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May 06, 2010

Vincent Orange denies anti-gay remarks he made in 2006

Orange I just listened to the streaming audio of WPFW (89.3 FM) as former Ward 5 Councilmember Vincent Orange, who is considering a run for D.C. Council Chair, told host Jonetta Rose Barras and analyst Eugene DeWitt Kinlow that he had never stated during the 2006 mayoral cammpaign that his opponents were morally unfit for supporting same-sex marriage.

I called in (having been alerted to Orange's radio appearance by Ward 8 activist Philip Pannell), and read the direct quote of the remarks he made to Fox 5 News on August 12, 2006, as reported in the September 7, 2006 issue of Metro Weekly: "I am the only one [of the mayoral candidates] that is opposed to same-sex marriage. The other four, they say they believe in God, they go to church, but they're also for same-sex marriage.... I don't think they're morally fit to run this city."

Orange continued to deny that he said it. How pathetic and contemptible. He did note that D.C. law now recognizes same-sex marriages, and (in answer to Barras) said that if elected Council Chair he will uphold the law. How nice. I expect he will fare about as well this year as he did in 2006. I have more respect for our opponents who are at least honest about their opposition.

Update: The election results for the 2006 primary are here. The breakdown in the Democratic race:

CandidateTotal VotesPercentage
Adrian Fenty60,73257.20
Linda Cropp32,89730.98
Marie Johns8,5018.01
Vincent Orange3,0752.90
Michael A. Brown6500.61


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I find his responses to be very encouraging. This should serve as a lesson to others who long to be elected -- that opposing right for LGBT people is a losing proposition. While in 2006 he thought this might be a winning position to take, he now realizes that with 6 -1 support for same sex marriage among the white voters of DC (and opposition just slightly above half among African-American voters) that hoping to win a city-wide election will not work on this issue. It is a positive development that he is trying to mend his support in the LGBT community by emphasizing his support for various LGBT issues in the past.

Listen to his comments here

It is interesting that both Jonetta Rose Barras and Vincent Orange have trouble getting their words out on this topic.

I don't dispute the positive aspects of Orange's record, though I didn't hear that this morning because of the time delay combined with my call-in being picked up (which also threw me momentarily, as it does so many callers). Anyway, Orange doesn't help himself by denying having said something that is on the record. Fox 5 News might not have saved the tape from August 12, 2006 (it'd be worth checking), but Orange's remarks were reported contemporaneously by the Washington Post in addition to Metro Weekly. If he wants to repair relations with the gay community, he should retract and apologize, not deny. Committing himself to upholding the current law is not the same as expressing support for our civil marriage equality. And the crucial question this time is whether he agrees with us in opposing a ballot measure on the subject.

Any "positive aspects of Orange's record" are few and far between. He never answered any of our candidate questionnaires, as best as I can recall, and I don't think he ever publicly spoke out in favor of any of our initiatives. The best you could say about him was that he never voted against us while on the Council. The only issue of ours he was excited about was nude dancing, and he was completely against us there.

Note that Michael Brown had dropped out of the Mayoral race, so Orange really came in fifth out of five.

Well, my mind was wandering during this and I didn't appreciate how much he was trying to emphasize his positive record on LGBT rights until I heard the playback. This whole interview was about him addressing some of the troubling aspects of his record, including his role in the improper fundraising by the Democratic party in the last election. The right leaning Barras and Kinlow (both not particularly LBGT friendly) were supportive of this effort. So while they protected their guy from you by hanging up on you, it was interesting that they also cut off the second caller who wanted to go on an anti-gay rant. It is clear Orange wants to avoid this topic which I find positive development.

If there is any political point that has been made ad nauseum over the last 35 years [I am certainly sick of hearing it] it is that 'it is not the crime it is the cover-up'. If Orange isn't smart enough to know that then he shouldn't be in the race. So I definitely agree with your point that it doesn't serve him to deny his record.

And I also agree with the point that he must agree that our rights should not be put to a vote. As you say, that is the crucial question.

While I doubt that Vincent Orange will ever be considered a BFF of the gay community, I wonder what he would have to do to be considered a friend. Assuming that Orange has seen the light and knows that a city-wide candidate doesn't have the freedom to ignore the LGBT community that a Ward 5 one does, how would he redeem himself? Let's say he wanted to get to a 5 rating.

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