What does Harold Ford have in common with PA Gubernatorial candidate Dan Onorato?
crossposted at Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents and Lez Get Real
What does PA Gubernatorial candidate and current Chief Executive of Allegheny County (home of Pittsburgh and second largest County in PA) have common with Harold Ford? From an LGBT perspective, more than you might imagine.
The New York Times interviewed Emily Ford, wife of candidate for the open Senate Seat from New York. In this interview, she takes some credit for Ford's recent much lauded turnabout on LGBTQ issues.
Already, some members of the Democratic establishment have accused him of reversing his opposition to same-sex marriage and to flipping from being against abortion to supporting abortion rights in a calculated appeal to New York voters. Mr. Ford has denied this.
On the marriage issue, Ms. Ford seems to have played a role in changing her husband's mind. In an interview on “The Colbert Report,” Mr. Ford credited his wife with influencing his views, an acknowledgment that pleased her. Ms. Ford said in her interview the other day that she had several conversations with her husband about gay marriage. She told him about a gay step-uncle who had died of AIDS and a gay aunt, both of whom were in loving, committed relationships.
“Harold never met my uncle or my aunt, but he knows how important this is to me,” Ms. Ford said.
More below the fold.
So we must entertain the plausibility (not just the possibility) of a candidate doing what we want — growing as a person to better understand LGBTQ views.
For ten years, Ford's voting record on our issues has been deplorable. He voted twice for a federal amendment banning marriage equality. Twice. He voted to oppose same sex adoptions in DC. The LGBTQ community has pretty much written him off as a “which way does the wind blow” opportunist who is also suddenly a “pro-life, pro-choice” candidate in spite of anti-choice votes when he served in Congress. Why is it his sudden mission to reclaim the term “pro-life”? From who? Murderous anti-abortion zealots who assassinate doctors and pimp out their children to hold pictures of fetuses at public events? No thanks. They can keep it.
The problem is that elected officials seem to suddenly have a change of heart when they run for office, not when they face a critical vote and face reelection.
That brings us to Dan Onorato who is running for Governor. I could believe the snake oil being sold to me that he changed his mind with the passage of the Allegheny County anti-discrimination ordinance in July 2009 IF he had publicly supported it prior to his April 2009 letter. That was too far into the game IMHO. However, I am being told that he had to work behind the scenes to persuade reluctant Democrats to get on board. I'm not a behind the scenes Democrat donor so I have no idea if that's true.
I know from in front of the scenes (where the voters are) that a strong anti-discrimination stance from a Democrat leader would be powerful.
But the biggest difference between Harold Ford and Dan Onorato is that Onorato has failed to do something in his CURRENT term that would make a difference – provide domestic partner benefits to County employees. Harold Ford has been out of office for three years so maybe he has changed and been unable to act on that change.
Onorato could do something today when he gets to the office. But he doesn't because he and his campaign team haven't figure out how that would “look” for the campaign. It is the worst kind of evidence that he's not sincere because is failing every single day that goes by to do the right thing for his employees and his LGBTQ constituents. Or that he is sincere but won't take action when he has the opportunity because of fear. What kind of pro-LGBTQ candidate is that?
Either way, he fails the litmus test. Over domestic partner benefits which is like the lightest, most non-controversial gay issue in town. If he can't make health care available to the families of people that work for him, do you REALLY think he's going to go the mat on statewide issues? He'll always have another election to face so he'll always have a reason to proceed with caution.
Let's not even get into Onorato's attempt to redefine pro-choice. I'd include links to his civil rights, equal rights, and women's rights platform/agenda, but he doesn't have any of those things on his website. Neither does opponent Jack Wagner, but opponent Joe Hoeffel DOES Here have an entire section devoted to civil rights and equality.
Harold Ford and Dan Onorato are too little, too late Democrats. Their timing is fraught with reasons to be skeptical at best. Onorato's lack of action is screaming with reasons to look elsewhere for a candidate.
Or you can trust the behind the scenes donors who have no accountability to you, the voter.
Your choice. So to speak.