Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2023-12-13



Gays tackle Burris pick
by Yasmin Nair

This article shared 4919 times since Sun Feb 1, 2009
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

Gov. Rod Blagojevich recently announced that he was appointing Roland Burris to the Senate seat previously occupied by President-elect Barack Obama. The move has generated controversy, censure and ridicule. The governor is being decried for equal parts hubris and arrogance, while Burris has been criticized for participating in what many claim is an unethical move.

This latest news may well turn out to be the most negative in Burris's career, one that has seen a steady climb upwards, from being the first African American elected to statewide office in Illinois, first as comptroller ( 1979-1981 ) and then as attorney general ( 1991-1995 ) . Burris is well-liked and respected in political circles. Michael O'Connor, former legislative aide to State Rep. Connie Howard, said that Roland Burris is "eminently qualified." Burris has been broadly supportive of LGBT-defined issues.

( On Jan. 6, Senate authorities denied Burris the opportunity to be sworn in with the newest group of senators. Burris was slated to meet with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid Jan. 7 in the latter's office. )

Rick Garcia, political director of LGBT-rights group Equality Illinois, praised Burris, saying that Burris has been supportive of gay rights throughout his political career and even sought out LGBT support for his possible nomination to the Senate seat as early as Nov. 4, the night of Obama's election. According to Garcia, Burris approached him during the Grant Park celebrations, asking for the community's support.

Garcia described Blagojevich's appointment as "bittersweet," going on to say that while "Roland Burris is highly competent and has an excellent record on lesbian and gay issues, anyone that this governor would appoint is tainted. Gov. Blagojevich could have appointed Mother Teresa and she would have been tainted." Garcia pointed out Burris's record on LGBT issues: "Burris has had a long relationship with the Illinois LGBT community. Even way back, when he was first appointed attorney general, he had openly gay staff, including Lisa Cohen, and his lobbying team lobbied the [ bill designed to included sexual orientation in the statewide human-rights ordinance ] .

In a 1997 interview with BLACKlines and Outlines newspapers ( which later merged with Windy City Times ) , Burris said he would not endorse gay marriage, using an argument that was somewhat evangelical in its fervor: "If you take it [ same-sex marriage ] to its ultimate conclusion, it will then be the destruction of the species." However, Garcia is not concerned about this because, as he put it, such a position is no different than that of most other pro-gay candidates who balk at gay marriage and, more importantly for Garcia, same-sex marriage is an issue to be fought for on the state and not at the federal level. According to Garcia, Burris is solidly in the pro-gay category, given his "support for hate-crimes legislation, his stand on non-discrimination, and [ his opposition to ] DADT [ Don't Ask, Don't Tell ] ."

Ben Montgomery, constituent services administrator for U.S. Rep. Danny Davis ( who turned down the Senate seat before it was offered to Burris ) , thinks Burris is "an excellent choice." With regard to the LGBT community, Montgomery said, "I think he'd be responsive; he's not close-minded on issues that affect us." Montgomery also pointed out the significance of Burris's stature as the first African American elected to statewide office: "In the African-American community, we're very proud of that."

However, Montgomery did not approve of the way race was handled during the press conference where Blagojevich announced the appointment. Both the governor and U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush used the phrase "lynching" and strongly suggested that it was incumbent upon the state to elect Burris in order to ensure that an African American would occupy the seat. As Montgomery put it, "Roland can stand on his own track record. I don't agree with making it a racial issue [ and ] on the whole general issue of using race in order to get something accomplished, such as this. Because the man that was chosen is above that. He has not accomplished what he's accomplished without the support of the white, Black and Hispanic populations. I don't agree with using race as a way to pressure people. It has no place here."

Montgomery added that he was looking forward to Burris becoming a U.S. senator, hopeful that he would sign on to important LGBT-focused legislation such as increasing Ryan White Care Act funding, and helping make voluntary HIV testing as routine as a blood test.

— Also contributing: Tracy Baim

This article shared 4919 times since Sun Feb 1, 2009
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

Out and Aging
Presented By


Gay News

ELECTIONS 2024: JUDICIAL 7th Sub-Circuit Candidate Deidre Baumann (Solganick Vacancy), why she's running, strategy 2024-02-19
- Baumann & Shuldiner civil litigation practice owner Deidre Baumann is running in the March 19 primary for Circuit Court Judge in the 7th Judicial Sub-Circuit against the current appointed 7th Sub-Circuit Judge Owens J. Shelby. Shelby's ...

Gay News

ELECTIONS 2024 Eileen O'Neill Burke talks state's attorney run, judgeship, GOP ties 2024-02-19
- The Democratic primary in the race to succeed outgoing Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx involves two candidates with extensive backgrounds concerning law and government. Eileen O'Neill Burke is a lifelong Democrat and fourth-generation Chicag ...

Gay News

As Chicago prepares to host DNC, former delegates reflect on LGBTQ+ inclusion at previous conventions 2024-02-19
- When Mark Ishaug, now the CEO of the mental health advocacy Thresholds, was a delegate at the 1996 Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Chicago, representing the larger LGBTQ+ community was "critical," he said. The convention, where ...

Gay News

Bring Chicago Home Campaign releases open endorsement letter from 100+ faith leaders 2024-02-19
--From a press release - CHICAGO — With just over a month before the March 19th primary election, prominent Chicago faith leaders will today release a letter—signed by over 100 religious leaders—endorsing the Bring Chicago Home campaign to restructure the Real ...

Gay News

ELECTIONS 2024 Clayton Harris III talks state's attorney run, Kim Foxx, Blagojevich 2024-02-16
- The Democratic primary in the race to succeed outgoing Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx involves two candidates with extensive backgrounds concerning law and government. Clayton Harris III is an experienced prosecutor and government leader who ...

Gay News

ELECTIONS 2024: JUDICIAL IL Supreme Court Justice Joy Cunningham discusses running for a full 10-year term 2024-02-16
- Current Illinois Supreme Court Justice Joy Cunningham is running for a full 10-year term this year, following her appointment on Dec. 1, 2022 to the First District seat. Cunningham's appointment was the result of Chief Justice ...

Gay News

ELECTIONS 2024: JUDICIAL IL Supreme Court candidate Jesse G. Reyes on why he's running, judicial diversity 2024-02-16
- Current First District, Fourth Division Illinois Appellate Court Justice Jesse G. Reyes is running for Illinois Supreme Court Justice. Reyes is running against current Illinois Supreme Court Justice Joy Cunningham in the March 19 primary. Cunningham ...

Gay News

NATIONAL Utah board member, Baths founder dies, Fla. protests, DoJ equity plan 2024-02-16
- Utah's Republican governor and lieutenant governor urged the State Board of Education to take action against a conservative board member whose social-media post questioning the gender of a high school basketball player incited threats against the ...

Gay News

Illinois Poor People's Campaign: National call for moral revival demands action against poverty 2024-02-15
--From a press release - Springfield, IL — The Illinois chapter of the Poor People's Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival (ILPPC) will convene a critical press conference at the state capitol, alongside 32 other states across the nation on ...

Gay News

Tenn. legislators back bill that lets officials refuse to perform same-sex weddings 2024-02-15
- Defying a national ruling that authorized marriage equality, Tennessee lawmakers approved a measure that would allow public officials to refuse to perform weddings of same-sex couples, The Hill reported. Tennessee's House Bill 878/Senate Bill 596 says ...

Gay News

Democrat flips seat once held by George Santos 2024-02-14
- On Feb. 13 in New York, Democrat Tom Suozzi won a special election to succeed the U.S. congressional seat formerly held by openly gay Republican George Santos, who was recently ousted. According to NBC News, Suozzi's ...

Gay News

Equality Illinois makes 77 pro-equality, pro-family endorsements for 2024 primary election 2024-02-13
--From a press release - CHICAGO - Equality Illinois, the state's civil rights organization for LGBTQ+ Illinoisans, on Tuesday announced state legislative and county-level endorsements for the primary election on Tuesday, March 19, 2024. "Equality ...

Gay News

Republicans file bill to ban trans women from U.S. Olympic teams 2024-02-12
- Republicans in both houses of Congress have launched another effort to ban transgender women and girls from female sports teams—and this time, they are attempting to ban trans women from competing on U.S. Olympic teams ahead ...

Gay News

Munar prepares to step away from Howard Brown leadership 2024-02-11
- After 10 years of leadership at Howard Brown Health, President and CEO David Ernesto Munar has decided to step down from his post on Feb. 29. Munar, who'd previously been president and CEO of AIDS Foundation ...

Gay News

Chicagoans indulge in a World of Chocolate 2024-02-11
- AIDS Foundation of Chicago hosted its 2024 World of Chocolate celebration the evening of Feb. 9 at Union Station. Top chocolatiers from across the city allowed guests to sample numerous confections, hors d'oevres and libations for ...


Copyright © 2024 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.

All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.






About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.