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Top Stories This Week in the Chronicle.
October 27, 2006

Election endorsements:

The best choices for the LGBT community

The Gay People�s Chronicle sent candidate surveys to 55 statewide and federal campaigns for endorsements in the statewide, U.S. House, and U.S. Senate races.

Candidates for governor, Congress and the Ohio Supreme Court were asked about their views on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues. They were also asked questions designed to gauge their familiarity and comfort with LGBT people.

Candidates for the other statewide offices were asked only the second set of questions.

All candidates were asked how they voted on the Ohio same-sex marriage ban amendment, when it appeared on the ballot as Issue 1 in 2004, and all but one said they opposed it.

During the process, much has been learned, some confirming what has already been reported and some new insights. Many of the candidates did not return a survey form.

These are the Gay People�s Chronicle�s recommendations, based on the survey responses and on the candidates� records.

First are the statewide offices, followed by the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.

Click here for a summary box listing only the endorsed candidates� names.

Governor and Lieutenant Governor

There are five tickets seeking to become Ohio�s next governor and lieutenant governor. They are Democrats Ted Strickland and Lee Fisher, Republicans J. Kenneth Blackwell and Tom Raga, Libertarians Bill Peirce and Mark Noble, the Green Party�s Bob Fitrakis and Anita Rios and independents James Lundeen and Kevin Becker.

Only Libertarian Peirce returned the Gay People�s Chronicle survey.

Democrat Strickland did not have a longstanding relationship with the LGBT community when he began his campaign, though his running mate Fisher did. But LGBT people have increasingly become part of Strickland�s world view since he was first elected to Congress in 1992, and his congressional voting record reflects that growth.

Strickland appeared with Equality Ohio in an October 2005 counter-rally to televangelist Rod Parsley�s at the Statehouse across the street. Parsley�s event condemned gays and lesbians, and sought to register 400,000 voters for Strickland�s eventual Republican opponent.

At that rally, Strickland declared that such wedge issues do not belong in Ohio politics, and articulated his belief in equality, which includes legal recognition of same-sex couples as long as the word �marriage� is not used.

The Methodist minister and psychologist has done an admirable job keeping wedge social issues out of the race, and has prevented the campaign from becoming another ugly referendum on gays and lesbians, even when Blackwell has attempted to make it one.

As the front runner, Strickland has been careful not to irritate any group by making promises or throwing out bold ideas, and this includes to the LGBT community.

But based on his willingness to engage LGBT Ohioans and his record of steady improvement on LGBT issues, Strickland and Fisher are the best choice for LGBT voters.

Republicans Blackwell and Raga are the worst choice.

Blackwell is a gaybaiter who has used despicable tactics to woo his base voters, anti-gay activists and right wing Christian conservatives.

He has pumped up crowds by waving a Bible while comparing gays and lesbians to barnyard animals and told a newspaper we are like arsonists and kleptomaniacs. As secretary of state, he made sure legal challenges to the 2004 anti-marriage constitutional amendment failed, then using his image and voice to promote the measure. In a televised debate last week, he invoked the name of a defunct, discredited same-sex pedophile organization. Blackwell is easily the most anti-LGBT candidate to ever seek statewide office in Ohio.

The Libertarians, Peirce and Noble, appear to be LGBT-affirming.

�Individuals differ in their views about morality or desirability of various kinds of behavior,� wrote economist Peirce in an answer to the Chronicle survey. �The state should remain neutral in such disagreements unless the behavior of a person damages the rights of another person to life, liberty, or property.�

Peirce voted against the Ohio marriage ban amendment in 2004, and includes LGBT people in his circle of family and friends. He said he would veto a bill to restrict LGBT adoptions and supports adding a corrective note to the birth certificates of transsexuals.

Green Party candidate Fitrakis is a lawyer, journalist, and professor. Rios is a union organizer.

Their campaign has focused almost exclusively on cleaning up Ohio�s electoral process. Social issues, including LGBT ones, have been absent from their platform and their public record, but Green candidates are generally LGBT-friendly.

Independents Lundeen and Becker are write-in candidates.

Lundeen, a physician, responded to the Chronicle�s primary election survey last spring, saying that he supports civil unions and would sign orders barring discrimination by sexual orientation and gender identity in state employment. Lundeen also said he would veto any bill restricting LGBT adoption, or excluding LGBT students from anti-bullying protection.

Attorney General

Although most people think of state attorney general only in terms of being the state�s �top cop,� the office has a far larger role to play as the state�s lawyer. It is this official who will represent the state in the early litigation brought about by the constitutional marriage ban amendment.

Of the two candidates running, Republican Betty Montgomery, and Democrat Marc E. Dann, neither presents a clear or obvious choice for LGBT voters.

Neither candidate responded to the Chronicle�s survey.

Montgomery held the office from 1995 to 2003, and has been Ohio�s auditor since then.

According to her website, she supported Ohio�s marriage ban amendment in 2004, and continues to campaign as a defender of �traditional marriage� as part of her conservative r�sum�. Throughout her career as a state senator and county prosecutor, Montgomery has sought to please the religious right.

In 2000, Montgomery was caught in a lie when she told a liberal Jewish group in Cleveland that she supported a bill to add �sexual orientation� to Ohio�s hate crime law. The bill she cited did not exist, even though she named a Republican sponsor.

At the time, the House was considering a hate crime bill that would have included sexual orientation, sponsored by Democrat Joyce Beatty. Montgomery said she didn�t know anything about that bill and eventually opposed it, based on �timing.�

Democrat Dann is a current state senator who has hired openly gay staff in that office, and would like to be seen as LGBT-friendly.

However, Dann�s actions as an attorney and legislator suggest indifference to issues LGBT Ohioans face.

In 2003, Dann�s office represented a young gay man convicted of asking another man for sex, seven months after the law against this had been ruled unconstitutional by the Ohio Supreme Court and repealed. Keith Phillips served four months in jail for the nonexistent crime before another attorney cleared his name.

The issue came up during the Democratic primary, and Dann responded by blaming Phillips--who is now suing Dann for slander.

As a senator, Dann introduced a bill against school bullying that doesn�t protect LGBT students. He was lobbied by LGBT groups to include them, but he declined, citing the political climate of the Senate.

This month, Dann proposed a bill to crack down on sex offenders that could be used to seize the cars of gay men meeting in parks.

Ohio Auditor

Like the governor and the secretary of state, the Ohio auditor sits on the Apportionment Board, which draws the legislative districts every ten years. The party that controls this board has a great influence on which party has power in the legislature itself.

The race between Democrat Barbara Sykes and Republican Mary Taylor, both Ohio House members from the Akron area, presents a clear preferred choice for LGBT voters: Sykes.

Sykes returned the Chronicle�s survey in both the primary and the general elections. Taylor did not.

Sykes counts LGBT people among her family and friends, and has been a reliable LGBT-supportive vote in the Ohio House, including her vocal opposition to the �defense of marriage act.� She also opposed the 2004 marriage ban amendment.

As a Summit County deputy auditor, Sykes helped craft non-discriminatory policies and hiring practices, and would do the same for LGBT people in the auditor�s office.

Taylor comes from the anti-gay machinery of the Summit County Republican Party, which worked on behalf of the Bush campaign to pass Issue 1 in 2004. She has been a predictable anti-LGBT vote on the House Education Committee and in the Ohio general assembly.

Secretary of State

Like the auditor, the secretary of state sits on the state Apportionment Board and wields a tremendous amount of political power and influence, though it is not a position that makes policy.

Republican Greg Hartmann did not respond to the Chronicle�s survey. He is now Hamilton County Clerk of Courts.

A recent transplant to Ohio from Texas, Hartmann�s father is Vice President Dick Cheney�s attorney. Besides being a Republican Party loyalist, there is not much LGBT-pertinent information available, and he�s not providing any.

Democrat Jennifer Brunner has a long record of LGBT involvement, and she should be supported by LGBT voters. She returned the Chronicle�s survey.

Brunner was an LGBT community supporter before it was fashionable, even for Democrats. That history earned her the distinction of being the first non-federal candidate ever endorsed by the National Stonewall Democrats. As a Franklin County judge, Brunner was a regular at Pride events.

Her campaign employs LGBT people in key positions. Former Stonewall Columbus director Kate Anderson is her campaign manager, joined by two other former staffers from the group. Brunner pledges that if elected, she will continue to hire qualified LGBT people and protect them with a policy of non-discrimination.

�I would also work to stop proposed legislation that is discriminatory to citizens of Ohio within the means of my office,� Brunner wrote in the survey.

�One of the primary reasons I decided to run for this office was because of the despicable actions of Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell campaigning for State Issue One in order to get the vote out for President Bush in 2004,� Brunner continued.

Brunner opposed the constitutional marriage ban amendment, and her law firm was counsel to the LGBT rights organization fighting it.

Treasurer

Like the race for secretary of state, the treasurer�s race has a clear choice for LGBT voters.

Democrat Richard Cordray�s history with the LGBT community is impressive and longstanding. Cordray and his children have been in Columbus Pride parades since the kids were old enough to sit in the red wagon he pulled. Now, they walk alongside him.

Cordray, an attorney, has also done pro bono work for LGBT civil rights on behalf of Lambda Legal Defense. In 2000, Cordray recieved Columbus HRC�s Michael Howard Greer Award as humanitarian of the year. He also returned the Chronicle�s survey.

On it, he pledges to use his political capital to stand up for fair treatment of all citizens, including the LGBT community.

Cordray has an LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination rule in the Franklin County treasurer�s office he currently holds, and would have one as state treasurer.

His record is a stark contrast to that of Republican Sandra O�Brien.

Though it appears absurd on the surface, O�Brien is running to be a financial officer by talking about nothing but conservative Christian social issues.

Her endorsement list includes seven organizations: three anti-choice groups, the gun lobby, a Christian family organization, the anti-gay Citizens for Community Values, and a newsletter affiliated with CCV.

O�Brien did not return Chronicle survey forms in either the primary or the general election.

Ohio Supreme Court

The Ohio Supreme Court will decide what the constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages also means. The first test of the amendment--its impact on the domestic violence law--will be heard by the high court in December. The court, with the two justices to be elected next month, is expected to hear two or three more cases on the amendment during their term.

The first race is between incumbent Justice Terrence O�Donnell and Appeals Court Judge William M. O�Neill. Both returned the Chronicle�s survey.

Republican O�Donnell was initially appointed to fill an unexpired term, and his campaigns have had open lines of communication with the Chronicle since 2004.

In the context of anticipated LGBT cases over the amendment, O�Donnell�s judicial philosophy raises some red flags.

First, unlike nearly every other candidate who has replied to a Chronicle survey, O�Donnell answered the question of whether or not he includes LGBT people among his family and friends: �I exclude no one,� which raises the possibility of �don�t ask, don�t tell� relationships.

O�Donnell is also the only candidate to dodge the question asking how he voted on the Issue 1 marriage ban in the 2004 election. �My oath requires me to enforce this provision of the Ohio Constitution,� he wrote.

But the big concern is his belief that the Constitution is to be interpreted according to the �intent of the framers.�

The framers gave no consideration to LGBT issues, and such interpretations tend to limit LGBT equality, at all levels of the judiciary.

In contrast, Democrat O�Neill has LGBT family and friends, and the community has clearly been part of his world view for a significant amount of time.

O�Neill wrote that the ban amendment was �Unequivocally . . . the most mean-spirited, ill-advised piece of hate propaganda which was ever sold to the voters of Ohio.�

He describes the Ohio Constitution as �a living document. Otherwise, slavery would still be legal in Ohio, women would not be permitted to vote, and alcohol consumption would still be illegal. The Constitution�s basic provisions, however, such as equal protection and due process, must remain static or the fabric of society will fall apart.�

For those reasons, it is in the interest of the LGBT community to replace O�Donnell with O�Neill on the high court.

___________

The second Supreme Court contest is to replace retiring Justice Alice Robie Resnick, who has become a reliable defender of LGBT rights on the court.

Running to fill the seat are two former members of the Ohio Senate.

Democrat Ben Espy is formerly the Senate�s Minority Leader.

He did not return the Chronicle�s survey for the general election, but he did for the primary election in May. Espy has never been a judge.

Espy has LGBT family and friends and developed a constituent relationship with the LGBT community during his time in the Senate.

Along with his Republican counterpart, Senate President Richard Finan, Espy blocked an early �defense of marriage� bill from passage, even after it had passed the House.

On the primary survey, Espy wrote that the Ohio Constitution is �a living document to be interpreted in the language and scientific understanding of today.�

To a question asking if LGBT Ohioans are equal under Ohio law to their non-LGBT counterparts, Espy wrote, �No, but they should� be.

Republican Robert Cupp, a current appeals court judge, did not return the Chronicle survey in either election.

Cupp�s world views and judicial philosophy as they relate to LGBT Ohioans are much less clear than his opponent�s.

No LGBT cases heard by Cupp could be found.

His legislative record is the only available look into his world view. Cupp did not co-sponsor the �defense of marriage act� while in the Senate, nor did he support measures in lock-step with the right wingers, though his general conservative credentials are solid.

Because Cupp�s website is also vague and ambiguous, he presents to the LGBT community as a qualified unknown.

Since that is the case, and Espy, his opponent, is known, Espy should be the choice here, especially given the stakes created by the marriage ban amendment.

U.S. Senate

The contest over the U.S. Senate seat once held by early LGBT community ally Howard Metzenbaum has become a nail-biter, and one of the most-watched races in the nation.

There are clear differences between the candidates on LGBT issues, however, and it has been a race where the community�s money and volunteers may prove decisive.

The incumbent is Republican Mike DeWine, who has never responded to a Chronicle survey.

DeWine relishes his reputation as a moderate on many issues, especially social issues, including LGBT equality--that is, until election time, when he panders to the extremists in his party.

This year has been no exception. During the safe years, DeWine throws the LGBT community a few bones, mostly in the form of support for Ryan White AIDS care funding. But give him a primary challenge from the right, and he�s off.

In 2006 alone, DeWine supported anti-gay Bush judicial appointees including Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, and became a co-sponsor of this year�s version of the federal marriage ban amendment.

The latter pleased anti-gay activists such as Phil Burress of Citizens for Community Values, who immediately praised DeWine and welcomed him back into their tent.

Flaunting one�s anti-LGBT side to rally a group of voters counters anything positive DeWine may have done in the off election years.

This pattern of behavior, which he has also done in previous election years, should make him unacceptable for LGBT Ohioans and their families.

Democrat Sherrod Brown, on the other hand, has one of the most consistent LGBT allies in Congress, regardless of the prevailing political winds.

So much so that the Ohio Republican Party sent out a statement headlined, �Sherrod Brown is to the left of Bill Clinton. Sherrod Brown wouldn�t back Bill Clinton to defend marriage, but was a solid backer of raising taxes.�

Brown did not return the Chronicle�s general election survey, but did return the one for the primary election.

�I am fully and completely in support of civil marriage,� was Brown�s answer to a primary-survey question on same-sex couples� rights.

As the Republican statement noted, Brown was one of 70 votes against the 1996 federal �defense of marriage act.�

Brown wants the federal government to recognize same-sex civil unions and marriages for tax and benefit purposes and wants non-citizen same-sex partners to have the same rights and benefits that married couples have.

His circle of family and friends includes many LGBT people, including the minister who married Brown and his wife Connie.

Brown has opposed the federal marriage amendment every time it came before Congress, and is an example of a politician that doesn�t run from his pro-LGBT positions when he�s in conservative crowds. For that, Brown should have the support of the LGBT voters.

U.S. House of Representatives

District 1

Incumbent Republican Steve Chabot is a reliably anti-gay vote in the House. Chabot is part of a small group of right wingers that has not cast a single pro-LGBT vote in six years, as measured by the Human Rights Campaign. He has also not been willing to do even the smallest things affording LGBT people respect, like signing a non- discrimination policy in his office. Voters should reject him.

Democrat John Cranley is one of a progressive new kind of leader in Cincinnati politics, who has worked hard to recast the city�s reputation for intolerance. That includes taking a visible role in the repeal of the anti-gay Charter Article 12 two years ago, and leadership passing a hate crime law and restoring the city�s LGBT-inclusive human rights ordinance.

Cranley should be the obvious choice of LGBT voters.

Neither candidate returned the Chronicle�s survey.

District 2

Democrat Victoria Wulsin, a medical doctor, is running her first political race strongly. Though she has no record on LGBT issues, her left-leaning positions on others, including reproductive choice, and as a friend of organized labor, suggest that she will be LGBT-friendly. Wulsin should be considered even without further knowledge, given her opponent.

Incumbent Republican Jean Schmidt, like Chabot, has been nothing other than hostile to LGBT concerns since she arrived in Congress. Schmidt actively supported the federal marriage amendment and has voted against every LGBT-friendly measure put before her. Nothing good can come of Schmidt becoming a rooted incumbent in that seat.

Neither candidate returned the Chronicle�s survey.

District 3

Incumbent Republican Mike Turner has never cast an LGBT- friendly vote. As mayor of Dayton, Turner led the opposition to an LGBT-inclusive human rights ordinance that has never come back up. As mayor, Turner gaybaited councilor Mary Wiseman, Dayton�s first lesbian official, and has done the bidding of anti-LGBT forces his entire political life.

Democrat Richard Chema is a Navy veteran and attorney, whose campaign is built largely around national security. He has no apparent record on LGBT issues, but has distinguished himself as an expert on prosecuting sexual harassment under military law, so the concept of LGBT harassment and discrimination should be something he understands, at least on an academic level. This is also a case where the unknown is a better bet for the LGBT voters than the anti-gay incumbent.

Neither candidate returned the Chronicle�s survey.

District 4

Democrat Richard Siferd is one of two candidates seeking this seat opened up by the retirement of Republican Mike Oxley.

Siferd is clearly running as a conservative Democrat, though his message appears to avoid social issues.

Republican state senator Jim Jordan�s LGBT views have tempered some in recent years, but he will always be remembered for introducing the �defense of marriage act� in the Ohio House in 1999, and as a favorite of the religious conservatives throughout the state during his tenure.

Neither candidate returned the Chronicle�s survey.

District 5

Incumbent Republican Paul Gillmor has also piled up a long record of hostility toward LGBT people that includes refusing to even implement a non-discrimination policy in his office.

Gillmor did not return the Chronicle�s survey.

Democrat Robin Weirauch did return the Chronicle�s survey and is highly recommended for LGBT support. Weirauch supports government recognition of same-sex couples �through civil unions, partner benefits, adoption benefits, etc.� She supports making employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity illegal, equality in taxation for couples, and immigration rights for same-sex domestic partners. Weirauch is clearly comfortable with LGBT children and their needs, and counts LGBT people among her family and friends.

District 6

Democrat Charlie Wilson, a state senator, is campaigning for the seat vacated by gubernatorial candidate Ted Strickland. Wilson is a conservative Democrat on most issues, but joined his caucus in opposition to the �defense of marriage act� when it was before the senate in 2003. For that, he should be given the nod by the LGBT community in this race.

Republican Chuck Blasdel, who holds the second-highest leadership post in the Ohio House--speaker pro tempore--is a conservative. His leadership in passing the �defense of marriage act� should make him a less than desirable choice for LGBT voters.

Neither candidate returned the Chronicle�s survey.

District 7

Republican incumbent David Hobson is about as LGBT-friendly a mainstream Republican as one can find. In the House, Hobson consistently opposes the federal marriage amendment. As a state senator, Hobson sponsored Ohio�s first AIDS care act, still known as the �Hobson Act.�

Democrat Bill Connor, a retired Air Force officer, devotes an entire section of his campaign website to supporting same-sex marriage rights. �It is not within the purview of Congress to strip gays of rights which are freely granted to heterosexuals, in particular, marriage,� wrote Connor.

Neither candidate returned the Chronicle�s survey.

District 8

Democrat Mort Meier, a retired Air Force officer, is running a campaign based on ending corruption. There is no apparent record for him on LGBT matters. However, he should get the nod because of his opponent�s record.

Republican incumbent and House Majority Leader John Boehner is no friend to LGBT people. He is another one who, according to HRC, has not done a single positive thing for LGBT people in at least six years in Congress. Worse, Boehner has used his leadership position to promote passage of the federal marriage amendment and stir up animosity toward LGBT Americans when his party needed it.

Boehner�s behavior is unacceptable.

Neither candidate returned the Chronicle�s survey.

District 9

Republican Bradley S. Leavitt, a retired Navy officer and self-described �blue collar worker� is running to further his �understanding of the electoral process.� His campaign does not appear to be serious.

Democratic incumbent Marcy Kaptur has steadily gotten more LGBT-affirming the longer she stays in Congress, scoring perfect or nearly perfect HRC ratings. Her re-election is strongly recommended.

Neither candidate returned the Chronicle�s survey.

District 10

Democratic incumbent Dennis Kucinich is a consistent perfect scorer on HRC�s scale. He campaigned for president in 2004 on a platform that included full marriage rights for same-sex couples. He is a regular at Cleveland Pride and always available to the LGBT community. He should be supported for re-election.

Republican challenger Mike Dovilla, a former human resources director in the current Bush administration, is running a campaign whose message is, �I�m not Dennis.� Dovilla�s views on LGBT matters are unknown.

Neither candidate returned the Chronicle�s survey.

District 11

Republican Lindsey N. String is a candidate, but not a serious one. Her website is peppered with columns from right wing pundits, but she has no apparent plan or positions of her own, other than her desire to unseat Stephanie Tubbs Jones.

Democratic incumbent Tubbs Jones has a six year perfect score with HRC, and a longstanding relationship with the LGBT community. She actively campaigned against the Ohio constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex marriage. Her re-election should be strongly supported.

Neither candidate returned the Chronicle�s survey.

District 12

Democrat Robert Shamansky, an attorney and former House member, is campaigning against what he identifies as failures of the current Congress. He appears to be LGBT-friendly, and has a relationship with the Stonewall Democrats of Central Ohio. LGBT voters should be supportive of his campaign.

Incumbent Republican Pat Tiberi has been no friend to LGBT people on Capitol Hill. He supported the federal marriage amendment, has scored zero on HRC�s scale the past four years, and has become increasingly hostile with his tenure.

Neither candidate returned the Chronicle�s survey.

District 13

Republican Craig Foltin seeks the seat vacated by U.S. Senate candidate Sherrod Brown. Foltin, currently mayor of Lorain, has nothing in his record that would indicate that he is either friendly or unfriendly to LGBT causes. He does, however, have a considerable record indicating that he is a loyal Republican, and that might mean following party leadership on anti-LGBT initiatives.

Democrat Betty Sutton, a labor attorney and former member of the Ohio House, has a longstanding relationship with the LGBT community and the women�s rights movement. In the Ohio House, Sutton organized and led opposition to the original �defense of marriage acts� in both 1997 and 1999. Sutton and her staff supplied LGBT activists with information to use against the bill. She will be a strong advocate for the LGBT community, and should be supported based on that.

Neither candidate returned the Chronicle�s survey.

District 14

Democratic challenger Lewis Katz returned the Chronicle�s survey. He supports domestic partner registries and parity in benefits with married couples. He opposes a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, and supports withholding of federal funds to school systems that do not protect LGBT students from bullying. Katz was also the first faculty advisor to the gay and lesbian student group at the Case Western Reserve law school. He should get the nod from the LGBT community.

Republican incumbent Steve LaTourette�s record on LGBT issues mirrors that of Tiberi, including a vote for the federal marriage ban amendment.

Neither candidate returned the Chronicle�s survey.

District 15

Of all the congressional districts in Ohio, this is the one where the LGBT vote could be decisive.

Republican incumbent Deborah Pryce responded to the Chronicle survey by sending a letter outlining her support for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, and her consistent votes against the federal marriage ban amendment.

In the letter, she also wrote, �I have also supported Hate Crimes Prevention legislation . . .� But it does not say when she supported it. Pryce caused a controversy when she voted last year against a bill to federalize hate crime based on sexual orientation. Her record on other LGBT issues is also inconsistent and unpredictable, which is the reason why Pryce should not be supported by the LGBT community.

If that�s not enough reason, her attempt earlier this month to gaybait her opponent over a radio ad that had nothing to do with anything gay should clearly be enough.

Democratic challenger Mary Jo Kilroy, a current Franklin County commissioner, has been an advocate of the LGBT community for decades. Kilroy returned the Chronicle survey.

Kilroy was the first non-LGBT ally member of Stonewall Columbus. As a school board member, she passed anti-harassment policies protecting LGBT students and teachers, and got non-discrimination policies into the school�s union contracts. Kilroy supports domestic partner registries and civil unions.

Most importantly, Kilroy has a record of consistent LGBT support, regardless of the surrounding political climate. For that reason, LGBT voters should support her emphatically.

District 16

Democratic challenger Thomas Shaw, a Methodist minister, is a first-time candidate whose views on LGBT issues are unknown.

Republican incumbent Ralph Regula, the longest serving Republican in the House, has a record that has gotten, over the years, increasingly hostile to LGBT people. Regula voted for the federal marriage amendment, and against every LGBT-affirming measure the last two sessions of Congress.

Neither candidate returned the Chronicle�s survey.

District 17

Republican challenger Don Manning II is an unknown commodity to the Chronicle. With no record, no website, and no one who knows his LGBT views, voters are urged to beware.

Democratic incumbent Tim Ryan came to Congress with little knowledge of LGBT issues and little relationship with the LGBT community. However, he appears to be improving and should be encouraged to continue. Ryan voted against the federal marriage amendment and for the hate crime bill during the present session.

Neither candidate returned the Chronicle�s survey.

District 18

Democrat Zack Space, the current law director of Dover, is running for the open seat vacated by Bob Ney. It is a conservative district. Space is running a moderate Democratic campaign, and avoiding social issues. He has no record on LGBT issues.

Republican Joy Padgett, a state senator, was recruited to run when Ney withdrew from the race following a corruption conviction. Padgett is a conservative, who voted for the �defense of marriage act� in the Ohio House. During her 2004 state senate race against opponent Terry Anderson, Padgett stopped just short of calling Anderson gay, and rallied opposition to him because he opposed DOMA.

Once elected, however, Padgett, who chairs the Senate Education Committee, has worked with LGBT activists on anti-bullying legislation.

Neither candidate returned the Chronicle�s survey.

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