On his campaign website, Gomez’s position seems clear: “I oppose discrimination of any kind. Same sex couples should be free to marry.” In March, he told reporters that “if two people are in love, they should be able to get married.” He has repeatedly invoked his experience learning from a gay classmate at the U.S. Naval Academy. And just two weeks ago, he told a Vietnam veteran, “I’m going to help [the Republican Party] appeal to all Americans, as opposed to the privileged few. I’m going to help them with gay marriage, I’m pro-gay-marriage.”
Support for marriage equality is not unusual in Massachusetts, which has allowed same-sex marriages for nearly a decade. But while Gomez supports the idea of marriage equality in his own state — a position shared by 57 percent of Bay Staters in a 2012 survey, tied with Connecticut for the highest rate of support among all states — and repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act, he also believes other states should be free to discriminate.
The Washington Blade reported Saturday that Gomez had responded to a series of questions on his views on LGBT issues:
But on California’s Proposition 8, Gomez said marriage is a state issue and, while he doesn’t agree with the measure, added “you need to respect what the states decide on a state-by-state issue.”
This “states rights” view has been articulated by Republicans opposed to same-sex unions, including Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Rand Paul (R-KY). Republican leaders have proposed this approach as a “middle ground” on the issue, though allowing continued discrimination in most states is hardly a middle ground.
While 12 states and the District of Columbia have now embraced marriage equality — and a handful of others like Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, and New Mexico may follow suit — 30 states have enacted constitutional amendments preventing legal recognition of same-sex marriages. Even with the majority of Americans now in support of civil marriages for all, the amendments will take years to undo. Respecting what states decided before most of the country had evolved on the issue means continuing discrimination for the majority of same-sex families.
A spokesman for Gomez’s opponent, Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA), told the Blade that he supports marriage equality nationally. The special election to fill the remainder of John Kerry’s term will be held next Tuesday, June 25.