Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2023-09-06



Idealistic Youth Inspires Gubernatorial Candidate on Gay Marriage Issue
by Mubarak Dahir

This article shared 4176 times since Wed Aug 7, 2002
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

When Massachusetts' gubernatorial candidate Robert Reich surprised and delighted the crowd at Boston's gay pride celebration in June by stating publicly that he was endorsing full gay marriage, he became the first...and so far the only...gubernatorial candidate in the country to come out in favor of full-fledged marriage rights for gays and lesbians. In fact, he's one of few politicians on any level to make such a bold statement.

If Reich does win the Democratic nomination for the governor's race in the primary this September, his candidacy and courage on gay marriage could set a new standard for gay-friendly political candidates across the country. If he wins, the defeatist notion that gays and lesbians have to settle for second-class status in their relationships can be put to rest, where it belongs.

While traveling on the road between campaign appearances, Reich spoke to me on a cell phone from his car. I was inspired not only by what he did in coming out for full marriage rights for gays and lesbians, but also in why he did it.

Conventional wisdom, even among candidates considered gay-friendly, is that endorsing full gay marriage is political suicide. As a result, even the most gay-friendly candidates stop well short of marriage, at most giving their backing to domestic-partnership or civil-union legislation.

"Politicians follow the polls," says Reich. "And most political advisers will tell you the majority of Americans are dubious about gay marriage. So you don't need to be a rocket scientist to understand the reluctance."

Originally, Reich was one of those candidates who supported civil unions but stopped short of endorsing full marriage benefits. He admits that he, too, was at one time timid to go all the way on gay and lesbian marriage. "I was concerned it would create a backlash," he says, making it more difficult both for his candidacy and for any kind of civil union or domestic-partnership laws to pass.

But soon after Reich came out in support of extending marriage rights to gays and lesbians, a poll showed that he was dead even with his biggest challenger for the Democratic nomination this fall. Previously, polls showed Reich lagging in second place. Reich doesn't attribute his bump in the polls to his support for gay marriage. But what it may point to, he says, is that a candidate can in fact support marriage rights for gays and lesbians and not suffer politically.

Reich says there were several factors that lead him to eventually adopt the courage of his convictions and publicly endorse marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples.

Personal friends partly played into that decision. "I know many gay couples, and they've expressed to me the importance of marriage on a personal level," he says. "And I've always seen it as grossly unfair that my gay friends were denied the same benefits and protections for their relationships that my heterosexual friends have. I think denying people the right to marry is not only violating a basic human right, but a basic human need."

In addition, Reich says he is no stranger to what it feels like to be treated differently and feel like an outsider.

"You know, I've always been unusually short," says the 4-feet, 10-inch candidate. "As a child, I was bullied and taunted and beat up," he says. While he is quick to add that he is not equating that with the discrimination faced by gays and lesbians, he does feel his experiences "have made me sensitive to other people's perspectives. On some level, I can understand what it means to be seen as different, and an outsider."

While Reich's familiarity with being an outsider and his gay and lesbian friendships certainly helped give him the foundation for understanding the importance of marriage for gays and lesbians, there was one other factor that helped move him to speak out publicly as a candidate about his principles. And that factor was a young man named Corey Johnson.

Johnson received national media attention when he came out publicly as gay while starring as his high school's quarterback on the football team. Since graduating from high school, Johnson has become a political activist, and is currently involved in several political campaigns, including supporting Reich.

After several conversations with Johnson, Reich says he knew he had to make a public stand on gay and lesbian marriage. "Ultimately, Corey was the one person who moved me to that decision," he says.

Several times, Reich says, he and Johnson had the debate about whether or not supporting full marriage rights for gays and lesbians might backfire, making it even more difficult to establish some form of civil-unions or domestic-partnership law in the face of a possible conservative backlash.

Johnson, says Reich, made the argument that it was more important to stand up for what you believed in and thus, in the long run, help legitimize the issue. It was, of course, an argument that Reich had heard before.

But coming from a young man like Corey Johnson, so full of zest and idealism, it made Reich stop and think. More accurately, he made him stop and remember.

"When talking to Corey, I was reminded of my involvement in the civil-rights movement when I was his age," explains Reich. He remembered having private conversations with people and politicians who supported the Black civil-rights movement in principle, but were afraid to do so publicly for political reasons. "I remembered how badly at the time I wanted real political leadership...people who stood up and would boldly say what they believed in," says Reich. And he remembers so many politicians disappointing him.

He didn't want to be one of those politicians.

"Corey reminded me why it was so important to take a stand."

This article shared 4176 times since Wed Aug 7, 2002
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

Out and Aging
Presented By


Gay News

Trans actress, gay actors, 'Kokomo City' receive Spirit Award nominations
The nominations for the 39th annual Film Independent Spirit Awards have been announced—and LGBTQ+ actors, directors and productions definitely made their mark. Trans actress Trace Lysette was announced as one of the nominees for Best Lead ...

Gay News

Jussie Smollett loses appeal, might head back to jail
Embattled out gay actor Jussie Smollett could soon be back behind bars after an Illinois appeals court backed the ex-Empire actor's disorderly conduct convictions stemming from a faked 2019 hate crime and lying to Chicago cops, ...

Gay News

LGBTQ+ couple the first in South Asia to have marriage recognized
Transgender woman Maya Gurung and Surendra Pandey became the first LGBTQ+ couple to have their marriage legally recognized in South Asia after they received a legal certificate in Nepal's Lamjung district on Nov. 29, The Guardian ...

Gay News

George Santos defiant ahead of another expulsion vote
Embattled gay U.S. Rep. George Santos (R-New York) has remained defiant ahead of a second expulsion vote scheduled for Friday, Dec. 1, according to CNN. Santos has repeatedly said that he will not resign, but momentum ...

Gay News

BOOKS Lucas Hilderbrand reflects on gay history in 'The Bars Are Ours'
In The Bars Are Ours (via Duke University Press), Lucas Hilderbrand, a professor of film and media studies at the University of California-Irvine, takes readers on a historical journey of gay bars, showing how the venues ...

Gay News

Ghana cardinal: It's time to understand homosexuality
Ghana Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson told the BBC that being gay should not be considered illegal and that people should be helped to understand the issue of homosexuality better. Turkson's comments come as his country's ...

Gay News

WORLD Thai marriage law, French bill, Miss Universe, IKEA, activist dies
Thailand Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin said that the cabinet approved a draft law on marriage equality and that it would be brought to parliament during a session starting in December, Reuters reported. If the draft law ...

Gay News

Openly gay OpenAI CEO back in charge of company
On Nov. 21, OpenAI said it had reinstated Sam Altman as its chief executive—the latest chapter in a saga that involved a boardroom coup and staff backlash. The company, which is behind ChatGPT, also said it ...

Gay News

WORLD Latvia, nonbinary magistrate, Gay Games end, Israel soldiers
Latvia's parliament voted to allow same-sex couples to establish civil unions, Reuters reported. Said couples now have legal recognition—but fewer rights than married couples. The new legislation, slated to take effect in the middle of next ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Music awards, military film, Tom of Finland, Yo-Yo Ma, 'Harley Quinn'
Video below - Brothers Osborne—a duo that includes gay brother TJ Osborne—won Vocal Duo of the Year for the sixth time at the recent CMA Awards, per a media release. Backstage, TJ told reporters, "I did not expect us ...

Gay News

Rustin film puts a gay pioneer into the spotlight
The story of activist Bayard Rustin is one that should be told in classrooms everywhere. Instead, because Rustin was an openly same-gender-loving man, his legacy has gone relatively unnoticed outside of LGBTQ+-focused history books. Netflix hopes ...

Gay News

Santos not seeking re-election after wrongdoing evidence is revealed
On Nov. 16, the House Ethics Committee found "substantial evidence" that U.S. Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) violated federal law, setting the stage for another push to expel the embattled gay first-term Congressman and prompting him to ...

Gay News

Pope: Trans people can be baptized and act as godparents
Pope Francis has stated that trans people may be baptized and act as godparents or witnesses to marriage under the same conditions as any other adult—as long as a scandal does not result, according to PinkNews. ...

Gay News

Gay Games dealing with backlash, low turnout
Gay Games 11 Hong Kong 2023 (which is also taking place in Guadalajara, Mexico) is taking place, but is contending with some obstacles, including political backlash and low registration numbers, media outlets have reported. According to ...

Gay News

30th anniversary of LGBTQ+ Bud Billiken Parade contingent celebrated
The 30th Anniversary Ad Hoc Committee of Proud Black Lesbians and Gays celebrated the original Ad Hoc Committee of Proud Black Lesbians and Gays and members of the LGBTQIA+ community who in 1993 actively participated as ...


Copyright © 2023 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.

All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.






About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.