The Strange Bedfellows Of San Diego’s Mayoral Candidate Carl DeMaio
In San Diego, we have two credible gay candidates vying for election to mayor. The Christian Post describes it this way in their article 2 Gay GOP Candidates in San Diego Mayoral Race:
San Diego’s mayoral race is featuring two openly gay candidates as leading contenders.
District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, 59, and City Councilman Carl DeMaio, 36, are openly gay but so far it has not been a big issue for voters because neither have made their sexual orientation a big talking point, according to The Associated Press.
The election will be held in about eight months.
Specifically about DeMaio, the article goes on to state:
DeMaio says nothing about being a homosexual on his candidate’s website. He does say, “Carl DeMaio is no stranger to adversity. Carl’s mother passed away two weeks after his father abandoned the family. At age 14, Carl was taken in by Jesuits and given the opportunity to earn his way to Georgetown University.”
“I learned from a young age that no matter how bad things get, there is always a way to overcome any challenge,” he says on his website.
Well, Councilman DeMaio has been garnering endorsements for his campaign, and in an LGBT Weekly editorial entitled Strange bedfellows: DeMaio, Hedgecock and Lysol Larry Stirling, publisher Corbin Stampp outlines some history about who DeMaio is heralding as endorsers in his campaign emails.
Infamously, in 1994, [former San Diego mayor Roger] Hedgecock petitioned for his group, “Normal People,” to be allowed to march in the Pride parade. Due to his group’s intention to protest and disrupt Pride, the Pride committee refused his request, resulting in a lawsuit filed in San Diego Superior Court. Hedgecock argued that the First Amendment guaranteed him the right to participate in the parade, and accused the LGBT community of discriminating against his group because it was comprised of heterosexuals.
Hedgecock also used the LGBT community as a wedge issue during the Gov. Gray Davis-recall election, stating that Davis was going to sign a bill giving rights to “transsexuals …. because he (Davis) needs the radical leftist gay and lesbian community to support him.”
In 2009, Roger Hedgecock stated:
“Just as illegal aliens seem to have more ‘rights’ than citizens do, homosexuals claim their ‘civil rights’ prevail over everyone else’s civil rights.”
Hedgecock, in his role as a conservative talk show host, also “saturated the airwaves and his Web site with information on the campaign to help generate 1.1 million signatures that qualified Prop. 8 for the ballot.”
So if you were a 2011 candidate for mayor who was also gay, why would you want Hedgecock’s endorsement? Why would you herald it in a campaign email?
It gets better…or worse…depending on your perspective. The editorial also talks about DeMaio’s endorser “Lysol” Larry Stirling.
DeMaio has also accepted the endorsement of career Republican politician Larry Stirling, who has given the maximum allowable contribution to the DeMaio campaign. An article in the June 14, 1991 Los Angeles Times says it all in the first sentence “San Diego County Municipal Judge Larry W. Stirling displayed ignorance about AIDS when he ordered court workers to clean and mop the courtroom after an appearance by a defendant who had tested positive for the AIDS virus.”
Stirling’s response “Being HIV positive doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have a full-blown case of AIDS. If you saw this fellow, you’d think he was suffering from AIDS.” OK anything you say Judge Stirling. After the incident Stirling earned the derisive moniker “Lysol Larry.”
During his time in the California state Assembly and Senate, Stirling voted time and time again against legislation that was favorable to the LGBT community, and opposed HIV/AIDS funding. Stirling also signed the California Marriage Protection Pledge that was aimed at rolling back LGBT gains in terms of hospital visitation and domestic partnership benefits in 2004. Stirling also supported a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.
So if you were a 2011 candidate for mayor who was also gay, why would you want Stirling’s endorsement? Why would you herald it in a campaign email?
My mouth literally dropped open when I read this editorial.
If Councilman DeMaio is embracing, and even heralding, the endorsements of virulently antigay Republicans Hedgecock and Stirling in his run for mayor, what would that herald for San Diego’s LGBT community should DeMaio be elected to that office?
You’d have to be truly giving into your own internalized homophobia and/or internalized transphobia to vote for this antigay embracing, gay politician running for mayor.
Wow. Just “wow.”
Full disclosure: Autumn Sandeen writes the column Trans Progressive for LGBT Weekly.