Alex Morse | Massachusetts | News

Alex Morse is America's Youngest Gay Mayor But CBS News Viewers Won't Know That: VIDEO


Massachusetts paper The Republican makes note of a CBS News report on 'Boy Mayor' Alex Morse, the 22-year-old elected last week as the new mayor of Holyoke, Massachusetts.

CBS News left out the fact that Morse is gay. Maybe it's not important. It certainly wasn't important in his campaign, notes Jean Ann Esselink at The New Civil Rights Movement. Morse's sexuality was not made an issue of once.

Veteran San Francisco reporter Hank Plante sent along the CBS News clip to us, with this note:

"I guess one could make the argument that that's a good thing, and that his sexuality shouldn't matter. On the other hand, I feel that gays and lesbians -- especially young gays and lesbians -- need heroes.  And since the mayor-elect is open about his sexuality, I think it should have been part of the story.  After all, the mostly-straight voters said 'yes' to this young man, just as the mostly-white voters in America said "yes" to our first African-American president, and that's certainly significant. The broader issue, it seems to me, is that the next frontier in gay rights is the mainstreaming of gays and lesbians into non-gay stories.  The more we are portrayed as being part of the fabric of everyday life, the better we are."

Morse was also a Point Foundation scholar. Their website notes his work for LGBT rights. Morse also worked for out gay Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) when Cicilline was mayor of Providence.


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  1. If CBS says "...the youngest mayor, who is also gay..." then people will say they are making an issue out of his sexuality. When they don't mention it then they are hiding it. I can see both sides but really it's damned if you do, damned if you don't.

    Posted by: FernLaPlante | Nov 14, 2011 3:19:03 PM

  2. Actually, an 18 year old was voted mayor of a town in Iowa during the recent votes. Do he's not the youngest mayor.

    Posted by: Gay Country Wes | Nov 14, 2011 3:23:21 PM

  3. If his election was won despite the fact that he's gay, or because of it, both seem noteworthy.

    If he'd been the first 22yo african american mayor, i'd bet that CBS would have mentioned both.

    Posted by: Grego | Nov 14, 2011 3:25:35 PM

  4. I think what makes this most significant for me is that he was voted mayor of Holyoke. That city needs young, forward-thinking minds to revamp it and put the people first, so I hope that Mr. Morse is able to use that to his advantage and get more people involved in the political process at home. Holyoke is a great city, no matter how much the media likes to dump all over it

    Posted by: Jesus | Nov 14, 2011 3:28:21 PM

  5. But, isn't it a good thing that it's a non-issue?

    Posted by: Daniel | Nov 14, 2011 3:28:27 PM

  6. The bottom line is, CBS de-gayed him. So, to say it's a "non-issue" is actually false. If it were a non-issue, then they would have mentioned it, in passing or not.

    Posted by: Francis | Nov 14, 2011 3:31:28 PM

  7. Wes, was his name Ben Wyatt? And is he building a giant winter sports complex called Ice Town?

    Posted by: rafi | Nov 14, 2011 3:44:52 PM

  8. Does anyone know how much power the mayor actually exerts in Holyoke? In a lot of small towns, the town/city council actually makes most of the decisions, with the mayor serving primarily as the presiding member of the council and also the guy who makes proclamations, cuts ribbons at openings, spades up earth at ground-breakings, etc.

    Posted by: Sancho | Nov 14, 2011 3:57:47 PM

  9. Actually, Wes...the story as presented here is not that he is the youngest mayor, but rather that he is the youngest gay mayor. We have younger mayors and other gay mayors, but this young man is the youngest gay mayor. Does it matter?

    To a young gay man or woman in Holyoke, MA or Helena, MT or Hatfield, KY...who is thinking that his/her life is worthless...perhaps it matters to know that an out and proud and happy young gay man can be "liked" so much an entire town will vote them into office. Yes, I think it is worth mentioning in the story. The news cycles went crazy for weeks over the first African American president. If its NOT white male establishment, it LEADS the story these days (whether in a positive or negative light, it leads). I'm not sure why this didn't make it into the CBS report.

    Posted by: Jay | Nov 14, 2011 4:37:29 PM

  10. It is an issue, or we would be fully free and equal without DOMA, with ENDA, with legal gay marriage, with legal gay adoptions, with anti-gay bullying protections, openly-gay sports players and A-list action movie actors and much more. If we had all of that, then yes, it would not be an issue. The reality is that we're far from there, and CBS proved to be very out of touch by closeting him in their story.

    Posted by: SFNATIVE | Nov 14, 2011 5:00:35 PM

  11. I'd like to see a day when both real people and fictional characters need not be defined as gay or bi for an audience. The reporter could end a story of a politician by saying that "he celebrated the win with his husband and supporters." Or an action movie character could say, "I've got a date tonight and I have to pick him up at nine" without a big plot device being made over his orientation.
    That's become real life for a lot of gay and bi people living in open-minded urban enclaves. And a man who dates men isn't the shocker in Massachusetts that it is in Podunk, Mississippi.

    Posted by: Gregv | Nov 14, 2011 6:08:09 PM

  12. Sorry folks, but when it's not an issue, that's newsworthy.

    Posted by: Danny | Nov 14, 2011 6:09:48 PM

  13. Jay, CBS didn't mention it because their writers were told not to say anything that will irritate the homophobic conservatives who pull the strings at CBS. Simple, really.

    Posted by: Danny | Nov 14, 2011 6:14:00 PM

  14. Of course it matters, just as teaching of gay contributions throughout history is becoming a reality in California. We matter as individual personalities. And being gay is part of our personality.

    Posted by: Steve Pardue | Nov 14, 2011 6:49:04 PM

  15. One of the great things about being gay in MA is that, as they should, most people accept it as they do your eye color. Some may want to make this election into a larger issue but I revel in the fact that his being gay just doesn't matter. To me, that's the best part of the story and should be the spin, if there needs to be a spin. Had he been elected in Arkansas, I'd certainly feel differently.

    Posted by: Tom | Nov 14, 2011 7:16:59 PM

  16. So, we want to be treated like anyone else, yet every story about a gay man or woman has to mention that fact? Is whom he sleeps with at night at all relevant to his job as mayor? About as much as my being gay is relevant to me running a 3 star restaurant.

    Posted by: Marw | Nov 14, 2011 8:11:49 PM

  17. I don't think it should really be a story. We continuously cry out that we aren't treated equally, yet we automatically jump on stories like this and use the "victim of the press" as a trophy. Let the boy just do the job he was elected to without shoving a label on him. What it comes down to is that you can't please everyone, and sadly, you can please even fewer in the gay community. If he does a great job, that will give us all something to be happy about.

    Rafi, it was Jeremey Minnier.

    Posted by: GayCountryWes | Nov 14, 2011 11:37:47 PM

  18. I hope he does something with Holyoke, as it is where I live. I have been here for 5 or 6 years, and change seems to happen very slowly. This city really could stand to be cleaned up.

    Posted by: Rich Monsoon | Nov 15, 2011 1:49:17 AM

  19. Big frickin' deal. I don't want to know about John Boehner's personal life, either.

    Posted by: Mark | Nov 15, 2011 2:15:36 AM

  20. doesn't matter. The piece was about Alex's election and what his plans are for the city. It has nothing to do with his sexuality.

    What happened to the whole "We want a world where sexuality doesn't matter". I saw a rerun of Tina Fey's Mark Twain Award Ceremony and in her acceptance speech she says she look forward to a world where people don't say "She was the first female head writer...second blah blah...third winner blah blah". It doesn't matter that he's gay. What will it matter to the town he mayor's over. If it becomes an issue, that's something but it's a non-issue.

    It's just sad that this needs to be brought up.

    Also to the person who said CBS is conservative...huh? CBS and NBC are super liberal.

    Posted by: TK | Nov 16, 2011 11:43:09 PM

  21. Now that Gay or not is not of importance for election as Mayor, what will be the next identifier for election? Oh,I know,let's disclose Penis length,or Circumcised or not.

    What nonsense.

    Posted by: Jerry6 | Nov 19, 2011 9:33:26 PM

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