Mayor Richard M. Daley Honored by National Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund

Mon. October 24, 2005 12:00 AM

Washington, D.C. - The Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, the only national organization committed to increasing the number of openly lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) public officials at federal, state and local levels of government, honored Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley with the Local Hero Award and Former Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle with the Oates-Shrum Award Tuesday, October 25., in Washington, D.C.

"I'm looking forward to participating in this important event because it means Chicago is being nationally recognized for our long-standing support of diversity-support that extends from City Hall into all of our neighborhoods," said Mayor Daley. "Anyone who writes or talks about the story of Chicago must include the important contributions of the gay and lesbian community."

"Mayor Daley and Senator Daschle have been longtime supporters of the LGBT community. We thank them for the promises they have made and kept to the community, and for the inspiration and wisdom they provide to local and federal officials across our country that look to them as examples of leadership that protects and supports all Americans," said Victory Fund President and CEO Chuck Wolfe.

The event was part of the Victory Fund's annual Oates-Shrum Award Presentation. Senator Daschle has been a long-time defender of equal rights, voting against both the Defense of Marriage Act and fighting hard to stop the proposed Federal Marriage Amendment. When discussing his opposition to the amendment, Daschle said, "This is why you get elected to the Senate, to rise to the occasion and do what you are supposed to do. It would have been the first time Congress would have written discrimination into our Constitution."

Since it's founding in 1991, the Victory Fund has helped secure more than a fivefold increase in the number of openly gay and lesbian officials serving in America. In 2005, it expects to endorse over 50 candidates.

Daley was recognized, in part, because of the following achievements:

- - Daley offered a budget amendment to increase funding for HIV prevention services by $600,000.

- - He publicly stated his support for same-sex marriage and said, "Marriage has been undermined by divorce. Don't blame the gay and lesbian, transgender and transsexual community."

- - Daley created Chicago's Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame, the only government supported project of its kind, in 1991. Each year the Hall of Fame highlights the contributions of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities to Chicago.

- - Daley backed the creation of the Center on Halsted, one of the country's largest gay community centers. It houses social services, theaters, and recreation space.

- - Daley supported a measure passed by the Chicago City Council amending the city's anti-discrimination laws to add explicit coverage for transgender Chicagoans.

Daschle was recognized in part, because of the following achievements:

- - Daschle was one of only a handful of Senators who voted against the Defense of Marriage Act.

- - Daschle fought hard to keep the proposed Federal Marriage Amendment from reaching the Senate floor.

- - Daschle has supported anti-discrimination legislation, including the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.


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