HHH: Neutrality Faces House, Witherspoon’s Lesbian Tennis Doc, Queer Pols’ Primary Victories

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Martina Navratilova

Net neutrality survives, Reese Witherspoon’s Martina Navratilova documentary, and will a “blue wave” spill over into good news for the LGBTQ community?

Neutral, for Now

The Senate voted this afternoon to reinstate the Federal Communications Commission’s guidelines for net neutrality and passed a bill that has only a slim chance of getting traction in the House. Still, Democrats and net neutrality advocates are claiming something of a victory, in that it will provide talking points that may well help to rally voters to the polls this fall.

It was an act of procedural jiu-jitsu that forced the vote at all, as Democrats invoked a seldom-seen legislative maneuver called the Congressional Review Act (CRA). Under CRA rules, allow majority votes in the House and Senate— with the president’s signature — to overturn recent agency moves.

Three Republicans added their support to 49 Senate Democrats, and the bill passed, 52-47. The proposal now faces an uphill battle in the House, where more than two dozen Republicans would have to cross party lines to even bring the bill to a vote.

Reese’s Pieces

Actress Reese Witherspoon has long dabbled in off-camera productions. Now the Legally Blonde star has announced she’ll help launch a biopic focusing on lesbian tennis legend Martina Navratilova. The tennis great, whose career spanned decades and includes a trophy room full of championships, has been a guiding light for lesbians and questioning ladies since she came out at the dawn of the Reagan era — a time when being identified as gay could cost millions in endorsements, to say nothing of the risk that it could end a career — or worse. When she came out, no one knew what the repurcussions might be.

These days, the Czech-American Navratilova is recognized the world over as an LGBTQ rights pioneer. She’s now 61 and retired, as well as married to her longtime girlfriend Julia Lemigova since 2014 — after making history by proposing to her at the US Open.

America: Feeling Blue?

After another round of primary elections, pundits are lining up to say that America may still want to be made great again, but not the way the current administration is going about it.

After votes were tallied in Tuesday’s elections in Oregon, Idaho and Pennsylvania, LGBTQ candidates performed up to or past expectations.

Much of the focus landed on Pennsylvania, because of the possibility of shifting control of both houses. In a closely-watched and closely-run race for the Democratic nomination for a Congressional seat in Eastern Pennsylvania, former assistant U.S. Attorney and out lesbian Ashley Lunkenheimer placed third. There were races up and down the ballot, although for now, Brian Sims remains the only out gay member of the state legislature.

But he could soon have company, as out-and-proud candidate Malcolm Kenyatta landed the Democratic nomination for an open seat in the state House of Representatives. A late-breaking attempt to smear Kenyatta with anti-gay posters featuring him and his ex-husband failed to sway voters — and because the seat leans Democratic — Kenyatta is now within striking distance of a win.

Also among the winners was healthcare advocate Kristin Seale, who carried the night by fewer than a hundred votes. Should she prevail against the Republican incumbent in the fall, Seale will be the first female LGBTQ member of the state House of Representatives.

Elsewhere, the few LGBTQ incombents strolled into their party’s nominations — among them Oregon state Rep. Karin Power, Idaho state Rep. John McCrostie and Oregon Gov. Kate Brown.

And if winning outright wasn’t enough, one of the GOP’s more virulent anti-gay mouthpieces, Raul Labrador, left his seat in Congress in hopes of becoming the Republican nominee for governor of Idaho. He lost Tuesday.

However, the fellow who could replace him has a record that’s only marginally better. As a state legislator, Russ Felcher (who won the nomination for Labrador’s seat) sought a statewide marriage equality ban and even opposed domestic partnership rights.

Last modified: May 16, 2018

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