Louisiana's Blanco maintains gay-friendly stance

By admin

Originally published on Advocate.com November 12 2003 1:00 AM ET

A memo sent to gay activists this month says that Louisiana lieutenant governor Kathleen Blanco, the Democratic candidate for governor, has made specific commitments to gay groups, including one that contradicts a position she expressed on a questionnaire from a conservative organization earlier in the gubernatorial campaign. Blanco, who faces Republican Bobby Jindal in Saturday's runoff election, told the Louisiana League for Equality that as governor she would issue an executive order banning discrimination in state government and would veto legislation outlawing adoptions by gay couples.

But Blanco's stance on adoptions by gays contradicts the position she took in filling out a questionnaire by the Louisiana Family Forum in which she voiced opposition to gay couples' adopting children. Meeting with gay leaders October 20 in Baton Rouge, Blanco said her responses to the conservative group were prepared by a staffer and should not have been sent. "She indicated that she began completing the...questionnaire, but once she realized the number of antigay discriminatory references contained in the survey, she put it aside and decided against submitting it," according to the memo obtained by The Times-Picayune. "Later on, a well-meaning staff person completed and submitted the survey without her knowledge or consent."

Blanco spokesman Bob Mann said campaigns routinely assign staffers to fill out some of the numerous surveys that flood in from various interest groups. He said Blanco regrets filling out the Family Forum survey because it asked a series of questions that left little room for nuanced responses. "Not everything is a simple yes or no," Mann said. "If we had to do it all over again, we just wouldn't fill that out." Executive director Gene Mills of the Family Forum said he was disappointed to learn that Blanco is repudiating the questionnaire, in which she and Jindal provided identical answers to 19 of the group's 20 questions.