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Lembo: FIC Endorsement Is The ‘Kiss of Death’

by Christine Stuart | Sep 4, 2014 3:14pm
(8) Comments | Commenting has expired
Posted to: Election 2014, Hartford

Christine Stuart photo

State Comptroller Kevin Lembo

Sen. Beth Bye and state Comptroller Kevin Lembo, who are both openly gay elected officials, stood outside the state Capitol on Thursday to call upon Republican Tom Foley to reject the endorsement of a “pro-family” group they described as an “anti-gay” organization.

“The endorsement of the Family Institute is, or should be, the kiss of political death in this state,” Lembo said. “It’s outside of who we are as a people and the values of this community.”

The Family Institute of Connecticut Action Committee announced its endorsement of Foley on Wednesday in an email to its members.

In that email, the Family Institute reminded its members why it’s supporting Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s opponent, who is also pro-choice, the opposite of the group’s anti-abortion position.

“It was Gov. Malloy who flew the Rainbow Flag over the Governor’s mansion to show his support for same-sex “marriage.” (Indeed, it is the Malloy Administration that describes itself as the “gayest administration ever.”),” the group said in its email endorsing Foley’s gubernatorial bid.

The endorsement is the group’s first for a gubernatorial candidate.

Bye said she can still remember sitting in the balcony of the state Senate during the civil union debate and hearing members of the Family Institute say “these people won’t stop until they have marriage.”

“Do you know what it’s like to be referred to as ‘these people’?” Bye said Thursday. “It’s not so good, but that’s the endorsement that he sought.”

Peter Wolfgang, executive director of the Family Institute of Connecticut, said Wednesday that they continue to have discussions with Foley about the issue of abortion and “it matters,” but it’s not an issue that’s likely to come up during the next four years. Wolfgang’s group also wants to repeal marriage equality.

However, the issue the group is most concerned about at the moment is assisted suicide or aid-in-dying. The legislation that would have allowed doctors to prescribe a lethal dose of medication for terminally ill patients was defeated this year in committee.

“Assisted suicide is THE life issue at the Capitol right now,” Wolfgang wrote in an email Wednesday. “FIC Action Committee won’t sit on the sidelines when the safety of Connecticut’s most vulnerable people is at stake.”

Foley met with the group in June for an hour and a half and spoke to them again in August by phone, according to the Family Institute’s endorsement.

Christine Stuart photo “They didn’t just give him the endorsement, he sought it and I just have to say as a gay resident of Connecticut I find that offensive,” Bye said Thursday.

But Foley said in a phone interview that he did not seek the endorsement of the group. He said he met with the group and is happy to have its endorsement, “but I didn’t seek it.”

The Rev. Josh Pawelek said Foley’s acceptance of the endorsement is “offensive” and he should explain to the people of Connecticut why he has accepted it.

When asked for further comment on the endorsement, Foley’s campaign would only say “our campaign is happy to receive the endorsement of any group that recognizes the need to change direction toward a more proud and prosperous Connecticut.”

But Bye and Lembo, along with other LBGT, labor, and women’s rights advocates, questioned what the endorsement says about the company Foley keeps and the direction he would take the state.

The Family Institute, according to Lembo, continues to focus on this “little laundry list of issues that is so far outside the mainstream it’s stunning.”

He said from a purely political perspective “this is the kiss of death” for Foley’s campaign.

A court granted gay couples the right to marry in Connecticut in 2008.

Bye talked Thursday about Malloy’s support of the LGBT community and his active support in 2011 of legislation that extended workplace protections to transgendered people.

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(8) Comments

posted by: ocoandasoc | September 4, 2014  5:10pm

Once again Connecticut politicians try to make it impossible to be socially progressive and financially conservative (or even financially sane!) at the same time. Honest, folks, they’re not mutually incompatible. And BTW, CT’s independent voters, the group Foley needs to win, see a lot more “gray” in LGBT issues than the black and white picture that Bye and Foley like to paint. The FIC endorsement may turn out to help or hurt Foley slightly. But “Kiss of Death?” I doubt it.

posted by: DrHunterSThompson | September 4, 2014  5:10pm

DrHunterSThompson

There are more important issues then this like: when do we become Colorado east?

I love this stuff! Twist one up! Party on Garth!

HST

posted by: enness | September 4, 2014  10:18pm

For supporting FIC I’ve been called a heck of a lot worse than “these people” just in the space of 24 hours’ worth of press, but I suppose that irony is lost on them.

Lembo ought to know about fringe extremism. He used the weight of his office to testify in favor of a bill of the kind that has been rejected over 100 times in more than half the states and has broad opposition from disability rights groups, medical associations, even the late Ted Kennedy’s widow.

It should also be noted that Pawelek is not exactly a disinterested party.  He posed for “Compassion & Choices”—formerly the Hemlock Society, it seems that name isn’t polling well nowadays—irresponsible “My Life, My Death, My Choice” poster campaign that has been called “a paid ad on state property” and shows a remarkably cavalier attitude toward suicide contagion, particularly in an area traversed by grade school children.

But yeah, FIC is a societal menace.  Right.

posted by: Milton Buckley | September 4, 2014  11:11pm

13/4 to 2% of population LBGT(CDC numbers) Not much of a problem for Foley. Rather inconsequential.

posted by: Moboss | September 5, 2014  2:22am

Sen Bye finds the endorsement offensive? Get over yourself already. They didn’t give it to him because he’s anti-gay or anti-abortion. What I am offended by is when a Governor raises our income tax rate in Aug and has it retroactive back to Jan 1st.

posted by: Noteworthy | September 5, 2014  12:26pm

I disagree with the FIC on every single issue, some more than others. But this press conference by two people I respect is disappointing for a couple of reasons. First, it uses the politics of division to create a wedge issue that especially here in CT is far less a problem than many states; second, it attempts to tarnish a political candidate for an endorsement of a group Lembo/Bye despise, not because the candidate has said or done anything they find particularly egregious. Third, on some level it denigrates and diminishes the right of the FIC to both make endorsements and to voice its opinion which is a limitation via denigration on freedom of speech.

Furthermore, there was no driving need to speak out against this endorsement especially since political endorsements are horribly dubious and overrated.

posted by: Joebigjoe | September 5, 2014  2:17pm

Noteworthy your reason number 3 is far bigger than this specific issue. I think we can all agree that people should not be discriminated against whether it be race, religion, sexual orientation. Society is moving beyond that which almost everyone can agree on to “how dare you even have an opinion”.

The unfortunate thing is that our children are being brainwashed that its unacceptable to have an opinion even if you never discriminate. The more unfortunate thing is someday, maybe not in my lifetime, the tide is going to turn against people who have tried quash free speech and freedom of expression through intimidation and social pressures, and it wont be pretty.

If you disagree with my statement then look no further than what is happening in the UK now because of the situation where authorities and other common people knew of the horrors impacting young women in Rotterdam and did nothing because of “political correctness” according to the Head of the UK Independence party and probably their next Prime Minister. They didn’t want to offend a particular group. Beth Bye finds a particular groups endorsement and Foley’s acceptance as “offensive”. She has no idea what offensive really is.

posted by: Terry D. Cowgill | September 6, 2014  8:58am

Terry D. Cowgill

My man crush on Kevin Lembo has receded with this bit of demagoguery.