responsible reporting

Still Considered News: Voters Not Having a Problem With Candidates Who Have Sex With The Same Sex

With news that at least two gay candidates want to join Jared Polis, Tammy Baldwin, and Barney Frank as The Homos Of The House, the Associated Press went out and found voters — REAL, ALIVE ONES! — like Laure Rondeau, described as “an 82-year-old Catholic,” who says of gay Providence Mayor David Cicilline: His sexual orientation “doesn’t bother me at all. He’s been a good mayor of Providence, and I think he’d do well in Congress.”

(Evidently the AP could not find a voter to talk about how Palm Springs Mayor Steve Pougnet, who wants to push Rep. Mary Bono Mack out in California, can be gay and a competent lawmaker.)

Part of me wants to say: “Next week tune in for a news report about how being a woman is no longer an issue to voters!”

But is reporting on the non-issue of being gay actually a responsible journalistic exercise? It could help broaden the perspective of other voters, showing them that immutable characteristics shouldn’t effect which way you vote. And like Rondeau up there, religion doesn’t always impact who you think is qualified — particularly when there are bigger issues at stake, like the troops in Afghanistan. (That’s why this Rondeau character backs Cicilline.) And yet, bringing up the matter of sexual orientation being a moot point by definition raises the issue of sexual orientation, as if it’s something for voters to consider at all. Like gender. Or race. Or being a straight white Christian man.

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