What should voters make of a candidate for U. S. Senate who uses an anti-equality former state legislator to entice women to work his campaign phone bank?
Gabriel Gomez is the Republican candidate running against U. S. Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA05) in the June 25 special election to fill John Kerry’s Massachusetts Senate seat.
Mr. Gomez has stated that he supports the repeal of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, and that he is “against any kind of discrimination”. Yet he remains silent on his views on any LGBT-related legislation currently pending in the Senate such as the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).
An understanding of the candidate’s views on ENDA is vital since a vote on the bill is expected in the Senate in July. Since ENDA would be one of the first bills Mr. Gomez would be voting on if he gets elected, Massachusetts voters deserve to know what his plan of action is on this bill, or if he even has one.
Rep. Markey is a co-sponsor of ENDA, so his views are clear.
When there is deafening silence from a candidate like Mr. Gomez, voters are forced to look for other signs of sincerity and intent from the candidate’s campaign. For example, Mr. Gomez has chosen Karyn Polito to be the star attraction of the “Women For Gomez” phone bank his campaign is holding in Worcester this evening.
Ms. Polito was a state representative from 2001 to 2011. During that time she was one of the last anti-gay holdouts in the legislature who voted (unsuccessfully) to amend the state constitution to ban same-sex marriage. She also voted against allowing out-of-state same-sex couples to marry in Massachusetts.
Until last month, Ms. Polito was campaign manager for Mike Sullivan, an anti-choice, anti-equality Republican candidate who lost to Mr. Gomez in the April special primary.
There is always the ugly possibility that Mr. Gomez simply selected Ms. Polito to appear tonight because she is a woman, and doesn’t consider her discriminatory views to be as important as having a woman — any woman — headlining his event. He did, after all, use the pink = ladies cliche in his invitation.
Unless Mr. Gomez takes a few minutes out of his busy fun run schedule to start speaking substantively to the issues, voters will have to fill in the blanks for themselves. “I’m against any kind of discrimination” sounds nice, but so far Mr. Gomez has shown no sign that he has the guts to stand behind his words or a plan to enact them.
Cross-posted at Pam’s House Blend.