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Friday, December 02, 2005

Reader Response: Do Not Give Up on All MN Democrats

by Eileen Scallen

Do not give up on the Democrats. Really.

State Sen. Steve Kelley is also a candidate for the Democratic endorsement. He is a moderate Democrat who is adamantly opposed to the proposed state constitutional amendment. He is also the brother of Jim Kelley, who is the President of GLBT Pride/Twin Cities.

Sen. Kelley stood with GLBT Pride/Twin Cities (both physically and politically) at the press conference in December, 2004, when GLBT Pride/Twin Cities announced its civil rights complaint against the Mpls Star Tribune for refusing to publish an advertisement that contained a same-sex kiss, while publishing numerous advertisements with opposite sex kisses (the Star Tribune contends--with a "straight" face--that its policy is not to publish advertisements with people kissing, whether same sex or opposite sex). As far as I know, Sen. Kelley was the only candidate for governor in 2006 who attended this year's Human Rights Campaign dinner. (It is possible that other candidates were there, but I am positive that current Gov. Tim Pawlenty, my former U of M law school classmate, was not there).

Sen. Kelley has asked his very out gay brother Jim to serve as the head of a Kitchen Cabinet (on which I also serve) that will advise the Kelley Campaign on various issues of public policy, including GLBT issues.

On a personal note, some of my siblings (all straight), who identify as staunch Republicans (I identify as a moderate independent), are very attracted to Sen. Kelley's message of collaborative, nonpartisan, policy-making and moderation in fiscal and social policy. My brothers and sisters are tired of Tim Pawlenty's pandering to the bigoted religious right (although they are good Catholics themselves. As we know, not all religious folks are bigoted). My Republican brothers and sisters are joining me at an introductory fund-raiser for Sen. Kelley, to be held next Tuesday, Dec. 6, at the Local restaurant in Minneapolis from 5-7 pm (suggested donation $50.00, which is reimbursable through the state's campaign finance law). It should be a great party, regardless of political issues.

I'll tell you folks what I told my straight brothers and sisters: Steve Kelley is a guy we can all get behind in 2006; geez, what a change! But Steve will need our help to get the DFL endorsement over Mike Hatch (and, being a guy of integrity, Steve has promised to abide by the endorsement process of his party) in the coming months. Frankly, I wish he had not made that pledge, but he has this old-fashioned Midwestern notion of loyalty and honesty. Go figure.

Personally I resist identifying as a Log Cabin Republican because the "R" word has become so difficult due to the dominance of the bigoted right in the party--I just can't do it. Yet I am also very distressed, as you have pointed out on numerous occasions Eva, that State Rep. Matt Entenza did not push his fellow House Democrats to vote the principled route, rather than "their districts," even though the DFLers would have been out-voted by House Republican majority no matter what. It is that ambivalence by some DFL leaders that makes it impossible for me to identify as a true DFLer. However, while I know a few Republicans who vote against the tide on GLBT issues (including Rep. Doug Meslow), I know many DFLers who do the right thing--including Sen. Kelley.

I firmly believe that there are politicians who are closer to the true values of the Log Cabin Republicans who may not travel under the "R" flag. Thus, I urge all MN Log Cabin Republicans to be less interested in strict party affiliation and more interested in policy positions. If that fits your description, please check out Steve Kelley's positions.

Eva, I do not belong to all the list-serves and groups that you post to (I just belong to mn-logcabin@yahoogroups.com). Thus, I would appreciate it if you would cross-post this to the other MN lists to which you belong. I genuinely think we could all come together in a Steve Kelley administration.

And for the record, as a fellow law professor who has heard Prof. Dale Carpenter speak on MANY occasions and who reads his work religiously, I think Dale is an outstanding advocate on the issue of GLBT legal protections, including civil marriage.

Best regards--
Eileen Scallen
Professor of Law
William Mitchell College of Law

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