One of the biggest names in Detroit politics and one of the LGBT community's strongest supporters on Capitol Hill has been ousted. Democratic Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick lost her bid for an eighth term on Tuesday, undoubtedly in part because of the legal woes of her son, the disgraced and anti-gay former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.
State Sen. Hansen Clarke, the Democratic nominee and likely winner in November, also boasts a strong record on LGBT issues. Clarke co-sponsored legislation to expand Michigan’s hate crime law to include sexual orientation. Clarke has been an outspoken advocate on HIV funding and policy. The state senator was among the first elected officials in Michigan to condemn the recent bio-terrorism charge slapped against an HIV positive black gay man accused of biting a neighbor.
Kilpatrick co-sponsored the Matthew Shepard Act and has been a leading voice to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." In June 2009, the Detroit legislator was one of 77 members of Congress who sent a letter to President Obama urging him stop investigations of DADT violations. Kilpatrick's vulnerability has increased in the wake of her son's problems. Kwame M. Kilpatrick resigned and plead guilty to obstruction of justice in 2008. But only three months ago, Kilpatrick was sentenced to five years for violating probation.