Pa 2022 candidates, and their stances on LGBTQ issues, take the national stage | Analysis

By Victoria A Brownworth

With just weeks to go before Election Day, more than ten percent of Pennsylvania voters remain undecided in two of the most critical races in the country: John Fetterman and Mehmet Oz for the US Senate, and Josh Shapiro and Doug Mastrian for governor.

Whoever wins the Pennsylvania Senate race could determine which party has the majority in Washington. Whoever is elected governor will not only have an impact on the state, including LGBTQ politics, but will also influence the 2024 presidential election.

Mastriano, the Republican candidate for governor representing the Franklin County-based 33rd state Senate district, denies the election and was one of those who orchestrated the fake voter scheme in 2020. Mastriano also He participated at the “Stop the Steal” rally on Jan. 6, but did not storm the Capitol.

Statistics show that female Republican voters in the Keystone state have changed party in response to the US Supreme Court’s strike down. Roe vs. Wade.

But as elections near and inflation and the economy replace abortion rights as the main driver for voters, the Senate race in Pennsylvania has now turned into a statistical dead heat between Fetterman and Oz, according to data from the 18 October. center. And while Democrat Josh Shapiro, the current attorney general, remains at the helm of Mastriano, the state’s voters have long been quixotic in midterm years.

On October 3, The Philadelphia Gay News contacted the four candidates for Senate and Governor: Fetterman, Oz, Mastriano and Shapiro, to ask their positions on marriage equality and LGBTQ rights.

Fetterman’s campaign responded on October 3, Shapiro’s on October 4. Philadelphia Gay News sent seven requests to the Oz team, as well as half a dozen requests via Twitter in which we quoted Fetterman’s quick response, but received no response. The newspaper also sent five requests to Mastriano and messaged him half a dozen times, to no avail.

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At what ABC News called a “carefully controlled” campaign stop in Harmony, Pennsylvania, Senior White House Correspondent Mary Bruce also tried to get a response from Oz, but came up empty. Oz doesn’t want to answer questions about himself when he’s pushing a narrative that Fetterman is both a “dangerous radical leftist” and mentally incompetent due to a stroke in May.

However, Dr. Oz has not provided any clear political position, other than repeatedly saying that “All abortion is murder.” In July, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported “Republican Senate candidate Mehmet Oz indicates he would vote for the same-sex marriage bill.”

The Inquirer quoted Oz campaign spokeswoman Brittany Yanick as saying: “Dr. Mehmet Oz believes that same-sex couples should have the same freedom to marry as heterosexual couples,” in response to whether Oz supports the Respect Marriage Act, which would codify same-sex marriage at the federal level.

Despite his views on same-sex marriage, Oz has repeatedly made anti-LGBTQ comments throughout his campaign, and in ads. state would fight to “get men out of women’s sports,” a reference to the anti-transgender stance the Republican Party has taken against the participation of trans women and girls in team sports.

Oz also supports conversion therapy.

Fetterman has a long history of supporting the LGBTQ community. As his campaign told PGN, Fetterman has worked to get state and local laws outlawing anti-LGBTQ discrimination, fought to lift restrictions on men who have sex with men from donating blood, and has been a vocal advocate for rights adoption for LGBTQ couples. .

Fetterman’s campaign told the Philadelphia Gay News that the Democratic pol had recently celebrated the 9th anniversary since he job the first same-sex marriage in Allegheny County in defiance of Pennsylvania’s then-ban on same-sex marriage.

“[On August 5, 2013]I became the first and ONLY elected official in Western Pennsylvania willing to officiate at a gay marriage when it was illegal,” Fetterman said in a statement. “John [Kandray] and invoice [Gray] he bravely challenged fundamentally unfair laws that prohibited same-sex marriage and decided to just do it. With only a few hours to prepare, it was my great honor to throw on my best cargo shorts and a black work shirt from Dickies, buy a rainbow cake at Costco, and marry them in my unfinished loft surrounded by their family and friends.

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“When right-wing extremists come after marriage equality and trans rights, I will fight with everything I have, including the guy I am running to replace who STILL claims to be ‘undecided’ whether to support a bipartisan bill. to defend the right to same-sex marriage,” he continued.

“My opponent cannot be trusted to stand up for the LGBTQ+ residents of Pennsylvania at all. Dr. Oz gave advocates of so-called ‘conversion therapy’ a national platform on his TV show, praised the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bills and denied the causes of suicide risk for trans youth. Passing the Pennsylvania Fairness Act and the Respect Marriage Act has never been more urgent. When it comes to LGBTQ+ rights, I will fight to end the filibuster so we can finally pass equality law to guarantee LGBTQ+ Americans equal protection under the law,” Fetterman said.

Fetterman has also said it would be the “51st vote” in favor of the Respect Marriage Act.

The official platform of the Republican Party, unchanged from 2016, still defines marriage as between a man and a woman.

Mastriano has been quoted in numerous campaign ads as saying he is against marriage equality, a stance he reiterated in his acceptance. speech after his main victory. In that speech, Mastriano also made sarcastic transphobic allusions to former Palestinian Authority Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine, now assistant secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services in the Biden administration.

mastriano has said of marriage equality: “Absolutely not. I am in favor of traditional marriage and I am not an enemy for saying so.

Mastriano also said it is “disgusting” to discourage conversion therapy for LGBTQIA+ youth. “This is disgusting to me, where the bureaucrats and Tom Wolf, and Josh Shapiro, think it’s okay to come in and threaten parents and therapists because their kids may be confused,” Mastriano told conservative radio station 103.7 FM. , Michele Jansen, in August. 26.

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as a living room reportedMastriano “spent a good chunk of his segment talking about conversion therapy for LGBTQIA+ youth.”

Shapiro told the Philadelphia Gay News that “if your son is LGBTQ+, Doug Mastriano supports sending him to conversion therapy because he thinks he’s ‘confused.’ I’m serious. He said so himself, and it is our responsibility as parents to defend our children’s freedom to be themselves.”

Shapiro’s campaign told Philadelphia Gay News that the Democratic gubernatorial candidate “has been a strong supporter of LGBT rights and civil liberties, unlike his opponent, who is strongly opposed to same-sex marriage and any support for it.” legal for LGBTQ people.

The campaign added that “Mastriano is a threat to the LGBTQ+ community in Pennsylvania. As governor, he will attack your rights to marry and adopt.”

Shapiro has always supported and spoken out on LGBTQ issues, even sharing his support on social media. “As a state representative, I fought to strengthen LGBTQ+ protections under the law,” Shapiro aware On twitter. “As a commissioner, I married some of Pennsylvania’s first LGBTQ+ couples. As Attorney General, I have stood up for the rights of Pennsylvania’s LGBTQ+ residents time and time again.”

Victoria A. Brownworth is a reporter for the Philadelphia Gay News, where this story first appeared.