Gay GOP Mayoral Candidate Facing Opposition From San Diego LGBT Community

Openly gay Republican Carl DeMaio has gotten little love from the San Diego LGBT community in his mayoral race with openly straight Democrat Bob Filner.

DeMaio has been notoriously quiet on LGBT issues and has accepted campaign donations from supporters of Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage in California. While former Mayor Jerry Sanders campaigned aggressively against Prop 8 four years ago, DeMaio reained silent on the issue as he ran for City Council in a conservative district. Though DeMaio has since stated his support for gay marriage, he  has insisted that gay rights would not be a priority as mayor.

“I’m proud of San Diego that sexual orientation has not played an issue in this race,” DeMaio told The New York Times. “I’ve been running on fiscal reforms and prosperity to create jobs. That’s the agenda that I think has brought so many diverse groups together.”

But for the queer community in San Diego, it is an issue. DeMaio was booed at a debate at the city’s LGBT center and he and his partner were booed as they walked hand-in-hand at this year’s pride parade. While DeMaio claims that only a small minority of gay voters are so vocally opposed to him, the nonpartisan Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund has not endorsed him and even the Romney-loving Log Cabin Republicans initially endorsed another candidate.

Among conservatives, however, DeMaio is making major headway. “Carl’s been embraced by just about everyone,” said Tony Krvaric, chairman of San Diego’s Republican Party, which endorsed DeMaio over two other GOP candidates. “He has a lot in common with a lot of people on the fiscally conservative side.”

Filner, an outspoken gay rights advocate, has been pressing the gay issue in what has become an unsurprisingly bitter campaign. After criticizing DeMaio’s partner, the publisher of San Diego Gay & Lesbian News, Filner was accused of trying to draw attention to his opponent’s homosexuality in order to dissuade the socially conservative from voting for him.

Nevertheless, many LGBT leaders have thrown their support behind Filner. “For Carl DeMaio to be elected mayor would not be a victory for gay and lesbian people,” said lesbian activist and organizer Linda Perine. “It would be a defeat.”

Photo: Rotary Club of La Jolla

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  • BJ McFrisky

    So many gay Republicans to hate, so little time between now and the election to make them look bad . . .
    You guys are going to have to decided if you’re gay first and liberal second, or the other way around, because in today’s political climate, it’s obvious that homosexuality and conservatism are not mutually exclusive. Call us Uncle Toms or whatever clever names you want, but we’re here to stay.

  • jerry_pritikin

    I have been in that position before in San Francisco in 1977. Even though Harvey Milk was a friend of mine and both Jewish and openly gay like myself,I supported Terry Hallinan who was straight,a lawyer and married. I felt Terry was better qualified based on his being a resident in district 5 and active in many civic programs. Terry was a freedpm rider down south registing blacks to vote, and defending G.I.s who did not want to go back to the Vietnam war, and came from a distinquished S.F. family and father championed the rights of people, including gays.

    Harvey, on the other hand was appointed by Mayor Moscone to the Board of Permits, becoming the first gay person ever to head a S.F. department. However, Harvey decided to run for the California Assembly against fellow Democrat Art Agnost(later the mayor)… who was well liked by the gay community and was fired by Mayor Moscone for betraying his trust by running against a sitting Democrat.

    Once Harvey was elected, he became more then a gay politician by voting for changing the status quo for all people in his district and the city. However when it comes to San Diego… it’s good to see the gay community actively supporting a non-gay person over a gay. Being gay does not make one a better politician,athlete or hairdresser and voting for the best qualified is the best for all concerned. San Diego city board has spent too much time on things like naming a ship after Harvey Milk, rather than issues that are far more important for the city.

  • Justin

    There’s a little more to this than just Carl being a Republican. When I was in San Diego I covered the 2010 City Council race and Carl was a big supporter of Councilwoman Lorie Zapf. Before her campaign, she wrote emails to James Hartline, which he turned over to us (for him, Zapf was not anti-gay enough) about how she believed gays should be barred from public office and even though she had gay family members, she believed they had horrible childhoods and were unhappy people. She would, though, however, be “seen” in a photograph with them. At the time, she was the only candidate to say she wouldn’t sign the gay pride proclamation, too.

    I think this has less to do with the fact that Carl isn’t making gay rights an issue, but for a gay man, he puts his support and takes support from people and causes that seem really incongruous. I heard the word “slimy” more often than not covering him.

  • Cam

    @BJ McFrisky:

    Oh are you here playing the victim again? Boo Hoo, nobody stands up and cheers when I support laws and policies that take their rights away?

    DeMaio has been notoriously quiet on LGBT issues and has accepted campaign donations from supporters of Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage in California.”

    Sorry B.J. but he accepted donations from supporters of Prop 8. I know that you always love to come on here and cry about what victims you are, but just being gay doesn’t excuse you if you are supporting laws which damage gays. So nice try.

  • Spike

    Gay republicans running for office, how novel. What fun. How typically San Diego.

  • Fitz

    Kappas and Quislings don’t deserve the air that they breath. I hope he gets whats comming to him.

  • Evji108

    All other issues aside, this guy has the same slightly crazed look in his eyes as Callista Gingrich and Michelle Bachmann. I wonder why?

  • BJ McFrisky

    @Evji108: They’re simply miming Nancy Pelosi, the grandmother of crazy-eyes.

  • Cam

    @BJ McFrisky:

    Funny, you ignore all the valid points people brought up just to make a dig at Pelosi. Sorry you can’t defend your origional argument.

Comments are closed.