'evolvers'

In His Pennsylvania Gov Race, Joe Hoeffel Backs Gay Marriage. Funny, ‘Cause He Didn’t 6 Years Ago

Is Joe Hoeffel, the former Democratic Congressman from Pennsylvania, one of these politicians whose view on gay marriage is “evolving” now that he’s seeking a new, higher office? Hoeffel, who’s running in the 2010 race to become Pennsylvania’s governor, has a section on his campaign website — complete with a photo of two gals in love — specifically about The Marriage. But while Hoeffel (pictured stumping for Obama in 2008) was never so terrible to vote for the Bush-era Federal Marriage Amendment that would have banned gay marriage at the federal level, it was only in 2004 that he was vocally opposing gay marriage.

In the 2004 U.S. Senate race (and his last year as a congressman), where Hoeffel was the Democratic nominee against Republican Arlen Spector (who, of course, is now a Democrat and fighting to save his own Senate seat), he declared in a debate that he was for same-sex civil unions, but against same-sex marriage, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer and further confirmed here.

Huh.

This is the same man who’s now saying, on his website, “This is discrimination, and it is time for our society to recognize what is right. It is time for the majority to stand with, rather than against, the same-sex couples who strengthen our communities and our commonwealth. I support full marriage equality for all Pennsylvanians. As Governor, I will stand up and speak out in support of legislation in the Pennsylvania Senate to make it a reality.”

He’s also the guy who made this video, fingering key LGBT related issues that he supports — while even mentioning God. GOD!

Hey, that’s great stuff, Hoeffel! And we would love to have you on our team. Everyone says you’re this big progressive out of Pennsylvania. Cool!

But voters would be wise to know that you weren’t on our side for full equality back in your 2004 Senate race, and now that this whole gay marriage thing is gaining traction, and Pennsylvania runs blue, you’re suddenly coming out in full force to let us enjoy something you’ve been doing for 32 years with your wife Francesca.

Listen: We don’t want to give you too much shit here, for you at least backed civil unions. And hey, people change their minds all the time. But when you update your stance on something as basic and fundamental to being a human being as the right to be free from discrimination, and do so while running a political campaign … well, forgive us for being skeptics.

(NB: OnTheIssues.org claims Hoeffel sponsored, in 2001, the Equal Rights Amendment in 2001, which would prohibit federal, state, and local discrimination based on sex — something Congress has been trying to add to the U.S. Constitution every year since 1923, but failed to meet the 1982 deadline for ratification. Last year, New York’s Democratic Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney reintroduced the bill, but this time without a state ratification timeline. We couldn’t find Hoeffel’s involvement in ERA from 2001.)

Meanwhile, isn’t it interesting to hear Hoeffel — a clear gay marriage flip-flopper evolver — taking someone else to task about changing their ways. In response to Sen. Arlen Specter changing parties (something that has gotta hurt, given Hoeffel lost to Specter), Hoeffel said:

So why aren’t more of us happy about the switch? Because it is one thing to welcome an opportunistic change of parties for the immediate advantage it gives us, but it is another thing entirely to pledge now that we must support Arlen Specter in the Democratic primary of 2010.

[ …] But I have not come to terms with Arlen’s greatest failing– for the last eight years he supported George W. Bush, the worst President this country has ever had.

Hoefell then threw his support behind Rep. Joe Sestak to take on Specter.