Concerns raised over candidate’s LGBT stances
By: Lauren Walleser/TRT Reporter—
In a special election to replace Senator John Kerry following his resignation to become U.S. Secretary of State, Representative Ed Markey (Democrat) and former Navy SEAL Gabriel Gomez (Republican) will vie to fill the position on June 25. As the election approaches, questions have been raised regarding Gomez’s stances on LGBT issues, particularly when it comes to the role of states versus the federal government in deciding marriage laws.
Ned Flaherty—Projects Manager at Marriage Equality USA who manages the National Marriage Map—said he attempted to contact Gomez’s campaign four times to get his stances on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), equal immigration rights for LGBT citizens, the Domestic Partnership Benefits & Obligations Act, the Tax Parity for Health Plan Beneficiaries Act, the Respect for Marriage Act and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). He said his inquiries were never returned. In the Republican primary debates, Gomez stated that he supports the repeal of DOMA on the federal level, but believes states must also be left with the power to decide how to interpret marriage laws. [pullquote]“Gomez’ party adopted a series of anti-LGBT resolutions on 12 April, including prohibitions against same-gender civil marriage nationwide in both state and federal law,” Flaherty said.[/pullquote]
“Gabriel Gomez claims to oppose all discrimination, yet he also wants every state to be able to discriminate against all of its own same-gender couples, and also discriminate against all same-gender couples from other states,” Flaherty said. “His claims are contradictory. Gomez wants the 29 states that already banned same-gender civil marriage via law, or constitution, or both to continue doing that.”
Gomez’s campaign website states that he opposes discrimination of any kind and supports same-sex marriage. Will Ritter, press secretary for Gabriel Gomez for Senate explained what informs the candidate’s position.
“Particularly, he was touched by a personal friend of his who is gay who was kicked out of the Naval Academy although he was one of the top recruits,” Ritter said. [pullquote]Ritter said he does not think Gomez’s stance is contradictory, confirming that Gomez supports repealing DOMA, but stands by the position to allow states to enact their own laws.[/pullquote]
Ritter said he does not think Gomez’s stance is contradictory, confirming that Gomez supports repealing DOMA, but stands by the position to allow states to enact their own laws.
“There’s kind of three levels here, and while he wants to repeal DOMA, he still thinks that a state should be able to effectuate their own marriage laws and vote or decide on the state court level how they want to interpret marriage,” Ritter said. “And then you get your classic 10th amendment argument that if you don’t like the way that your state has put the laws together or interprets that law, then you can vote with your feet and you can leave.”
Ritter went on to clarify the candidate’s position.
“When it comes to laws and legislation on the federal level, which is the office he’s running for, he believes that DOMA, which is a federal law, should be repealed, and that’s all he wants to do on a federal level,” said Ritter. “So as far as the states, obviously he hopes that what is happening now that we’re seeing almost monthly, states deciding to legalize gay marriage, he hopes that continues. But it’s sort of a question of how far do you want the federal government to go in making that happen.”
Flaherty claims that as a Republican, Gomez supports the Republican Party platform, which he said contains 12 specific plans to oppress LGBT citizens.
“Gomez’ party adopted a series of anti-LGBT resolutions on 12 April, including prohibitions against same-gender civil marriage nationwide in both state and federal law,” Flaherty said. “Gomez’ party declared mixed-gender marriages as ‘holy’ which makes same-gender marriages ‘un-holy’ and is a clear violation of the separation of church and state.”
Flaherty noted that Gomez’ party vowed to block all immigration reform if any clauses for LGBT fairness are added. However, Ritter said Gomez supports equal immigration rights for LGBT citizens. As for the Domestic Partnership Benefits & Obligations Act, Ritter said Gomez’ stance is consistent.
“He does not believe that there should be any difference between a homosexual couple’s benefits and a heterosexual couple’s benefits if they’re married,” Ritter said. [pullquote]Flaherty noted that Gomez’ party vowed to block all immigration reform if any clauses for LGBT fairness are added.[/pullquote]
When asked about Gomez’s support of ENDA, Ritter could not give a definitive answer.
“I’d have to take a look at that, but I can tell you based on the principles of him thinking that heterosexuals and homosexuals should be treated in the same regard I can imagine that he would support that as well, but we’d want to look at the specific act to make sure we knew what we were signing up for,” Ritter said.
The Gomez campaign did not respond to further attempts to gain clarification regarding his stance on ENDA.
Ed Markey, his opponent, states under the LGBT section on his campaign website that he “has co-sponsored six bills to ban employment discrimination, legislation to change the tax code to allow domestic partners to qualify for employer-provided insurance, and supported legislation to provide spousal health care, retirement and other benefits to all federal employees in same-sex domestic partnerships.”
Markey is also a co-sponsor of the Respect for Marriage Act, which would repeal DOMA, has a 100 percent rating from the Human Rights Campaign and was endorsed by MassEquality. His campaign also did not respond to questions asking him to clarify his own positions and comment on those of Gomez.
The election will be held June 25 in Massachusetts. To view the National Marriage Map, visit http://tiny.cc/gnhjxw. For more information on Gomez, visit www.gomezforma.com/. For more on Markey, visit www.edmarkey.com/.