Alex Blaze

Al Franken's ahead of Norm Coleman by 225 votes

Filed By Alex Blaze | January 04, 2009 1:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: Al Franken, anti-discrimination, civil rights, Democrats, gay rights, mayor, Minnesota, Norm Coleman, Republicans, Senate, st. paul

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.

But that doesn't mean he was afraid to campaign on homophobia. Check out this flyer from when he ran for governor of Minnesota in 1998 (but lost to Jesse Ventura):

Norm Coleman Opposes Special Rights

*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.

And the gays in Minnesota like him enough:

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.)

This should be interesting.

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Wow, had never seen that footage before - it's terrifying that anyone actually suggests "racial profiling" as a solution to anything...

More on topic, here's hoping no more hurdles get in the way for Franken and that we can get an ally in the Senate.

I will point out, in the interest of fairness, that Norm Coleman DID vote for passage of the hate crimes bill in 2007. I will also point out that he has, in the past, employed a transgender woman in his offices (as mayor and as Senator) before and after her transition. So he ain't exactly Jesse Helms or John Cornyn.

Do not get me wrong. If I had been a Minnesota resident at the time of the election, I'd have definitely voted for Franken, and hope he is seated. I'm tired of politicians always being scared to offend anyone (even if they deserve to be offended) and always being worried about calling the opposition what they are. Franken's a breath of fresh air, and will hopefully keep blasting the Ann Coulters of the world from the bully pulpit of the Senate.

"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."

That's because he was a Democrat when he was mayor. He switched parties right before that run for governor. The switch was prompted by the DFL making it clear he was not going to be their nominee for governor.

"Norm Coleman: Against it if it will get him elected"