQ community from the podium of the Republican National Convention. On June 21, 2016, he vowed to protect LGBTQ citizens from “violence and oppression” while accepting his party’s nomination.

The promise drew the immediate ire of journalist Tony Schwartz, the ghostwriter who was credited as the co-author of “The Art of the Deal,” Trump’s bestselling biography. Schwartz shadowed and studied the real estate developer for nearly two years to write the 1987 memoir for him, which he says today he would name “The Sociopath.”

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2020 Presidential Preference Primary Election Guide

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ABOVE: “DEMZ” featuring Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg, Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden by Chad Mize.

Ahead of Florida’s presidential preference primary March 17, Watermark contacted each presidential campaign that will appear on the statewide ballot to ask nine yes (Y) or no (N) questions and one open-ended question pertaining to LGBTQ equality.

Below, you’ll find their abbreviated answers of the remaining candidates, compiled via each campaign’s direct response or the websites of Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.

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02.20.2020 Publisher’s Desk

By : Rick Claggett
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I’m not a SWIFTIE. That’s to say I’m not a fan of Taylor Swift’s music. In fact, I had to ask Google what her fans are called because I know so little about her. No offense to her or to her fans, it’s just not my bag and simply subjective. Also, consider the source: my favorite music is Air Supply.

Having said all of that, I can’t keep Taylor Swift out of my mind lately. “You need to calm down” has become the voice inside my head. This usually happens while I’m driving, and I drive a lot. I’ll be heading down I-4 at a nice 79 mph pace when a car driving at least 100 mph swerves around me. Suddenly I find myself snapping my fingers and singing, “You need to calm down! You’re driving too loud!” Sometimes Swift’s lyrics come to mind when my dog is yelling at me or when I’m overwhelmed with work vs. volunteering, but mostly I think “You need to calm down!” when I’m on Facebook reading political opinions.

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Sanders wins NH primary, moderates Buttigieg and Klobuchar take 2nd and 3rd spots

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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The big winner in the New Hampshire primary Feb. 11 was Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who pulled in a plurality of the votes in the Democratic primary with Pete Buttigieg close behind with less than 2% separating them, but it was Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) pulling off a surprising third place finish that had everyone talking.

With 97% of precincts reporting, Sanders claimed 25.7%; Buttigieg was narrowly behind him with 24.4% of the vote, while Klobuchar won 19.8%.

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Buttigieg becomes 1st openly gay candidate to earn presidential delegates

By : Wire Report
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ABOVE: Pete Buttigieg in Iowa. (Photo from Buttigieg’s Facebook)

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) | The Iowa Democratic Party released partial results of its kickoff presidential caucus after a daylong delay Feb. 4 showing former Midwestern mayor Pete Buttigieg with a slight lead over progressive Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in the opening contest of the party’s 2020 primary season.

The results followed 24 hours of chaos as technical problems marred the complicated caucus process, forcing state officials to apologize and raising questions about Iowa’s traditional place atop the presidential primary calendar.

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New hate crimes bill introduced in US Senate

By : Lou Chibbaro Jr. OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Sen. Amy Klobuchar speaks with attendees at the 2019 National Forum on Wages and Working People in Las Vegas, Nevada.(Photo by Gage Skidmore, from Flickr)

U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) introduced a bill Jan. 28 calling for strengthening the enforcement of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 by clarifying the law’s language related to the motive of people charged with a hate crime.

The newly introduced bill, the Justice for Victims of Hate Crimes Act of 2020, calls for amending the Shepard-Byrd law to make it clear that prosecutors must prove that bias or hate was a “substantial motivating factor” for the crime rather than the sole motive.

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Buttigieg endorsed by major California, Nevada LGBTQ group

By : Wire Report
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Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg has won the backing of Equality California, one of the nation’s largest LGBTQ membership organizations, and its Nevada partner organization, an endorsement that could give him a boost in critical Western primaries.

While Buttigieg is the only openly gay candidate in the race, his endorsement by the organizations wasn’t a lock. Every candidate was asked to fill out a questionnaire, and the endorsement committee also considered supporting Elizabeth Warren or Tom Steyer, the only Californian still in the race. But Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, impressed the committee with his detailed policies for protecting LGBTQ youth in schools and ending the HIV epidemic by 2030.

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Klobuchar’s votes for Trump judges include one with anti-LGBTQ record

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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Sen. Amy Klobuchar is facing scrutiny on the campaign trail for voting to confirm many of President Trump’s judicial nominees — and a closer look at that record reveals she backed one pick who once derided as “social policy” not only LGBTQ rights and abortion, but also school integration.

With weeks remaining before the Iowa caucuses on Feb. 3, Klobuchar’s vote to confirm David Ryan Stras to the U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals could dissuade supporters of LGBTQ rights and other progressives from supporting her in the Democratic presidential primary.

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Klobuchar: Woman with Buttigieg’s record would miss debate

By : Wire Report
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ABOVE: Sen. Amy Klobuchar speaks with Jake Tapper on CNN’s “State of the Union.” (Screenshot from CNN)

CHICAGO (AP) | The 2020 Democratic presidential primary campaign drew a record six female candidates to the field. But with just less than three months until voting starts, only one has risen to the top tier.

Is it sexism or just politics?

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The Other Side of Life: Our Pumpkin Patch

By : Jason Leclerc
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For the past few years, in the time between the Epiphany and MLK Day, the pumpkins we set out in the yard after Thanksgiving finally deflate, broadcasting seeds into a corner of our yard for the next year’s patch of potential jack-o-lanterns. We watch as those vines yield breathtaking, bright orange flowers and then, lately, as the next Halloween tricks by us, wither without ever yielding pumpkins.

For two years now, our patch has been quick to tease and slow to yield. Despite the fact that male flowers and female flowers live on the same vine, they have been unable to pollinate each other. The swollen stamen remain unsatisfied by the pistils just inches away.

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Dems put gloves back on in third debate — except for Castro

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Democratic candidates in Houston before the third debate. (Photo courtesy of ABC News)

After the last debate in which the letting of blood was all but visible on the stage floor, Democratic presidential candidates eased up on each other in their third foray Thursday — although Julian Castro didn’t seem to have gotten the memo.

With a few exceptions during the health care portion of the debate, the 2020 hopefuls — rather than attacking each other over policies and records from decades ago — generally seemed more to be willing to agree to disagree rather than put the eventual Democratic nominee in a weaker position to take on President Trump in the general election.

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HRC, CNN to host Democratic presidential town hall on LGBTQ issues

By : Jeremy Williams
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(Image from HRC.org)

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) is partnering with CNN to host an LGBTQ-focused town hall for the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates on Oct. 10. The LGBTQ rights organization made the announcement on its website Sept. 5.

“The evening will constitute the largest-ever audience for a Democratic presidential town hall devoted to [LGBTQ] issues and will mark the first time in history that a major cable news network will air a presidential event devoted to issues of importance to the LGBTQ community,” HRC stated.

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