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Gay conservative group GOProud announced its endorsement of Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack for reelection, saying that her commitment to improving the everyday lives of gay and lesbian Americans exceeds that of her gay Democratic opponent, Palm Springs, Calif., mayor Steve Pougnet. The congresswoman voted against the "don't ask, don't tell" repeal measure in May.
In a news release sent Tuesday morning, GOProud hailed Bono Mack, a Republican, for her record in domestic affairs and foreign policy.
"Bono Mack was an outspoken opponent of the Democrats' efforts to expand government-run healthcare that would discriminate against gays and lesbians," said the news release. "Bono Mack supports reforms to our tax code and to social security that would provide greater equality of opportunity for gay and lesbian individuals and their families. She has also repeatedly voted against efforts to pass an anti-gay federal marriage amendment."
In May, Bono Mack was one of 168 Republicans who voted against the "don't ask, don't tell" repeal amendment that passed the House. The measure also passed the Senate Armed Services Committee and now awaits a vote in the full Senate.
GOProud chairman of the board Chris Barron, who said his group reluctantly supported the repeal measure, told The Advocate that Bono Mack's opposition was disappointing, if understandable, given the process surrounding the vote, which he called "politically poisonous."
"Congresswoman Bono Mack has made it clear that she is open to changing this policy, and unfortunately, we will never how Mary Bono Mack would have actually voted on repeal because Democrats created a process whereby they made it impossible for Republicans who may have wanted to vote for the bill to support it," said Barron.
"We're disappointed that Congresswoman Bono Mack didn't vote for the final bill, but we certainly understand how politically poisonous the process became," he said.
Five Republicans voted for the measure in the House, and one Republican on the Senate panel supported it.
Bono Mack issued a statement after her vote that cited the need to wait for military review before taking a congressional vote. She has represented California's 45th congressional district, which includes the gay mecca Palm Springs, since 1998, after the death of her husband, former representative Sonny Bono.