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.


  1. Jack says

    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…

  2. says

    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.

  3. JimSur212Jim says

    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.

  4. daftpunkydavid says

    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.

  5. Jack says


    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.

  6. X says

    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.

  7. GregV says

    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.

  8. daftpunkydavid says

    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.

  9. John K. says

    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.

  10. says

    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.

  11. GregV says

    “People who seek to distinguish gay people from transgender people miss the point…it’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.

  12. yeahisaidit says

    @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…

  13. CKNJ says

    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.

  14. B says

    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.

  15. GGREEN says

    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.

  16. JT says

    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.

  17. says

    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.

  18. Zach says

    “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.

  19. Randy says

    Being pro-gay and anti-trans means you’re really just anti-equality except for people you happen to like, and that makes you a bigot.

    No votes for bigots, no matter who they are.

  20. Walter says

    There is nothing more self-serving or selfish than a gay Republican.

    Basically they are saying — accept me so I can use the rigged system like you, and I could care less about the other progressive issues.


  21. anon says

    Women don’t want men in their bathrooms, period. It’s perceived as a safety issue. They don’t want men dressing up like women just so they can go into the bathroom to see semi-exposed women (though they only really have stalls). In this area, women are not thinking about the rights of the transgendered. They are thinking about their own safety and privacy. It’s a political loser for T-rights. It also does not matter that the transgendered would not hurt a fly or feel much better about themselves if they use the women’s room. Rather, they worry about fake transgendered men using the law to leer and prowl on women. Got it?

  22. Paulz says

    It is not just the bathroom bill.
    H1728 has no religious exemptions.

    1)Section 20 will force Churches and Knights of Columbus to rent their halls out to homosexual couples and transsexual couples for wedding banquets.
    (Remember what happened to Catholic Charities with adoptions?)

    2)Section 26 It will criminalize preachers for reading from scripture against homosexuality and perversion. Priests could be arrested fined $2,5oo and imprisoned up to one year.
    This is already happening in Canada.

    3)Section 17-18 A person who owns a three family home must rent to a same-sex couple or a transexual with no reguard for the owners children’s well being or religious belief.

    4) Section 9 A person must testify in front of the “Commission for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Youth” about an accused Hate Crime even if it incriminates oneself (The person cannot involk the 5th amendment) Already a law in Massachusetts.

    Richard Tesie is a sponcer of this bill along with over 100 Massachusetts Senators and Reps.

  23. Zach says

    “2)Section 26 It will criminalize preachers for reading from scripture against homosexuality and perversion. Priests could be arrested fined $2,5oo and imprisoned up to one year.
    This is already happening in Canada.”

    No, it isn’t.

  24. Paulz says

    Hate Crime in Canada is coming to Massachusetts H1728 (Bathroom Bill)

    The EdgeCanada Orders Pastor to Renounce His Faith
    June 9th, 2008 by Pete Vere, JCL Print This Article ·ShareThis

    In a decision that foreshadows the possible fate of Fr. Alphonse de Valk, Canada’s leading pro-life voice among Catholic clergy, the Alberta Human Rights Tribunal has forbidden evangelical pastor Stephen Boisson from expressing his moral opposition to homosexuality. The tribunal also ordered Boisson to pay $5,000 “damages for pain and suffering” and apologize to the “human rights” activist who filed the complaint.

    The complaint stems from Canada’s debate leading up to state legislation recognizing so-called same-sex marriage. In 2002, the pastor wrote a letter to the editor of his local newspaper in which he denounced the homosexual agenda as “wicked” and stated that: “Children as young as five and six years of age are being subjected to psychologically and physiologically damaging pro-homosexual literature and guidance in the public school system; all under the fraudulent guise of equal rights.”

    The activist subsequently filed a complaint with the Alberta Human Rights Commission — a quasi-judicial body that investigates alleged discrimination within the Canadian province. The government tribunal published its decision [] on May 30.

    While agreeing that Boisson’s letter was not a criminal act, the government tribunal nevertheless ordered the Christian pastor to “cease publishing in newspapers, by email, on the radio, in public speeches, or on the internet, in future, disparaging remarks about gays and homosexuals.” Moreover, the tribunal’s decision “prohibited [Boisson] from making disparaging remarks in the future” about the activist who filed the complaint and witnesses who supported the complaint. Many of Canada’s religious leaders and civil libertarians have expressed concern that the government’s human rights tribunals are interpreting any criticism of homosexual activism as ‘disparaging’.

    The tribunal also ordered Boisson to provide the complainant with a written apology for his letter to the editor. This last requirement threatens civil liberties in Canada, said Ezra Levant, a Jewish-Canadian author and lawyer. Levant, himself the target of an Alberta Human Rights Commission investigation, is facing the possibility the state may order him to apologize as well.

    “Ed Stelmach’s ‘conservative’ government now believes that if it can’t convince a Christian pastor that he’s wrong, it will just order him to condemn himself?” Levant wrote on his blog. “Other than tribunals in Stalin’s Soviet Union and Mao’s China, where is this Orwellian ‘order’ considered to be justice?”

    “This is like a Third World jail-house confession — where accused criminals are forced to sign false statements of guilt,” Levant wrote. “We don’t even ‘order’ murderers to apologize to their victims’ families. Because we know that a forced apology is meaningless. But not if your point is to degrade Christian pastors.”

    In essence, the Alberta Human Rights Tribunal is ordering to the minister to renounce his Christian faith, since his opposition to homosexuality is based upon the Judeo-Christian Bible. The case against Pastor Boisson has been watched closely by practicing Catholics in the country, especially as news spreads about the current Canadian Human Rights Commission investigation into Fr. de Valk reported on in this space last Wednesday. The Basilian priest and publisher of Catholic Insight magazine stands accused of promoting “extreme hatred and contempt” against homosexuals for having publicly defended the Church’s traditional definition of marriage. Some of the allegedly hateful statements are quotations from the Bible and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Fr. de Valk told Catholic Exchange.

    Although Catholic moral teaching is generally more nuanced in its criticism of homosexuality, evangelicals and fundamentalist Protestants often appear to be used as test cases for the government commissions before targeting Catholics. Thus many Catholics fear the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal will attempt to use the Boisson case to muzzle Fr. de Valk from expressing the Church’s traditional moral teaching, delivering a further blow to religious liberty and freedom of conscience in Canada.

    © Copyright 2010 Catholic Exchange

  25. John in Boston says

    The gay angle to this story is a non-issue here in MA. I’m not saying folks here are superior regarding gay rights, but for whatever reason there’s just in general far less endemic or systematic homophobia here and most folks are laid back regarding sexuality issues. Partly this has to do with the very minimal uber conservative religious influence here I think. Ironic considering MA was founded by extreme religious fanatics (puritans) who executed people for being witches.

    Constitutionally the Lt. guv has basically no duties beyond tie-breaker in the senate and whatever functions the guv gives him/her. In my lifetime several guvs never filled the position when it was vacated.

  26. Andrew- Boston says

    My household was called to be surveyed on the transgender anti-discrimination bill. The way the questions were phrased implies stronger support from respondents then might really exist. There was no room in the replies for mild support or uncertainty on the bill and the politicians that vote for it. That’s not realistic. I think most Massachusetts residents don’t want folks to be discriminated , so of course their replies will imply support for the bill. But still that doesn’t mean they are comfortable with transgendered people.

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