As primary season gets underway for elected officials in both of New York’s legislative chambers we start to see a clear picture of how various issues will be used to promote the record of a certain candidate or sully the image of an opponent.
LGBT issues, unfortunately, are often considered fair game in this game of mudslinging. What many of these candidates don’t realize, however, is that New Yorkers (of all political stripes) are not won over by championing a position that is discriminatory towards their lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender friends, family neighbors or coworkers. It certainly didn’t work when Craig Johnson was running in his special election for a Long Island senate seat last year.
Now Hudson Valley Assemblyman Greg Ball apparently feels that it’s necessary to beef up his conservative creds in a recent mailer by proudly showcasing the fact that he has defended “traditional marriage.” As a young member of the Assembly and self-proclaimed “reformer,” we find it curious that Ball would claim that he’s taken on “the good old boys” by doing things like voting against the marriage bill that passed in the Assembly last June. If you look at the list of Assemblymembers who voted for that bill, you’ll find that a vast majority of the “good old boys” voted the same way that Greg Ball voted. More progressive “reformers” in the Assembly voted for marriage.
The most insulting part of this mailer is the headline that proclaims that Ball is “fighting for the best interest of you and your family.” Apparently this excludes anyone who is LGBT or has an LGBT member of their family. By voting to deny the 1324 rights and responsibilities that come with a marriage license to the many committed same-sex couples in his district, Ball doesn’t seem to be fighting for a definition of family values that is in-step with his constituents—or one that is very reform-minded.