Ultra-Right Fights GOP for Helping Mass. Gay House Candidate
The cracks are showing in the battle line that opinion makers tell us the GOP is presenting this election season. Some Christian conservatives are criticizing the party’s support for an openly gay politician from Massachusetts.
"It is a shame that we have to fight our own party to keep our constitutional, representative republic from being completely removed from life support by political death panels of both parties," conservative blogger ScottFactor wrote recently.
MassResistance, a virulently anti-gay group based in Waltham, Mass., is furious that the National Republican Congressional Committee is donating large sums to Richard Tisei’s campaign. The openly gay Tisei, 50, is running against Rep. John Tierney in the general election to represent Massachusetts’ Sixth Congressional District.
"In Massachusetts, Richard Tisei is known as an openly ’gay’ liberal Republican politician who ran for lieutenant governor in 2010," MassResistance’s Brian Camenker complains on his group’s website. "Prior to that, as a state senator, among other things he worked to successfully block the people’s right to vote on the Marriage Amendment." (In fact, observers agree that the bill never had a chance of moving out of the state’s heavily Democratic and generally liberal legislature.)
What really rankles Camenker, however, is that, in his words, "Tisei is the only Republican congressional candidate in Massachusetts to receive such support from the national Republican Congressional campaign!" He goes on to claim that Tisei, a former state senator, is on the left of fiscal and social issues as a supporter of LGBT rights and abortion. He also opposed lowering taxes while a state legislator.
Tisei burst on the state’s hotbed of politics when he ran for the open 22nd Middlesex district seat to the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1984. When he won against Democrat Donald Flanagan, he became the youngest Republican ever elected to the Massachusetts House.
In 2010, when he was named Republican nominee for lieutenant governor, he publicly announced that he was gay. Tisei and the top of the ticket, Charlie Baker, lost the race in the general election, in the face of an overwhelmingly Democratic electorate that preferred Deval Patrick. That position, of course, was the springboard to national politics for another Republican, Mitt Romney.
MassResistance is trying to spread the word on Tisei’s "passionate support" for marriage equality. "He brags that he fought to make it ’legal’ in Massachusetts," the group’s website proclaims. "He believes it’s a civil right that must be granted across America." The site also points out he appeared in a video made by MassEquality to promote gay marriage.