Quinn delivers stirring Victory Fund keynoteTop Highlights, Around the City Thursday, March 1st, 2012
Two Election 2012 priorities stood out at Sunday’s Victory Fund brunch at the Catamaran Resort Hotel on Mission Bay: getting Tammy Baldwin, Democratic congresswoman from Wisconsin, elected to the U.S. Senate; and strengthening financial support for LGBT candidates across the country – especially those who promise to actively battle for equality under the law for Americans of all sexual orientations and gender identities.
About 250 activists, donors, fundraisers, politicians and staffers gathered to hear remarks from several prominent speakers from the worlds of politics, fundraising and activism. The keynote speaker was New York City Councilwoman Christine Quinn. Quinn’s trademark take-no-hostages passion for equal rights and her special affinity for underdogs excited the crowd, which was urged to reflect that excitement by filling out donation cards set within easy reach at each place setting.
One loudly applauded part of Quinn’s approximately 25-minute-long speech was an experience she shared about two elderly constituents – a gay couple. The two men had been together in a committed relationship for decades and were both now terminally ill. At the time Quinn helped facilitate their legal nuptials to each other, each connected to intravenous tubes and in hospice care.
“They demanded I continue to fight for equality and told me that if I needed any help, I shouldn’t hesitate to call them.” Most guests laughed, and became visibly teary-eyed. Quinn persuaded many to take up writing pens placed near the donation cards by pointing out that if two elderly newlyweds in a New York hospice wanted to, and believed they could be helpful to the cause of marriage equality and equal rights for LGBTs moreover, doing so should be easier for younger, healthier believers in those causes.
Quinn, who also holds the office of council speaker is expected to be a contender for mayor of New York City as Michael Bloomberg retires. When LGBT Weekly asked Speaker Quinn if she would be looking at the governor’s mansion one day, she politely demurred.
“One step at a time,” she said. “First I’ve got to win the mayor’s office.”
Asked to identify Election 2012’s single most important race outside of the presidency, elected officials from San Diego’s LGBT community voiced agreement about the importance of supporting Tammy Baldwin for Senate.
“If I had to pick one race to support, it would be Tammy’s,” said Assemblywoman Toni Atkins. “She’s already a congresswoman, but she would be the first openly gay or lesbian senator in U.S. history; the impact of that for our community would have both symbolic and practical importance. It would be huge.”
San Diego City Councilman Todd Gloria called supporting the election of Tammy Baldwin to the Senate a generational opportunity.
“The Senate is the most exclusive club in the world,” Gloria told LGBT Weekly. “There are only a hundred senate seats and they don’t become vacant very often. We have to support Tammy Baldwin. This is our time.”
Be sure to read Nicole Murray Ramirez’ column “Conversations with Nicole” for the scoop about how much money the Victory Fund brunch raised from donations by San Diegans.
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