Letters to the editor: May 12 - 19 | Opinion | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Letters to the editor: May 12 - 19

I once heard someone say, "If a politician supports LGBT rights, that's a politician I can trust." I was, therefore, happy to see that you included support of LGBT rights as one of the benchmarks used to indicate candidate stances in your election guide

The chart on the governor's race, however, has an omission. The chart indicates the candidates' stances on social issues, and their level of support from gay-rights groups. Joe Hoeffel is shown to have received support from gay-rights groups, which is true. He did.  Missing, however, is mention that Dan Onorato also received support from gay-rights groups and progressives. Why the omission? 

A tie vote occurred during the recent Steel City Stonewall Democrats (a local LGBT political advocacy group) endorsement process. That endorsement is member-driven and the board decided not to break it, determining the tie indicated a valuable opportunity for a conversation to continue on who could most effectively move human rights forward. Dan Onorato should also have been listed as having received support from a gay-rights group. A tie vote, while unusual, should not be broken by missing information in the media. Nor does a tie vote nullify the value of the endorsement process.

I would like to confirm that the gay-rights group Steel City Stonewall Democrats had an equal number of members who felt Dan Onorato has a track record of support for LGBT rights and could most effectively move our equality forward. Let's let the conversation continue. 

-- Dana Elmendorf

President, Steel City Stonewall Democrats


Chris Potter responds: Space constraints made it impossible to identify every organization supporting each candidate, so the chart sought to portray each candidate's overall constituency. In general, LGBT organizations support Joe Hoeffel more than the other candidates: Hoeffel has been backed by several LGBT organizations statewide, whereas Dan Onorato has only the (split) endorsement of the Steel City Stonewall Democrats. 

Given the number of endorsements made in statewide races, there are exceptions to almost every rule. For example, the chart named the Steelworkers union among Onorato's supporters -- because he got that union's statewide backing. But Hoeffel was backed by one Steelworkers local, an exception my chart didn't mention. Identifying both candidates as being supported by "steelworkers" would, I think, have created a mistaken impression about their base of support.

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