James D. Piergies learned the hard way that gay-baiting doesn’t pay. The Ohio politico hoped to beat openly lesbianic judge Mary Wiseman for their county’s appeal bench. Piergies may have been a bit overzealous, however, because he and his campaign team decided to question Wiseman’s judicial ethics.
Her homosexuality, said Piergies, may impair her objectivity with cases pertaining to gay marriage. Thus, she should remove herself from such cases. The implication, of course, isn’t only that Wiseman’s same-sex loving would influence her decision making, but also makes her an inherently flawed candidate. No one wants a potentially part time judge, right?
Voters didn’t buy Piergies’ bullshit, however. In fact, the scheme ended up biting him in the ass as legal types and newspapers came out for Wiseman:
“If people of good will are going to stand by when this sort of thinly-veiled bigotry is thrown out and traded upon, then where are we?” attorney Steven Dankof Sr. told the Daily News.
Dankof accused Piergies of violating the canons of judicial conduct, and of raising Wiseman’s sexuality “in the hope that homophobia would rear its ugly head and propel you to elected office.”
Dayton Bar Association president Michael Krumholtz wrote in a letter to the Daily News: “All judges take a solemn oath to follow the dictates of the law in the observance of their judicial duties and to refrain from making decisions based on their personal background, religious beliefs, political viewpoint or lifestyle.”
“For our judiciary, this is their most sacred promise. It is the commitment that their decisions will be based on legal principles as opposed to personal choice,” Krumholtz wrote.
Two days later on January 22, the Daily News endorsed Wiseman…
Piergies dropped out of the race on January 23, telling voters, “This campaign has taken on a tone never intended by me and therefore I believe it is in the best interest of everyone for me to withdraw.” Well, actually you did for the campaign to take that tone, Piergies. You just didn’t think it would fall so flat.