Rep. Roosevelt Coats… maybe

22 05 2009

BearsLeft.com is doing a whole series on Christopher Redferm, the Ohio Democratic Party Chairman. In the midst of the bout, an interesting story arose out of Cleveland.

State Representative Eugene Miller recently resigned from the state house. In his place? Cleveland City Council’s Democrats (every last council member, btw) want Roosevelt Coats who did not vote for the domestic partner registry in that city and use the Bible as a way of justifying his decision. From Cleveland.com:

At a committee hearing, Coats cited biblical passages that he said denounce homosexuality. “Many of you may disagree,” he said.

Hrm. I’m a little divided on this issue. On the one hand, the Democrats in the state are almost universally the only ones co-sponsoring the Equal Housing and Employment Act (excluding Rep. McGregor and one or two others), which means they may be fairly supportive. On the other hand, Rep. Coats does not sound like someone who is exactly “supportive” of LGBTQ rights… or, well, LGBTQ people at all. On the other hand (I have three hands, STFU), it sounds like Coats is a highly respected Cleveland politician.

It is the great rub of politics, innit? Whereas we as LGBTQ people want to demonize people like Rep. Coats because of his anti-gay background, he still is a good Representative, and probably a good person. When I lived in South Carolina, Gov. Sanford was (is) hugely popular because he’s a good elected representative, despite his non-history on LGBTQ rights. I want to believe, because I liked Sanford and voted for him, that, if it came up, Sanford would go for what’s right and not what’s politcally expedient.

…so there’s an argument to made that a good representative would be one who sees that anti-gay politics are merely political diversions.

But maybe Councilmember Coats genuinely believes in his words. Which is worse for us, better for him.

Regardless, I think the Democrats should find another person to fill Rep. Miller’s seat. This one makes me feel a little dirty. (BearsLeft.com reports that Equality Ohio has forwarded Coats’ testimony on the DPR to the Democratic Party … maybe something will come of it?)
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