It's funny how this one astonishingly doesn't get as much press as the one with ad hominem bashing of the national Democratic Party because of actions of a small subsection of the Democratic Party (the upper echelons of which, do not even support the decision, BTW...) in a state that wouldn't even strike institutionalized segregation out of the language of its state constitution...
So in the spirit of equal time, chew on this, Democracy [for America] bashers --
[Openly] Uncle Tom's Cabin Republican opposes marriage equality
Is he genuine or just trying to stand out in a crowded race?
As stage-managed political events go, the one at the Massachusetts Republican Party nominating convention back on April 29 was a classic. A hundred down-ticket Republican candidates paraded down the side aisles of Lowell’s Tsongas Arena, two streams of waving, fist-pumping foot soldiers striding to the familiar pounding of the Rocky III anthem “Eye of the Tiger” as an audience of GOP faithful cheered them on from their seats. But as they amassed onstage, the contenders became a waving, grinning blur of mostly middle-aged white men in dark suits, one nearly indistinguishable from the next. Just one candidate managed to stand out in the bland throng: The six-foot-four 24-year-old holding aloft the red, white and blue campaign placard that read “Aaron Maloy for State Rep.” It was a clever way to make the most of an otherwise empty, feel-good gesture at an event that was staged largely as a coming out party for gubernatorial candidate Kerry Healey.
There is no doubt that Aaron Maloy knows how to separate himself from the pack. In the crowded race to succeed retiring Republican state Rep. Shirley Gomes in the Fourth Barnstable District, the Orleans Republican is the youngest of the six candidates vying for the seat and the only political newcomer in the bunch. But he is also the only candidate who is unequivocally opposed to same-sex marriage. Oh, and he’s openly gay.
Maloy isn’t the only gay candidate in the race; so, too, are Democrats Sarah Peake, a Provincetown selectwoman, and Ray Gottwald, a member of the Barnstable County Assembly of Delegates (they’re competing in a three-way September primary with Chatham Selectman Ron Bergstrom). But his position on the marriage issue has brought him a good deal of attention, much of it negative. Many observers, it seems, are unable to fathom the idea of an openly gay man who is opposed to letting same-sex couples legally marry; Maloy, for instance, has generated considerable discussion on the blog Cape Politics at CapeCodToday.com. Said one poster with the handle “capecod_mom” of Maloy back in June: “I thought that he was just a conservative who was using gay marriage as his one ‘stand’ to try and differentiate himself. Finding out that he is actually gay is mind boggling.” CapeCodToday.com editor Walter Brooks went so far as to dub Maloy “Phyllis Schlafly in drag.” Brooks contends that running as an openly gay man in the Fourth Barnstable — which encompasses Provincetown, Truro, Wellfleet, Eastham, Orleans, Chatham and Harwich — is a huge asset for Maloy. But what is not to Maloy’s advantage, Brooks quickly adds, is for the candidate “to appear like the hypocrite he is by being against same-sex marriage while he’s a gay person himself.”
Is an openly gay opponent of marriage equality running in the only state where it’s legal dooming his candidacy from the start? Not really, says Spyro Mitrokostas, a former Dukakis political operative and Cape Politics contributor. “If there is criticism, it’s not coming from people who are going to be called on to vote for him,” says Mitrokostas, who is the executive director of the Dennis Chamber of Commerce. “He is running in a Republican primary. The criticism is probably coming from people who will be voting in the Democratic primary.” That said, Mitrokostas adds, “It may come into play in the general election, if he makes it that far.”
Indeed, Maloy’s position on the issue is a selling point for some of his supporters — folks like Justine Kirkwood, the 75-year-old member of the Orleans Republican Town Committee who has been active in local GOP politics for decades. Kirkwood notes that Maloy is alone among his opponents in his belief that marriage should be reserved for a man and a woman, and though some voters think it’s not an important campaign issue, she says, “I do. It was the way I was brought up I suppose.”
Maloy, Kirkwood adds, “has a very strong religion … and a faith in God which is nice to see also.” Maloy attends a Congregational Church on the Cape. She does not believe that Maloy’s sexual orientation will be an issue among voters in the GOP primary, in which he’ll compete against Harwich Selectman Don Howell and former Chatham Selectman and journalist Andrew Buckley. Kirkwood, a retired teacher and school librarian, came to know Maloy when he was one of her students at Nauset Regional Middle School, helped Maloy celebrate his 24th birthday back in June by hosting a fundraiser for him at her Orleans home.
Maloy has steadfastly defended his position against same-sex marriage on the campaign trail, though he acknowledges it has cost him some support. He notes that he recently ran into another former teacher who said she’d not be voting for him since he was not supportive on the issue. When Maloy pointed out that there are other important issues to be considered in the race, “she said, ‘That’s the only issue I care about,’” Maloy recalls. “That’s like the make it or break it [issue],” he says. “I’ve heard that a lot.” The candidate’s opposition to same-sex marriage is based on his belief, which he says has “evolved very recently,” that marriage is a religious institution and “part of the heterosexual culture.”
“A lot of religious people hold it very sacred,” says Maloy. “I think that marriage is something that’s more religious and perhaps should be — perhaps,” he emphasizes — “should be separate from the state.” Maloy is supportive of offering same-sex couples benefits and protections through civil unions or domestic partnerships. But marriage, says Maloy, “is an institution between a man and a woman and I think that it’s part of the heterosexual culture. I don’t buy the whole separate but equal thing,” he adds, a reference to arguments by marriage equality advocates — and the Supreme Judicial Court’s advisory opinion in Goodridge — that creating a separate legal status for same-sex couples is inherently unequal.
Maloy supports letting the question of whether or not to amend the state constitution to ban same-sex marriage in Massachusetts go before voters, a matter the Legislature is poised to take up on Nov. 9. “I think it’s really important for everyone to vote on this,” he explains. “That way the different groups can lobby the people in Massachusetts and whichever way the majority of people decide that’s the way it will be.” (For the record, Buckley also supports letting voters weigh in on the amendment; Howell did not respond to an interview request to discuss his position on the proposal. Peake, Gottwald and Bergstrom are opposed to putting the amendment on the ballot.)
It would be easy to write Maloy off as a self-loathing gay man; indeed, he concedes, critics have accused him of being just that. But don’t go there, says Maloy, who notes that he came out to his Evangelical Christian single mother when he was just 12 years old. His realization that he is gay coincided with his decision to leave home due to his mother’s homophobia and other abusive behavior. On the day after his 12th birthday, Maloy says he went to the fire station near his Yarmouth residence and asked someone to call DSS.
“My mom was crazy,” he recalls. “I couldn’t take her anymore. I said a foster home has got to be better than this.” What ensued was a parade of about 15 foster homes and youth shelters, places where, ironically, he was often mistreated for being gay. “It was really hard being a gay kid in foster care,” says Maloy. “But I learned to fight to defend myself.”
School turned out to be equally as isolating; Maloy recalls being called a “fag” and doused with salad dressing by a fellow student. School administrators, he says, turned a blind eye to the anti-gay bullying he experienced. Nonetheless, Maloy adopted what could be described as a flamboyant style, dying his hair bright red, donning “funky leather jewelry, painting his fingernails. He hints that his experiences spurred him into gay activism during his teen years, but declines to elaborate for fear of alienating his conservative supporters.
Maloy attended five different high schools on Cape Cod before graduating from Westport High School and heading off to UMass Amherst, where he majored in political science, graduating in 2004. He was homeless throughout the summer between high school and college. At one point he lived in a tent in a friend’s backyard, another friend let him crash for a time at his New Bedford home. Finally, says Maloy, his grandmother allowed him to stay in Eastham with her until the school semester began. Maloy now works for Outer Cape Health Services, where he helps low- and middle-income people access health care.
Not surprisingly, Maloy has made foster care reform a major plank in his campaign platform, along with affordable healthcare, rolling back the income tax and making the Cape a more affordable place to live. Having experienced the sting of anti-gay bias while growing up, it’s hard not to wonder how Maloy can sanction anti-gay discrimination in the state’s marriage law. When the question is put to him, he replies with a surprisingly personal answer. “It’s probably going to hurt me,” he acknowledges at the outset. “It was really hard for me growing up,” says Maloy, who had no contact with his father. “I think that a lot of kids want to have a male and a female role [model] in their life regardless of the arrangement and we create our laws around ideals. … There are studies that have shown that it’s really the best situation for kids growing up to have a mom and a dad with a biological connection.
“I used to be a vocal, outright aggressive supporter of gay marriage and I’m just trying to take as much of an informed, reasonable and honest look at this,” he adds. “And we create our laws around ideals and I just think that you know it’s important to keep the bar high.” Maloy says that while he knows many same-sex couples who are raising smart, well-adjusted kids, “I think every child wants to have on a full-time basis a male and female role [model] in their life.”
Though Maloy’s position on marriage may be alienating to a swath of Fourth Barnstable voters, the candidate cannot certainly be counted out of the race. And while his youth and political inexperience have also raised red flags, Mitrokostas says that Maloy’s running for the right reasons. “He’s stated pretty emphatically he wants to work on behalf of people who live in the district and in those areas that are particularly interesting to him, whether it’s human services [or] social services. I think he spends a lot of time dealing with healthcare for particular parts of the community, so there’s no better place to try to affect policy but the legislature when it comes to that.” Mitrokostas also notes that the Cape is known to elect either “first timers or old timers,” meaning candidates who are just starting their careers or those heading toward the end of their careers. While Maloy falls into the former camp, the remaining candidates, Mitrokostas observes, are somewhere mid-career. Maloy, he concludes, “can distinguish himself by being the youngest and most enthusiastic guy.”
Some would say that’s a more worthwhile distinction than being an openly gay candidate who opposes marriage equality. But for all of Maloy’s pronouncements in opposition to same-sex marriage, during those times when he strays from his message of opposing it on religious grounds, it’s hard not wonder if Maloy is genuinely sincere in his opposition or merely using the issue to separate himself from the herd. “I’m not a conformist,” Maloy says at one point during one of several interviews with Bay Windows. “I just don’t conform. And now that gay marriage is normal and everything and everybody’s … thinking the same way — they’ve had it ingrained in them by these big media campaigns — I go against the flow. I’m a nonconformist. That’s just how I am, I go against the flow and I don’t like to be controlled.”
Now, I dare any of the Democratic Party haters on this board find an *openly gay or lesbian* member of the Democratic Party that actually opposes gay marriage, let alone in a state where they *already have it*...