Massachusetts | News | Republican Party | Richard Tisei

Massachusetts GOP Picks Pro-Gay, Anti-Trans Gubernatorial Candidate with Openly Gay Running Mate


The Massachusetts GOP picked Charles Baker as their gubernatorial candidate on Saturday, defeating convenience store magnate Christy Mihos in the primary. Baker is for marriage equality and has an openly gay running mate — state senator Richard Tisei. 

Baker One point of contention between the GOP's team is Tisei's sponsorship of a transgender anti-discrimination bill, which Baker addressed after getting the endorsement:

"At an awkward press conference after Baker won the convention’s endorsement, he stood next to Tisei and said he opposed his running mate’s legislation and was not concerned about labeling it 'the bathroom bill' — a term used by opponents of gay rights. Baker, who supports gay marriage and abortion rights, denied that he was trying to court social conservatives. 'I think a guy who supports gay marriage and is pro-choice and has been pretty clear on those and picked a gay fella as his running mate is pretty much not pandering to much of anybody,' Baker said, putting a hand on Tisei’s shoulder. Tisei has, in the past, strongly rejected the phrase “bathroom bill,’’ saying critics use it to misrepresent the goal of equal rights for transgender people. 'I think they’re trying to scare people into opposing the bill and I don’t think it’s really an issue,' he told his local paper last summer. 'I know it’s been dubbed the ‘bathroom bill,’ but this is really a bill to treat people equally and fairly under the law.'"

You may recall that Tisei came out publicly in November after anticipating the scrutiny that would come as Baker's running mate.

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  1. Republicant's hate Obama more than they hate gays, I guess.

    Now who am I going to hate? I'm confused.

    Posted by: Joe James | Apr 18, 2010 4:37:28 PM

  2. Ugh. Why are we still laboring under the ridiculous artificial and false idea that transgender rights = gay rights? They are not the same. That's not to pass on their merits, but I hate when everything regarding sexuality and gender gets lumped together. We are different, and often times our needs and/or strategies are not only not aligned, but even opposed, to the detriment of all of all us.

    We tacitly allow this to happen by allowing letters to be added to GLB; pretty soon the whole alphabet will be included...

    Posted by: Jack | Apr 18, 2010 5:09:12 PM

  3. I would never vote for a candidate just because he/she is gay.
    If you recall, the GOP nominated Sarah Palin for VP in '08 because they believed women who supported Hillary would abandon their principles & vote instead for their gender. That assumption proved false. Women are smarter than that..
    Surely the "gay voter" is able to evaluate a candidate's party & platform & not cast a vote based only on race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, etc.

    Posted by: JONNY NYNY2FLFL | Apr 18, 2010 5:10:29 PM

  4. For municipal and statewide elections a gay person can reasonably vote the man, not the party, particularly when you have such progressive Republicans in Massachusetts. On the federal level, there is only one thing that matters, whether the person has a D or an R after their name. Nothing else matters in Congress, or the White House.

    Posted by: JimSur212Jim | Apr 18, 2010 5:14:25 PM

  5. Jack, you do know that you can be transgendered and also homosexual don't you?

    Posted by: B | Apr 18, 2010 5:22:47 PM

  6. jonny, it's not just the sexual orientation that matters of course. do you forget that tisei was instrumental in consolidating marriage rights for same-sex couples? do you forget that tisei is a leading sponsor of the trans equality bill? so yes, no one should blndly ascribe to identity politics, but there is substance behind this tisei guy, he's not just some gay equivalent of sarah palin.

    Posted by: daftpunkydavid | Apr 18, 2010 5:23:22 PM

  7. B:

    And it's possible to NOT be. It's also possible to be black and gay. Does that mean that gay rights = black rights? Your logic is impeccably bad.

    Posted by: Jack | Apr 18, 2010 5:38:09 PM

  8. Granted, it's good that these candidates are not as bad as others in the Republican party, and that they profess to not hate gays. But what have they done to demonstrate that support? Talk? Where is the leadership that they show? The GOP is not a solution unless they show more leadership and bring about actual justice for all Americans.

    Posted by: X | Apr 18, 2010 5:45:25 PM

  9. I find the term "openly" gay overused in the media. Tisei gay, and the fact he mentioned it once to the Boston Globe makes him "openly" so. If someone had mentioned his wife only once in public would he be "openly married?"
    I think it's great that the candidate for governor is in progressive on gay issues, but disappointing that he is so backward on transgender issues (and I do agree with Jack that it is a completely different topic).
    The bill in question barely mentions bathrooms, except to say that they are allowed to be sex-segregated and that they shall "allow persons the full enjoyment of the accommodations consistent with an individual’s gender identity or expression."

    Those opposing such accommodation probably have little understanding of transgendered issues, and would better stay out of the debate altogether. A man with a vagina, like Buck Angel, would fit right in walking into a men's room bathroom stall and would cause no discomfort for any men who wouldn't even give him a second glance.
    If forced to walk into a women's room just to use a toilet, surely he would constantly be reported as an intruder, perhaps even especially by those ignorant individuals who would not support his use of the restroom consistent with his gender identity.

    Posted by: GregV | Apr 18, 2010 6:17:46 PM

  10. x, i'm all for "keeping them honest" but your comment betrays your lack of information on this particular issue. tisei was instrumental for maintaining marriage rights for same-sex couples and he's a vocal and leading sponsor of the trans bill. i mean, come on.

    Posted by: daftpunkydavid | Apr 18, 2010 6:31:44 PM

  11. I hate gay republicans!!!

    Posted by: realitythink | Apr 18, 2010 7:40:42 PM

  12. People who seek to distinguish gay people from transgender people miss the point. It's not about us being the same; it's about knowing what it's like to be thrown under the bus and deserted and having the decency to take a stand for the rights of people who are different from us but who face similar discrimination. What's the point of highlighting the difference?To make the point that it's somehow ok for gay people to not support trans rights? I hope not.

    Posted by: John K. | Apr 18, 2010 8:16:22 PM

  13. I wouldn't vote for a Republican, even a gay one. Period. I take the point about national vs. local, but local Republicans lend strength to national ones—and eventually work their way up to become national figures.

    Also, people need to get over the weirdness about public restrooms. Who the fuck cares who's using them with you? Lesbians are in the women's room already, right? And gay men in the men's room? It's not what type of person is in there, it's if any person of any stripe is doing anything threatening or inappropriate. This country is so mental.

    Posted by: Matthew Rettenmund | Apr 18, 2010 8:24:30 PM

  14. I'm confused too. Somebody set up a PowerPoint presentation pls.

    Posted by: ewan77 | Apr 18, 2010 8:37:21 PM

  15. "People who seek to distinguish gay people from transgender people miss the's about...having the decency to take a stand for the rights of people who are different from us but who face similar discrimination."

    John K., I agree that it makes no sense for any gay people not to support transgendered people's rights. Nor does it make sense for black people not to support transgendered people's rights... or for women not to support gay people's rights, or for transgendered people not to support deaf people's rights, etc. etc. etc.
    As belittled minorities, we should all understand what it is like and we should support the rights of all people to be treated fairly.

    In fact, i would take it a step further and say that there is no excuse for those in privileged categories not to support right for others, either. White people should support black people's equality, hearing people should support deaf people's rights, etc, etc.

    Everyone should support equal rights for EVERYONE else.

    But the areas where different minority groups experience discrimination can sometimes be different or can be experienced in different ways.

    It would be nice to be able to say, "let's all just be one human race and treat everyone fairly," but it would be hard to ever get to that point without educating the public on various issues separately, citing the specific ways that each particular group experiences discrimination.

    Posted by: GregV | Apr 18, 2010 8:51:02 PM

  16. @john k...THANK YOU! Well said, by reading your comment others can gain some much needed perspective and understanding as to why these letters are "lumped" together...

    Posted by: yeahisaidit | Apr 18, 2010 8:59:17 PM

  17. Gay Republicans are as clueless as Jewish Nazis

    Posted by: elaygee | Apr 18, 2010 8:59:47 PM

  18. I feel rocks for gay Republicans... I am tired of the old 'change them from the inside' attitude... it's a crock of shit and those that believe it have shit for brains! The Rethugnican party will NEVER endorse gay rights fully because their troglodyte knuckle-dragging 'base' will never stand for that, and they know they need to use those side-show freaks every election time.

    It's the same way the GOP appointed Steele as soon as Obama became strong was to prove they could have a black leader too... they pushed Palin as a running mate to Uncle Fester because Hillary was strong and they wanted to prove they had a woman that could run, and they tried to grab votes that way (much good that moron did them though)... now they are trotting out a gay candidate for all those same tired old reasons.

    Fortunately gay people understand that they cannot trust Republican overtures... it really IS all about manipulation and smoke and mirrors.

    Posted by: CKNJ | Apr 18, 2010 10:28:09 PM

  19. Jack: I clearly need to simplify this as best I can for you.

    There are Trans rights, Gay rights, Black rights, etc. together they make civil rights which goes into Human rights.

    The rights categories are seperate to each group, but members of those groups overlap.

    Now the GLBT Community obviously is inclusive of Transgendered individuals because its labeled as such, and isn't titled rights, which pertain to seperate groups.

    Moral of the story, GLBT is the community title and the rights entitled are for each individual group within which broadly would be Homosexual men and women and Transgendered men and women.

    Posted by: B | Apr 18, 2010 11:29:26 PM

  20. They're just trying to woo Gays to vote for them. I don't think will work. They already have that idiot Lincoln Lounger.

    Posted by: Chris | Apr 19, 2010 3:06:48 AM

  21. Republicans are nothing if not adaptable. They are against something unless some big corporation looses money then they are for it. Their morals are so flexible that now they include minorities as long as they know their place. Rethugs know which way the wind blows in Mass. Get on board with the lip service to gays or fall further behind.

    Posted by: GGREEN | Apr 19, 2010 7:19:03 AM

  22. I'm from New York and shouldn't critique the way other states do things, but : Yet another reason I love Massachusetts !

    Posted by: JT | Apr 19, 2010 7:49:50 AM

  23. P.S. Only gays who have a personal emotional investment in Republicans being "the villains" could possibly see this as a negative thing. Me, I care more about gay equality than devotion to any political party.

    Posted by: JT | Apr 19, 2010 8:00:51 AM

  24. Sometimes,as far as I am concerned... it is politically correct for a candidate not to out themselves before getting elected. Because, before you can govern, you must get elected first. I have found that candidates in some areas, could be a Democrat (southern states) and vice versa in other areas (eastern states) be called Republicans. The facts are... gay issues are not the only reason to vote for any particular candidate... it is their complete platform that gets them elected. Some of the best Supreme Judges, have seem to change, once they are on the bench. In the 20th Century, 2 of the most liberal voices, President FDR and Chief Justice Earl Warren were responsible for putting Japanese/ Americans citizens in detention camps, at the outbreak of WWll! If I was living in Massachusetts, I might vote for this Republican team, depending on all the issues facing the State, and not just gay issues.

    Posted by: jerry pritikin | Apr 19, 2010 8:24:32 AM

  25. "P.S. Only gays who have a personal emotional investment in Republicans being "the villains" could possibly see this as a negative thing."

    Maybe because they are the villains?

    Yes, both parties pander to corporate special interests. Yes, the Democrats are often cowardly and ineffectual. But there's no masking underlying philosophies. Republican ideology is a poisoned well of nihilism and hatred for the poor and disadvantaged, a morass of selfishness and cynicism, a big FOAD to anyone making under $70k a year who has the audacity to ask for help.

    Posted by: Zach | Apr 19, 2010 8:37:33 AM

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