The Radical Right loves to portray itself as a victim, even when it’s not—especially when its not.
Don Mendell, a conservative high-school guidance counselor in Maine, is the star of a new anti-marriage-equality ad launched today by Protect Marriage Maine.
This new ad suggests that people like Mendell are under attack by vindictive LGBT activists (i.e. the unspecified “they”), and claims viewers can expect “consequences” for supporting traditional marriage—like being ‘‘fired, sued, fined and punished.”
In the clip, a rather crazy-eyed Mendell says,‘”I was a successful school counselor in Maine for over 20 years—once nominated as teacher of the year—yet when I supported traditional marriage, they tried to get me fired.”
Two individual complaints of ethics violations were indeed filed against Mendell after he made numerous public statements attacking gay marriage, in addition to appearing in a “Yes on 1” ad, but those complaints were dismissed for insufficient evidence.
And, so long as he kept his views out of the guidance counselor’s office, that was the right call to make.
But you don’t get a free pass from criticism—or even attack—when you take a stand on a public issue. Had Mendell actually been fired, he’d have a legitimate gripe. (Even though it’d have nothing to do with whether or not gays should be allowed to marry.) We’d be happy to stack Mendell’s non-starter against the thousands of Americans who actually have been fired for being gay in the many states that have no LGBT workplace protections.
A second ad, also launched today, incorrectly asserts that gay and lesbian couples are already protected by the state’s domestic registry. The registry, enacted in 2004, does not confer all the rights and benefits of civil marriage.
According to campaign-disclosure reports, the Protect Marriage Maine PAC has raised $415,000 to date, while the pro-equality Mainers United for Marriage has garnered about $3.4 million. Project Marriage Maine’s coffers would have been even barer, if not for a helping hand (and check) from the carpetbagging National Organization for Marriage.