Al Franken is up 225 votes in Minnesota in his race for the US Senate. The state Canvassing Board is expected to certify the results and declare him the winner tomorrow. His opponent, the incumbent Republican Norm Coleman, is expected to try to continue the legal process to get 400 of the 12,000 legally-rejected absentee ballot counted. His chances aren't good.
Coleman has a mixed record on LGBT issues. He voted for Marriage Amendment, but supported an ordinance that banned discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation when he was mayor of St. Paul.
*Mayor Coleman has refused to sign a proclamation making it Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgender month every year since he has been in office.
*Mayor Coleman supports the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)
*Mayor Coleman opposes Domestic Partner Benefits
*Mayor Coleman opposes homosexual adoption
*Mayor Coleman has repeatedly been protested by liberal gay-rights activists [see back]
Prepared and Paid for by Minnesotans for Coleman. PO BOX 65456, St Paul, MN 55165
Here are the relevant parts from the back:
Norm Coleman on Human Life
I'm pro-life. It's a core belief of mine that human life, at every stage, should be treated with the sanctity that God meant it to be. Republicans must continue our historic commitment to protecting life at every stage:
the most vulnerable - the unborn - the young and our seniors depend upon government to respect their lives and dignity. It remains one of our most sacred vows as a political party, and one that I will continue to support and promote.
Norm Coleman on Homosexual Rights
As Mayor, I twice refused to sign a "gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender pride" proclamation. I adamantly oppose homosexual marriage and adoption, and as governor I will sign legislation to repeal the 1993 sexual orientation law.
So it was OK to vote for the civil rights ordinance when it was for the city of St. Paul but not for the state of Minnesota? It looks like someone's beliefs are blowing in the wind.
As for Franken, with the campaign in Minnesota not focusing on LGBT issues and no legislative history, it's hard to tell what he'll really be like. But he did make some statements back when he was on Air America that are promising:
There was rarely much pause between jokes.
One of the most frequent targets was Jim West, the mayor of Spokane and opponent of gay civil rights who is facing allegations of molesting boys in the 1970s, as well as charges that he misused his office to secretly pursue gay sex. "It turns out that some of their meanest anti-gay leaders aren't just mean and anti-gay, but they're gay!" Franken said, drawing loud laughter.
Indeed, though the topics discussed ranged from the Patriot Act to President Bush being discomfited by "unscripted" questions from Dutch students during a news conference yesterday to Tom DeLay's legislative tactics, more of the air time was probably devoted to gay rights than any other subject.
Franken's guests included King County Executive Ron Sims, Rep. Jay Inslee and Dan Savage, editor of The Stranger.
Prominent in the discussion was Microsoft's recent headline-making withdrawal of support of a gay rights bill in the state Legislature because of alleged pressure from local pastor Ken Hutcherson. The company reversed its stance late last week.
Franken also talked about gay marriage. "Here's my stance on gay marriage. I never figured out how gay marriage is a threat to heterosexual marriage. I look at a gay male couple, for example, and I don't go, 'Boy, that looks good,' " he said.
Franken is not playing catch-up. He is not learning the ropes. Yes, of course, his celebrity helps. Not every first-time candidate is greeted by spontaneous chants of "Al! Al! Al!" while working the crowds at the Twin Cities Gay Pride Parade and "Franken! Franken! Franken!" along the route of the Fourth of July parade in rural Brainerd.
Either way, it's going to be fun to have a comedian in the Senate. Who can forget how he pwned Ann Coulter at the Connecticut Forum a few years back?
He also showed a solid understanding of the way the right-wing lies about just about everything. (This video's longer, but it's worth it if you want to watch Ann Coulter get very, very uncomfortable in front of the crowd after being called a liar.)