NOM Blames Trans Son for Republican Backing Repeal

BY Lucas Grindley

October 12 2011 7:45 PM ET

The National Organization for Marriage has a theory on why a Republican would support repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act.

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who had voted in favor of the law in 1996, became the first Republican cosponsor of the repeal bill in an announcement last month. Her move followed a history of pro-gay stances that include votes in favor of repealing "don't ask, don't tell" both in 2005 and last year, opposition to a bill to amend the U.S. Constitution to ban same-sex marriage in 2006, and vocal opposition to a ban in her home state in 2008.

Despite that track record, Brian Brown, NOM's president, tried to explain away her opposition to DOMA in a tweet this morning that noted Ros-Lehtinen has a transgender son named Rodrigo (even though Brown referred to Rodrigo as the congresswoman's daughter).

"Transgendered daughter of marriage flip-flopper Rep. Ros-Lehtinen played part in decision to abandon DOMA?" he asked this morning.

He linked to a post about conservatives in her district attacking Ros-Lehtinen, with locals saying "this isn’t what they signed up for."

Ros-Lehtinen has said in the past, even before Rodrigo came out as a transgender man during college, that she learned a lot about gay rights from her children.

"They think of it as a Neanderthal way of thinking not to accept someone because of their sexual orientation," Ros-Lehtinen told  The Miami Herald in 2003. "My kids just say, 'So and so is gay.' It's like, 'He likes chocolate ice cream.' It's a total mind shift among generations. ... As new generations raise up, a lot of taboos will be laid to rest."

Rodrigo Lehtinen worked in February as a trainer at the National Conference on LGBT Equality, better known as the "Creating Change" conference, and has been a field organizer for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.













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