Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker agreed to be the keynote speaker at an LGBTQ networking event on Wednesday night. For a Republican, this was fairly progressive of him.
Just like a Republican, though, he totally blew the opportunity.
Baker was asked during a question-and-answer session whether or not he would sign a “public accommodations” bill to guarantee LGBTQ rights which is currently held up in the state’s Senate, should it land on his desk. Baker, who belongs to a party full of “constitutional purists,” then proceeded to tell the crowd that he would seriously have to consider denying them equal constitutional rights.
‘We sat down and talked to many folks on both sides of the public accommodations issue and we’ll continue to do so as this issue plays out in the legislature. Let me make one thing clear: we should not discriminate against anyone here in the Commonwealth of Mass…my commitment tonight is when that bill gets to my desk I will make sure I talk to all parties involved before we make any decisions…’
The crowd shouted him down, and for good reason. Growing unrest and civic displays of protest against bills like North Carolina’s HB2 show that LGBTQ citizens and allies refuse to be silent and accept the violation of their human rights. A politician who is both speaking at an event for one of the most marginalized groups in the country, and happens to be a member of a party that claims to love the US Constitution, should absolutely know without needing to speak to those who would use their faith as an excuse to discriminate that this is wrong.
Governor Charlie Baker has worked hard to present himself as a moderate Republican, which shouldn’t be difficult to do considering the true religious nutjobs in that party. Baker’s website describes his views as:
Fiscally conservative and socially moderate. I’m a pro-choice candidate and I support marriage equality. My brother is actually gay and married.
However, the recent uproar over bills like HB2 by those who support it spill over into Massachusetts, too. Taking a hardline stance on vetoing such bills could cost Baker votes, so like a coward he refused to take a stand. One of the attendees told WBZ NewsRadio 1030,:
‘I mean that’s not even a very brave thing to say, to say that he would sign a bill, if it came before his desk. And if he had done that, it would have given him the moderate Republican image that he’s trying to have.’
See video of the speech below:
Featured image screengrab via YouTube