Los Angeles—Equality California today announced the endorsement of two outstanding LGBT candidates for re-election to the West Hollywood city council.
The candidates are as follows:
John Duran (West Hollywood City Council) – John Duran helped found Equality California in 1999, served on its board from 2001 to 2008, and was board president from 2004 to 2008. A civil rights attorney, Duran began his legal career in the 1980s representing ACT UP protesters demanding treatment and medications at a time when most attorneys refused HIV-related cases. He then expanded his practice into LGBT civil rights in the 1990s. Duran was first elected to the West Hollywood City Council in 2001. In addition to helping to found Equality California, he was co-founder and board chair of the LIFE AIDS Lobby from 1987 to 1992, the organization responsible for many of California’s laws protecting people living with HIV. He also co-founded ANGLE (Access Now for Gay and Lesbian Equality) in 1989, which helped mobilize and raise funds from the LGBT community to elect pro-equality candidates, including President Bill Clinton in 1992. He has served on the boards of organizations including AIDS Project Los Angeles, the ACLU Foundation, Lambda Legal and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. He currently is board chair of the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles, where he has sung since 1998.
“John Duran is one of Southern California’s veteran leaders of the LGBT civil rights movement and efforts to fight for people living with HIV,” said Zbur. “He has fought for the LGBT community in the courtroom, city council chambers and on the streets. He has worked energetically for the past 30 years to make Southern California a better, safer and more equal place for LGBT people. He helped build many of the organizations serving the LGBT community, including Equality California, that we rely on today. We simply wouldn’t be where we are as a community without him.”
John Heilman (West Hollywood City Council) – John Heilman was active in the incorporation of West Hollywood as a city in 1984 and was elected to its first city council. By the end of the 1980s, he had already participated in making West Hollywood a global leader in LGBT civil rights, helping to draft and enact the country’s first ordinance prohibiting discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS, as well as leading the city to create the first domestic partner registry in the country. In 1990, he was awarded the U.S. Conference of Mayor’s Award for his leadership addressing HIV/AIDS. Heilman also established the city’s Gay and Lesbian Advisory Board and Transgender Advisory Board. In addition, he regularly hosts LGBT leaders from around the world to share insights and offer support, including delegations from Russia, Uganda and other countries where the LGBT community is under siege. Heilman teaches law at the University of Southern California School of Law and Southwestern School of Law.
“John Heilman is an LGBT pioneer in every sense of the word,” said Zbur. “He was one of the city founders who created West Hollywood as a safe haven for LGBT people. He went on to keep the new city at the forefront of LGBT civil rights and social justice, implementing policies that protected LGBT people and advanced the city of West Hollywood as a model for other cities, our state and our nation. He continues to fight for the most marginalized members of the LGBT and broader community, championing measures to combat poverty and create affordable housing in West Hollywood.”
The Equality California Political Action Committee endorses viable candidates for federal and state office who have a proven track record of supporting equal rights and legal protections for LGBT Californians, as well as outstanding LGBT candidates at the local level.
Equality California is the nation’s largest statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization dedicated to creating a fair and just society. Our mission is to achieve and maintain full and lasting equality, acceptance, and social justice for all people in our diverse LGBT communities, inside and outside of California. Our mission includes advancing the health and well-being of LGBT Californians through direct healthcare service advocacy and education. Through electoral, advocacy, education and mobilization programs, we strive to create a broad and diverse alliance of LGBT people, educators, government officials, communities of color and faith, labor, business, and social justice communities to achieve our goals. www.eqca.org