Kentucky's Gay Hope
BY Michelle Garcia
May 19 2010 6:45 PM ET
Are there any other openly gay legislators in Kentucky?
Ernesto Scorsone is one of them. He was our only one for a long time,
but he's no longer in office. He's now an executive judge in Fayette County. He's been keeping up on our campaign for a while. There was one
other guy who was running in Louisville, but he lost, unfortunately. I
actually just left him a message this morning. But other than that, I'm
the only openly gay candidate running for the house that I know of, and
there's no one else in the legislature that's open.
Stan Lee, as your campaign manager was telling me, is not exactly the most pro-gay person in Kentucky...
[Laughs] Yeah, I think that's the understatement of the century.
I'll just be more diplomatic about it. Do you think that being openly gay will be a challenge for you when running up against Lee and among some of the district's constituents?
It's gonna be very, very difficult, because Stan is very conservative and very antigay, that I wouldn't be surprised that during this campaign he might throw an f word around at least a couple of times. It really would not shock me at all. But I think if I stand my ground and stay true to it — I know this is really cliché, but someone I really look up to is Cleve Jones. And Harvey Milk is such an inspiration to me. Some people in the district have even called me the next Harvey Milk. I think it's a joke now, but even still, it's so inspiring to hear that. So I think going up against him, I don't think it'll be too much of a problem. It's basically the only thing he has to attack me on. I said in an interview back in November — someone asked me, "So you are openly gay?" and I said "Not necessarily the gay candidate, but someone who happens to be gay." Some people take that as me turning my back on the gay community, and that's not it at all. I've embraced all of it. They're the ones that got me here. But I want people to understand that I'm for everybody. I'm not just for gays. I'm representing everybody, but I think that approach has helped me a lot, that I'm more than just a gay candidate. And I think that eventually more people will warm up to that term. Right now, in Kentucky, we're in a Southern state where it's a naughty word to be gay. But once you let people meet you, they say, "Oh he's gay and he's not so bad." It's going to open people's eyes to not only help me hopefully win, but also help gay issues in the state.