LGBT voters care that we may have a gay or lesbian mayorEditorial, Top Highlights Thursday, February 2nd, 2012
I read with great interest the article in the San Diego Union Tribune last Sunday entitled Prospect of gay SD mayor greeted with a shrug. The article postulates that the San Diego mayoral race rightfully should be focused upon the fiscal and infrastructure issues of the city. In fact, all the candidates, as well as the executive director of The Center, espouse views that say voters have moved beyond whether a candidate is gay or lesbian. They also say the LGBT community, as well as the broader community, should be happy about this perceived progression. Do our leaders really believe that we live in a post-LGBT San Diego?
That is exactly the same mistake that African Americans made with respect to President Obama. “Oh my God; Obama won. We have moved to a post-racial America.” Of course, we all know that the Obama presidency has helped shine a spotlight on those dark places in America where racism still exists. Newt Gingrich has used code words to describe Obama as the “food stamp” president. A conservative congressman has suggested that the Republicans should pray for Obama’s death. There are horrible Web sites and blogs comparing the Obamas to monkeys. So much for post-racial America.
If the San Diego gay and lesbian mayoral candidates, as well as other LGBT leaders, believe being LGBT does not matter to voters, they should think again. San Diego LGBT Community Center executive director, Dr. Delores Jacobs, says, “It’s a great story to talk about the ways that the politics of the past are no longer acceptable. It doesn’t mean they don’t occasionally happen in different corners, with using sexual orientation in one way or another subtly, but it’s not the body politic’s fight. The fight is over other values and other issues for the city.” Really? When did I land in LGBT utopia?
Carl DeMaio, when asked about the relevance of his sexual orientation and the importance of LGBT issues responded, “I made it quite clear that I’m running on an agenda of fiscal reform, job creation and infrastructure improvement and that will remain my focus … these other issues are just simply not relevant. I don’t think voters care one way or the other.”
Can you imagine if candidate Obama had said to African American voters that he was not including issues most important to them specifically in his agenda? That is what our gay and lesbian candidates seem to be saying to our community. If they think their sexual orientation does not matter to LGBT voters, they are wrong. Many of us would love to have a gay or lesbian mayor because we believe it advances LGBT equality.
Let me tell you what also matters to many voters; will Dumanis, Fletcher or DeMaio support the Republican presidential candidate in 2012? You know Romney, Gingrich or Santorum – all who do not support LGBT equality.
The Republican presidential field wants to reverse the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. That’s right; back to an environment where gay and lesbian soldiers serve from the closet. They each support a constitutional amendment to define marriage as a union between one man and one woman. Will Dumanis, DeMaio or Fletcher stump with the anti-LGBT nominee when they swing through San Diego? That is a valid question for a mayoral debate. San Diego LGBT Weekly will work to ensure that it gets asked.
DeMaio, Dumanis, Fletcher and Filner, your LGBT constituents have another question. While you are focused upon the fiscal and infrastructure issues of the city, will you take up the mantle of Mayor Sanders with respect to LGBT rights?
Straight Mayor Sanders has become a national figure in the fight for LGBT marriage rights and equality. Sanders famously riled the San Diego Republican Party in an unforgettable press briefing where he supported LGBT marriage equality. In spite of the opposition of many in his party, Sanders went on to win re-election handily. Sanders is now the co-chair of the Mayors for Freedom to Marry campaign, which is a group of more than 80 mayors who want to have same-sex marriage in their cities.
Sanders has taken the road less traveled and become a revered political figure in the LGBT community. Will Dumanis, DeMaio, Fletcher or Filner do the same?
We already have evidence of Dumanis’ and DeMaio’s leanings, with each touting the endorsements of renowned homophobes who are against marriage equality or whom have illustrated a lack of civility toward our community.
DeMaio has anti-LGBT former mayor, Roger Hedgecock and “Lysol Larry” Stirling in his camp. He also is reputedly supported by local business moguls Doug Manchester and Terry Caster. Manchester gave $125,000 to the anti-LGBT “Yes on 8” campaign, while the Caster family gave $700,000.
Dumanis has the support of past Republican state party chairman Ron Nehring, who is also a Dumanis campaign consultant. Nehring spoke at a “Yes on Prop 8” rally to protect “traditional” marriage. D.A. Dumanis: your campaign consultant does not support your marriage to your wife? Wow.
As the mayor of the eighth largest city in America, the winner’s opinion will count and can help move the LGBT equality agenda forward. Dumanis, DeMaio, Filner and Fletcher: Tell us whether you will be an awesome leader for LGBT rights, just as Mayor Sanders has been; or will our issues be on the back burner in your administration? This is also a perfect question for a mayoral debate.
Of course, San Diego LGBT Weekly offers each candidate our editorial page to speak directly to these questions. Earning the support of the LGBT community depends on it, and we will not let you take our vote for granted.
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