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Saturday, October 16, 2004

Fisking Lavender Magazine's Mike Krause: He's wrong on Rhodes, Cox and Erhardt

His latest Lavender Collumn is here.

On the constitutional amendment vote in the House, GLBT Minnesotans had universal support among DFLers who dominate the delegations in Minneapolis, St. Paul, Duluth, and the Iron Range.

We had many suburban allies as well, including Connie Bernardy of Fridley, Lynn Carlson of Robbinsdale, Barbara Goodwin of Columbia Heights, Deb Hillstrom of Brooklyn Center, Mike Nelson of Brooklyn Park, Katie Sieben of Newport, Nora Slawik of Maplewood, and Paul Thissen of Richfield.

All these deserve praise. However, it is ironic that Krause left out that Rebecca Otto voted for this anti-gay amendment - and I've heard from sources in the house, that Minority Leader Matt Entenza advised her to vote this way. Since Entenza was a major supporter - and got the DFL house caucus to spend $60,000 on her behalf during the special election, I find this eminently believable. The house DFL caucus notably, did not take an official position on this amendment. Now Otto has capitalized on anti-amendment sentiment when she got the St Paul Pioneer Press endorsement.

Joe Opatz of St. Cloud and Bill Hilty from the Pine County area cast especially courageous votes against the constitutional amendment.

All these political allies deserve to be reelected to their seats.


A handful of Republicans were opposed to the constitutional amendment as well, including Ron Erhardt of Edina, Ray Cox of Northfield, and Jim Rhodes of St. Louis Park. Cox and Rhodes have tough fights for re-election on their hands from David Bly and Steve Simon, respectively.

The issue for GLBT voters in these districts is that a vote for Cox or Rhodes, while rewarding them for supporting GLBT rights, is also a vote for House Speaker Steve Sviggum and other Republican House leaders who have consistently antigay records.

Yes, and voting for Cox or Rhodes opponents is a vote for Matt Entenza, who to gay audiences, will wax eloquent about the need to fight those evil republicans, while privately advising DFLers in swing districts to vote for the anti-gay Bachmann amendment.

Republicans who make the tough votes - against the anti-gay segments of their base, should be rewarded. It's important to have these voices at house caucus meetings. Gays will marginalize themselves politically, if they follow Krause's single party logic.

A suburban race of particular interest, in the New Hope area, features DFLer Sandra Peterson against Republican Lynne Ostermann. Although Ostermann has cultivated a more moderate image among Republican House members, she still voted to put the antigay marriage amendment on the state ballot. Peterson has had support from GLBT elected officials and groups.

Yes, Ostermann did vote for the Bachmann amendment. Log Cabin Republicans of Minnesota endorsed Ostermann in 2000. The Log Cabin Republicans of Minnesota PAC did not endorse Ostermann this time around. Her record in the legislature has been 100% anti-gay. Her rhetoric is different on this issue.

And for the GLBT voters agonizing over races such as the Cox-versus-Bly and Rhodes-versus-Simon contests, remember that the first vote cast by Republicans Cox and Rhodes, if they are reelected, will be for House Speaker.

Even though we had their vote against the constitutional amendment, they absolutely will vote to return Sviggum to the Speaker's chair.

True. Rep Sviggum supported the anti-gay amendment this past session. I'm not clear whether OutFront Minnesota made any attempts to lobby him on this issue this year. But as I said before, Krause is suggesting a recipe to marginalize gays should the Republicans win the house again. I have no problem with voting out anti-gay Republicans. I do have a major problem with voting out pro-gay Republicans - and hardworking legislators like Representative Rhodes. I watched his debate with his opponent - and Rhodes was head and shoulders above his Democratic

That first vote of the session alone should be enough to motivate GLBT voters in all these districts to get out and vote, and tell their friends and allies what it will mean to the GLBT community to have a change in
leadership in St. Paul.

Vote with your brain..... It's stupid to tie our fortunes as a community completely to the Democratic wagon. In order to win politically on our issues, we need to have friends on both sides of the aisle.