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September 11, 2010

Robinson: "I'm nicer than you think."

GLAA's ratings routinely receives criticism from people who believe that they deserve better scores. They complain about the process, they complain that they were misunderstood, they complain that they deserve credit for opinions and actions that they failed to share with GLAA. Most of it is pretty pathetic. GLAA has a rigorous and time tested process that is as fair as any system I've seen. The Washington Post's Mike DeBonis wrote GLAA is "...famous for conducting what are arguably the most thorough candidate reviews in town..." Kelvin Robinson

The mature candidates unhappy with their ratings privately contact GLAA and ask why their rating was lower than expected and how can it be improved. GLAA is interested in providing accurate and complete information for voters and happily re-rates candidates based on new information. At least two current candidates have said that they will submit revised questionnaires to better reflect their views and their records. They will be re-rated for the general election.

Kelvin Robinson is not one of the mature candidates. GLAA's narrative for the ratings includes this brief statement on Robinson:

Democrat Kelvin Robinson earned -1. He was endorsed by NOM when he first ran for the At-Large Council seat. He said at the time that he thought there should be a vote on our right to marry. He refused to say how he would vote. After switching to the Ward 6 race he has not been endorsed again by NOM. He still opposes marriage equality, having recently repeated his call to place same-sex marriage rights on the ballot. He did not return a questionnaire.

NOM is the notoriously anti-gay group National Organization for Marriage that continues to fight against marriage equality in D.C. and is the leading organization in the country fighting equality. Robinson has distanced himself from NOM, and that is to his credit. I made a mistake in drafting this statement that he had accepted a donation from NOM, and we quickly corrected that and Mike DeBonis updated his online story. I'm sorry about that. We do strive for accuracy, and we admitted the mistake and corrected it quickly. Robinson was not rated on that mistake; however, so he only received a -1. Note that Delano Hunter who did receive NOM backing earned a -2.

Robinson's campaign sent out this press release:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Ian Goldstein 410‐340‐7259

Kelvin Robinson Supports Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Equality Law

WASHINGTON, DC—Ward 6 Council Candidate Kelvin Robinson called for an end to skepticism regarding his stance on same‐sex marriage in the District of Columbia. Robinson supports the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Equality law and will not do anything to restrict or repeal it.

“We are a Nation and a City of laws. I respect the District’s marriage equality law and support equal rights for all District residents including our GLBT neighbors,”said Robinson. "I have no intentions of imposing a referendum on this law nor asking the Council to repeal the law."

Robinson's opposition to the language of the marriage bill came during the debate on the bill last year. As a member of the Board of Catholic Charities during that time he did not believe the bill supported adequate religious exemptions. He pushed for a measure similar to the San Francisco same‐sex marriage law, which he supports, in which the Catholic Church continued to work closely with the city. Robinson hoped the District would have been able to reach a similar compromise.

It has also been reported falsely by many in the press that he had accepted campaign contributions from the National Organization of Marriage (NOM). He has not.

“I have not, nor will I, accept funding from the National Organization of Marriage and I resent the interference of any outside organization that attempts to divide our community and meddle in local District politics.”

####

In answering a question on a ballot measure on marriage equality at the DC for Democracy forum when he was still an At-Large candidate, Kelvin Robinson said in part:

"... I believe that we should allow the people to decide those critical issues of the day..."

I think that he was saying that a ballot measure should be—or should have been—held to determine if gay people can marry the person of the same sex. Fortunately, his answer is on video below. Note that only Phil Mendelson got the right answer.


"... I believe that we should allow the people to decide those critical issues of the day..." means holding a referendum on marriage equality, he just wouldn't want the Congress to do it.

The Post's DC Wire blog had this quote on April 14, 2010:
But Robinson said he will not be campaigning against the same-sex marriage bill, even though he's not sure if he would have supported it at the time.

"I would have probably done a different approach, but it's the law of the land and I have no quarrel with it,' Robinson said.

His different approach, stated above, is "a measure similar to the San Francisco same‐sex marriage law, which he supports, in which the Catholic Church continued to work closely with the city. Robinson hoped the District would have been able to reach a similar compromise."

San Francisco has never had a same-sex marriage law. Marriage is a state issue, not a city issue. He may be referring of the San Francisco Catholic Charities decision to provide health benefits to all employees and one other adult in the same household. This is a way that some insurance companies have made dealing with modern family relationships a bit easier on everyone. Unmarried couples, domestic partners, spouses, roommates, and other family members can all be covered without getting into the issues of how they are related or if they have a sexual relationship. Georgetown University does something similar.

There wasn't a San Francisco law or compromise by the city demanding equal benefits. SF Catholic Charities did this on their own to be in compliance with the law without having to consider anyone's relationship status. DC’s Catholic Charities refused to consider that option, which is still open to them, and ended health care benefits for the spouses of all future employees. Consequently they gave up their contract with the District for adoption and foster family screening services to a Baptist group that embraces non-discrimination. It is likely that Robinson simply doesn’t understand San Francisco or District law.

At the Ward 6 Democrats Forum on September 1, 2010—I wasn't there—Club President and Tommy Well's chief of staff, Charles Allen tweeted:
CharlesAllenDC: On marriage equality robinson says he wouldn't have voted for it."
Marriage advocate and ANC Commissioner Ryan Velasco wrote of the same forum:
...when asked if marriage should be between a man and a woman he responded, "I don't know".

Keith Ivey, also at the forum and a member of DC for Democracy and a Wells supporter, tweeted:

kcivey Sounds like @ Kelvin4Council is generally agreeing with Republican @ JimDeMartino #ward6forum , while @ TommyWells takes Dem positions."

Unfortunately that wasn't taped, but clearly Robinson wouldn't have been a Councilmember we could count on. Tommy Wells is quite an advocate of marriage equality. He had even officiated at a wedding of two men.

It is nice that Robinson's campaign's press secretary is backing away from Robinson's earlier statements. I suggest that if Robinson wants to be an adult, he respond to GLAA's questionnaire and fully explain his positions. Until then I don't think that GLAA needs to change it's statement on his rating:

"Democrat Kelvin Robinson earned -1. He was endorsed by NOM when he first ran for the At-Large Council seat. He said at the time that he thought there should be a vote on our right to marry. He refused to say how he would vote. After switching to the Ward 6 race he has not been endorsed again by NOM. He still opposes marriage equality, having recently repeated his call to place same-sex marriage rights on the ballot. He did not return a questionnaire."
A questionnaire response would be nice. Unfortunately for Robinson, it is highly unlikely that he will win the Democratic Primary, and that is good for us.

Comments

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Mr. Summersgill,

Of course the Defeat Poverty DC/Ward 6 Democrats forum was taped. Why on earth would you say it was not?

http://www.youtube.com/user/DefeatPovertyDC#p/a/u/2/RFRxQSf3yE8

Go to 0:52 and watch for yourself what Robinson said. The way you describe it has nothing to do with what Robinson actually said, as seen on the videotape. Robinson explains clearly, in short words that are easy to understand, that he pushed Catholic Charities in DC to follow the lead of Catholic Charities in SF. He then states, in even shorter and easier to understand words, that he supports current law in DC.

For you to state, "It is likely that Robinson simply doesn’t understand San Francisco or District law" is false, and the videotape proves that both things are false: Robinson did not say what you say he said (and what you then surmise, based on your false report of what Robinson said at the forum) is also false. Exactly what words, at what time stamp in the videotape, supports you assertion that Robinson doesn't understand something he obviously is very, very well-versed on?

I also watched the videotape you posted from an old At-Large candidate's forum, and to me, it does not show Robinson saying what you said he said. I think you are being disingenuous and putting words in Robinson's mouth. You have to listen to the complicated hypothetical question then skip ahead to 1:20 to hear Robinson's answer. He is answering that if Congress decides to ram an overturn of gay marriage down our throats, the answer is statehood. You imply he is saying something else, but it's not in the videotape.

The way you summarized the videotape you actually posted yourself is false.

Are you trying to pull the wool over my eyes?

To add to the above poster's comment, GLAA sent their questionnaire to Kelvin's campaign by certified mail to his campaign PO Box. When their was nobody their to sign for it, it was turned right around. The campaign was never made aware that they were being sent this document, had been sent this document and nobody from GLAA ever contacted the campaign (until well after the fact) to discuss the matter. The decision to paint Robinson as a bigot was already made and GLAA wan't going to let little old facts get in the way.

Trulee Pist, I love your drag name! Thanks for sharing the video. Robinson was a terrible choice for Council and I'm thrilled that he lost. He clearly believes that gay people deserve separate and unequal rights. The video makes that unmistakably clear.

Keith, you've been lying trough your teeth on this. GLAA does not need to apologize for a campaign's incompetence to open their mail. Rick Rosendall did email Robinson about the questionnaire, and he was obviously not interested in responding.

The comments to this entry are closed.