The Massachusetts Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus (MGLPC), the Leading LGBT Lobby Organization and Key Architect for the Strategy Securing Marriage Equality, Has Endorsed Republican Daniel Winslow (9th Norfolk) And Former Mitt Romney's Chief Legal Counsel Over Democrat Challenger Stanley Nacewicz For the Massachusetts House of Representatives
Led by Co-Chair Arline Isaacson, the MGLPC voted unanimously in last week's annual meeting to endorse the Republican, Daniel Winslow over his Democratic challenger, Stan Nacewicz for the Massachusetts House Seat representing the 9th Norfolk District in Fall 2010. This District seat was formerly held by Richard Ross (R) who vacated it when he succesfully ran for Scott Brown's (R) Massachusetts Senate Seat after Brown's historic victory took him to Washington, DC.
But what makes this endorsement very unusual in LGBT politics is that Dan Winslow was Governor Mitt Romney's Chief Legal Counsel during Massachusetts fight for Marriage Equality (2002-2005). Romney as we all remember worked with the bigots at the Massachusetts Family Institute as well as the Catholic Church, Black Ministerial Alliance and various and sundry other anti-gay organizations to redact the Goodridge Decision, stop same-sex marriages, and leave gays and lesbian couples, their families and children unprotected in the Commonwealth.
Arline Isaacson touted Republican Dan Winslow for his support of The Goodridge Decision, his zero tolerance of hate crimes and told the Caucus gathering, "Winslow is what we need," in terms of a Republican that understands LGBT issues. Isaacson also gave a bit of insight into Winslow's history as the Romney attorney that changed our state's marriage license wording from "Bride and Groom" to "Party A and Party B" (more on that to follow).
But what was interesting was that Isaacson provided the Caucus with Winslow's answers to her standard nine topic questionnaire on civil rights issues that all candidates are given. Dan Winslow answered "Yes" to all subjects ranging from Gay and Lesbian Civil Rights to HIV Funding to Opposition of DOMA to Choice except one...the Transgender Civil Rights and Hate Crimes Bill. On this topic Winslow's report to Caucus voters was not a "yes" or a "no" but an "asterix." Isaacson explained that Dan Winslow would like to know more about the Transgender Rights Bill and Transgender people in general before answering that part of Isaacson's questionnaire (a learning opportunity that many LGBT activists and Democratic State leges will not allow Charlie Baker (R) who is running against Deval Patrick (D) for Governor this fall). With this Daniel Winslow still received a unanimous endorsement of the room which included mostly Democrats, Stonewall Democrats, various Democratic delegates, an ACLU laywer and the Chair of the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition, Gunner Scott.
So what does KnowThyNeighbor think about this? I interviewed Dan Winslow extensively after the Caucus endorsement meeting. On the subject of Marriage Equality post Goodridge, Winslow says that Massachusetts needs legal updates. Winslow told me that during the Romney days many within the administration insisted that MA marriage licenses continue to read "Bride and Groom" as, according to Winslow, some wanted same gender couples to "have to decide which would be the bride and which would be the groom" or in other words force same-sex couples to humiliate themselves. Winslow was the one who pushed the "Party A/Party B" nomenclature as one of respect and dignity for same sex couples and a general equality for all parties entering into marriage. Winslow wanted to make me understand that he has 3 important legal changes to state laws post Goodridge that to him are of the utmost urgency. One, changes to current birth certificates which would recognize same sex couples. Two, the inclusion of "civil unions" and "domestic partnerships" as impediments to MA marriages (currently, two people of the same gender could be married to one another in MA while being part of a dom partnership in Washington State to another person). And Three, that MA courts must retain the jurisdiction of divorce when it comes to our same-sex marriages.
On the important topic of Transgender Rights and the current bill that had the support of the Democrat Controlled House and Senate yet failed to be voted on in this past session, Dan Winslow had some comments. He believes that for him Transgender people's inclusion in the Hate Crimes portion as well as workplace and housing protection is a no brainer. On the bill itself which seems to be confusing many, he welcomes dialogue and guarantees LGBT activists "constructive dialogue" on the subject.
KnowThyNeighbor's take on Dan Winslow is positive, very positive, and a good choice for endorsement. Doors are open to us. Maybe we have been forced for so long into sitting in the waiting area that we don't know when to stand up and walk into the room.
Tom Lang, Director of KnowThyNeighbor.org