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Commentary :: GLBT/Queer
An Open Letter to Supporters of Equality
11 Nov 2004
In response to Mass Equality and MA Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus endorsements for 2004 Elections.
A Open Letter to Those Who Support Equality

Dear Friends,
We have made a moral decision to support the rights of gays and lesbians to be treated equally under the law, particularly in respect to the rights of gays and lesbians to marry. We have also made a social decision to fight for these rights by calling our political representatives, picketing at the state house, and rallying all around Massachusetts when the rights of all were affirmed and gays and lesbians could finally apply for marriage certificates. Some of us however have also made a political decision to support those elected officials in the past election, who had voted against the unconstitutional, constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. This decision was made mainly by the leadership of organizations such as Mass Equality and the Massachusetts Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus and then followed by some of the members and supporters of these organizations.
Several days ago the Freedom to Marry Coalition sent out an email stating that history was made and that “equality won in Massachusetts”. History was certainly made this past election yet one would have to argue whether or not “equality” won in this state. If by won we are referring to the quantitative success of pro-marriage candidates then that statement would without a doubt be true. If we look however at the qualitative results of this past election clearly “equality” did not win.
Speaking from strictly personal experience I can say there were two instances in which equality lost in this state. The first instance occurred in the Democratic Primary on September 14th, 2004 and the second occurred on November 2nd, 2004.
In the 26th Middlesex district a man named Avi Green ran against incumbent Tim Toomey for the State Representative seat. Tim Toomey is a active anti-choice activist and has voted many times to take away a woman’s right to choose as well as a woman’s right to enter into facilities such as Planned Parenthood safely. While he did vote in favor of gay marriage, with much pressure from gay rights activists, he certainly is not someone who believes in equality. Nevertheless organizations like Mass Equality and The Massachusetts Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus endorsed Mr. Toomey and encouraged voters to support his candidacy.
Avi Green on the other hand was an OPEN supporter of gay marriage throughout the district, Mr. Toomey only made this position open in the more “liberal” sections of his district (Inman Square area and parts of Somerville) while pandering to the bigotry of those who resided in more conservative parts of the district (East Cambridge and parts of Somerville), by hiding his position. There was no need to hide his position since both Avi Green and the Republican candidate David Slavitt were also pro-gay marriage. His pandering to bigotry not only showed his weak position on the issue but also resulted in hurting the long term battle for educating others about this issue.
Avi Green was also adamantly opposed to any legislative actions which would assault the rights of women to choose what happens to their own bodies and was endorsed by NARAL Pro-Choice MA, National Organization for Women, and Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund. His positions for equality FOR ALL was applauded and therefore he was endorsed by the local gay and lesbian rights groups in Somerville and Cambridge, (Out Somerville and the Cambridge Lavender Alliance).
These groups realized that regardless of who won the primary they would have someone on Beacon Hill that would support gay rights. They also saw that if Avi Green won the primary not only would the rights of the LGBT community be protected but they would be defended aggressively along with the rights of women.
The second loss for equality can be seen in the election in the Middlesex-Essex district for State Senate. Katherine Clark, a progressive Democrat who believes strongly in the rights of the LGBT community and in the rights of women, ran against Republican Richard Tisei, a 20 year incumbent who had voted against a women’s right to choose several times and also joined people like Tim Toomey to ban a safety zone outside of clinics like Planned Parenthood. Richard Tisei also had voted 13 times for education spending cuts in 2003, voted against the Assault Weapons Ban (earning him a A+ rating from the NRA), and called unions the “first people to trash America” before voting against a Human Rights bill for the state.
Nevertheless Richard Tisei voted against the constitutional amendment banning gay marriage and therefore received the endorsement of Massachusetts Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus, (though you would never find that information on his website fearing a loss of votes from his Republican constituency). What you could have found 14 years ago however was an ad against Representative Mike Festa when he ran against Senator Tisiei for the seat. The ad attacked Mike Festa for his position that same sex couples should be allowed to adopt children. Mr. Tisei says he has evolved. It seems however that after 14 years, to go from putting out widespread ads about the dangers of having children be brought up by same sex couples, to putting out small and very targeted ads supporting equality, his so-called evolution has not come far enough for the needs of the fight for equality.
Mr. Tisei may have voted the right way on Beacon Hill but he made it up to his Republican conservative friends by giving $2,000 to the Bush/Cheney campaign, further empowering their efforts to push for a national ban on gay marriage.
Katherine Clark was supported however by people like Congressman Barney Frank and the Stonewall Democrats. Like in the case with Avi Green, these people realized the importance of supporting a candidate who was for equality for all.
Both Tim Toomey and Richard Tisei won on November 2nd, 2004. Whether or not organizations like Mass Equality or the Massachusetts Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus played a major role in these victories is moot. What is important to understand is the contradictions which their endorsements were sewn with, the reactionary nature of their strategy, and the regressive message which those endorsements have sent not only to the LGBT community which holds their opinion in high regard, but also to those officials who have learned that they can skirt public safety, women’s rights, and workers rights and still earn votes from progressively minded people.
If the fight for equality is to be successful it must be consistent and dedicated to equality for all.
Those who support true equality must not only lobby their elected officials but also those who decided to undertake a regressive strategy for this past election. If the rights of the LGBT community are put over the rights of women, and visa versa, then the movement for equality will easily be divided and those who hold conservative values of patriarchy and bigotry will come out on top. Let us follow the lead of groups like the Stonewall Democrats, Out Somerville and the Cambridge Lavender Alliance and take a united stand for equality.
I hope from here a dialogue can begin.

Thank You,

Anthony J. Naro
110 Line St apt #2
Somerville, MA
(Former field organizer for Avi Green and field director for Katherine Clark)

This work is in the public domain
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Re: An Open Letter to Supporters of Equality
12 Nov 2004
While running a post election loss campaign for Avi Green, Anthony Naro said:

"while pandering to the bigotry of those who resided in more conservative parts of the district "

As opposed to liberal bigotry against stable families, self-employment, and normal sexual relations?

he also said:

" voted against the Assault Weapons Ban"
As opposed to voting in FAVOR of the Second Amendment to the Constitution?

He also said:
"same sex couples"
As opposed to GAY couples?

He also said:
"people like Congressman Barney Frank"
Does that mean "same sex" people?

He also said:
"the regressive message"
You mean normal marriage, meat and potatoes, patriotism, and steady skilled employment?

He also said:
"conservative values of patriarchy and bigotry"
That is racist and sexist against white men.
Re: An Open Letter to Supporters of Equality
13 Nov 2004
Thank you for your comments. However, though we may disagree on language, though I do not believe in points (with exception to the AWB and perhaps your last comment) I am very curious as to your opinion on my overall point? Also if you care to, could you expunge on your re-definitions?
Thank You,
Tony
Re: An Open Letter to Supporters of Equality
15 Nov 2004
Am I missing the point of your article? As I understand your argument, "equality" (the ability for all humans to seek their own level) was damaged when a jewish gentleman who was well networked and whon advocated gay marriage was defeated in the last election. And that "equality" was again damaged in Mass. when Katherine Clak, a socialist lost the election to a man who opposes abortion (to an unspecified degree) , favors the Second Amendment, and gives his lobby money to groups other than the gay lobby.

My opinion on that point is that "equality" was not damaged, since gays and those who are afraid of guns are still free to seek their own level, and that Democracy was conserved since a fair election transpired.

On my redefinitions:

I note that gays now use the euphemism "same sex" when advocating their verson of marriage. Why don't they say "queer marriage" as queer has been used by them on other occasions.

I am also curious as to how defining marriage and the Second Amendment against their written definitions shows "progression" of anything but semantic decay.

I also note that Boston and its outlying communities have their fair share of white, black, chinese, gay and lesbian bigots... left wing bigotry.