Update 4/13/2010: New video added to page of Lynn Griffen speaking on behalf of Jack Wagner

Here are video clips of Dan and Joe, each speaking to the Steel City Stonewall Democrats meeting, March 28, 2010, Pittsburgh PA. They spoke in alphabetical order. I did tape the woman who spoke for Jack Wagner, but I’m not posting it as the race is really between these two candidates. Some comments follow.





Joe Hoeffel has been a strong supporter of LGBT and other progressive issues for a long time, however, in his presentation or his conversation with me, he didn’t identify a single instance where he was a leader on these issues. Not a single bill that he was the sponsor, or where he had to show leadership to get something passed. In the video, he mentions how Montgomery County has Domestic Partnership benefits for county employees, but fails to mention that this was enacted when he was not the commissioner. He had advocated for it when he was commissioner, and then it was passed under someone else’s leadership.

Dan Onorato points out that this election will be about jobs and the economy (no matter how a small group of LGBTs present wish it were an election about marriage equality) and he illustrated his role in turning the county around from being in horrific shape to being a bright example of progress in these tough economic times. Dan can match Joe point by point when it comes to the large bills facing the PA legislature that impact the LGBT community such as HB 300  (non-discrimination) and HB 745 (Hate Crimes). They differ, when it comes to Marriage Equality. Dan favors Domestic Partnerships and Civil Unions. He said he would look into the states DOMA, but he does not support Same-sex marriage at this time.

So, do we want a governor who has a great voting record on progressive issues which shows he goes along with the progressive caucus, or do we want a person who can illustrate his leadership in economic as well as social issues? For me, it is a no-brainer. We need a governor who can win, beating a far right contender like Tom Corbett, and can move the state ahead  on all fronts through proven leadership.

Note to Emma-

A person commented on my blog yesterday, claiming I was being “intellectually dishonest.” She cited two things, so I don’t know if she felt one or both were dishonest, however neither were.

I wrote:

Someone yelled out “Get Out” at Dan when he was talking about how he supports Domestic Partnerships and Civil Unions.

Emma wrote:

The outburst–indeed rude and uncalled for–was actually when Dan was telling us how he doesn’t support marriage equality.

As the video demonstrates, I was factually true- in terms of what Dan said. Upon listening to it again, I believe the Tea Party crazie may have said “Go away” instead of “Get out.” I will talk further about Emma’s other point further in another blog post.


  1. Patruckerbear says:

    you know i am a gay male and i do have a partner and we both agree that the gay commuity is just trying to go for marriage you know i say let the str8 have that word LETS JUST GO FOR CIVIL UNION AND EQUAL PARTNERS BENIFITS mayb then we could get something done so get over the word MARRIAGE because im really getting to hate it.

    • Thanks for your comment. A case can really be made for that approach! The downside to it is that there are no inter-state protections for domestic partnerships or civil unions. A couple who has a DP in one state would still have no rights in other states, so it will take more than simply securing these types of legal relationships, but it does avoid the pitfalls and obstacles that come from the word Marriage.

  2. tcwaters says:

    Thanks for your comment! I agree that any elected official has to do more than focus exclusively on the economy, but let's get real=- things are a mess and the next governor will have to work pretty hard to get the state in better shape.

    For the record, Dan Onorato supports Civil Unions and Domestic Partnerships.

    But there is a broader point that needs to be made here. PA will not either pass or hinder same-sex marriage because of the views of the next governor. We are a state that can't pass basic non-discrimination for the state, and where many conservative Dems in the House do not want leadership to bring Hate-crimes legislation to a vote.

    If the LGBT community in PA want LGBT rights in this state, we need to get started immediately meeting with our elected officials and get them moving on the several house bills currently stalled. We need to pick up 3-5 co-sponsores on HB 745 (Hate-crimes) and 3-5 co-sponsors for HB 300 (non-discrimination). We need to add 15 co-sponsors to SB 735 (I hope I have that number correct) the same-sex marriage bill that is in the state Senate. THESE types of actions are going to get LGBT rights moving in PA, and not the election of one democrat over another for governor

  3. tcwaters says:

    Thanks for taking the time to post a comment to the blog. I believe a primary election allows all voters a chance to vote for the candidate of their choice, and I believe if you read my blog on any regularity, you will see that I have always encouraged people to votes as they see fit.

    I also have never suggested that anyone vote for someone because of the amount of money they have. I believe I did suggest that people consider who has the ability to beat Tom Corbett in the Fall, but that really isn't based on the amount of money, rather it is based on the polling which demonstrates that of all the Democrat candidates, Onorato has the best chance at beating Tom Corbett.

    I don't really believe that Onorato's campaign money has much to do with how well he is doing in the polls. Anthony Williams has spent as much or more than Onorato and yet he is still 20+ points behind him. I think Onorato's message is getting through to voters state-wide, and that is why he has such a lead.

    I think it is a weak argument to suggest that a voting record 11+ years ago details who a politician is today, especially in terms of LGBT issues. And the reality is that Allegheny County would not have a non-discrimination ordinance and a human relations commission without his very active involvement.

    As for donations, it is true that Range Resources has given money to the two front-runners – the front-runner in each party.

    If you read my blog, I make no bones about it that Dan Onorato is not as progressive as Joe Hoeffel. I don't believe Onorato has ever suggested that he is super progressive. I believe what he has done is run on his real record. Voters in the primary are free to vote for him or not.

    Again, thanks for adding to the dialogue!

  4. Dana Elmendorf says:

    I think it is important to look at past voting records for sure, but it is also important to look at how voting records change as a person's understanding and embrace of lgbt equality can change. Onorato actually had long discussions and asked many good and thoughtful questions that led to his full embrace of sexual orientation, gender identity and expression in the 2010 county human relations ordinance. There was strong pressure to drop gender identity and expression from the ordinance by people who said if we did, then maybe they would consider it. Onorato didn't back down, asked alot of good and meaningful questions about the needs of transgender people, and came out in full support of a fully inclusive ordinance that has offered protections to alot of people and created a foundation for state-wide discrimination protections. He fought alongside of us on that one and I am unsure why his courage is being overlooked.

    I realize people think it may have been political game playing to support an ordinance but if that's all it was, he didn't need to fight with us to make it fully inclusive, yet he did. He could have just given a crumb with an ordinance that addressed the L and G but not the T. I also noticed the kinds of questions he asked and as a teacher could see he was thinking.

    People can change, their thinking can evolve, and I am hoping that at least his vote and willingness to fight hard with us and for us is made note of. He took alot of heat for supporting the county ordinance yet didn't back down and even helped us win the vote. We really didn't think we were going to win it, even a few hours before the vote happened it looked like we'd lose, but Onorato seriously stepped up to the plate. We could not have won it without his help, period.If we had lost that vote, the consequences on moving on to state protections would have been significantly blocked. Cosnervatives would have been emboldened with an LGBT loss in Allegheny COunty. I appreciate what he did and has come out stating publicly he is willing to do per Hate Crimes, ANti-Bullying and Non-Discrim protections on a state level.

  5. kate4today says:

    I remember Dan Onorato as an openly anti-gay member of Pittsburgh city council in and I beleive that Dan does not have the heart to work for gay issues.

    His actual previous votes on gay issues in Pittsburgh City Council:

    1. Onorato voted NO on health benefits for nonunion city employess. Dan's reason for voting NO: ” It would hurt the city financially because “eventually” it would open up benefits for people who just lived with the gay employee” (the same reasoning some people use today.).

    2. Onorato was the SOLE vote AGAINST adding the term 'sexual orientation' to the human relations ordinance.
    Dan said that he has not SEEN any EVIDENCE that being transgendered people as a group have suffered financially or have been held back.”

    I will not vote for DAN because it has the most money to compete against Corbett.

    “I will vote for the candidate that believes that I am an equal citizen of the United States and that I have the right to marriage like anyone else in this country.

    To suggest that I would vote any other way makes me cringe.


    The corporations are contributing to both the Onorato and Corbett campaigns and it is the corporate establishment who created these 2 front runners. Business as usual.

    Maybe, elections are decided before people like me even get to vote.

    And, where do Corbett and Onorato get their from corporate donations from?
    Each candidate accepted contributions from an corporation in the gas drilling business.

    “Range Resources Energy Independence PAC” has donated to to both campaigns.

    Range Resources, with drilling rights to more than 1.4 million acres, is one of the biggest natural gas players in Pennsylvania and…will be more profitable so long as the Legislature and the GOVERNOR are unable, or unwilling, to impose a tax on the extraction of gas.

    Joe Hoeffel is accepting funds from only small donors. His campaign is a grassroots mostly volunteer campaign, and, as far as I know, is not indebted to Range Resource Industries.
    And he has a RECORD of progressive voting.

    No brainer for me – I vote for the guy who is not bought by corporate interests.

    What nerve Onorato has facing the LGBT community with with “SO-SO newly found gay rights stance!

  6. I'm tired of every politician saying they're going to concentrate mainly on the economy and jobs. It's been like that for the past many years. Yes, you should concentrate on those, but it doesn't mean you should completely overlook civil unions. If we followed this “focus on economy” concentration only, every governor for many many years to come will ignore other issues, like gay marriage and/or unions.

  7. Bram, this is just plain silly. A lack of common courtesy is not an “on-topic outburst.” Even Emma called it “uncalled for.” This has nothing at all to do with any queen's rules (there has to be some gay joke in there somewhere) Democracy lives and thrives when all opinions and perspectives are respected. Yelling out is by nature inappropriate. We were there to listen to each speaker present what she or he had to present. Telling someone to “get out” because you don't like there position is unacceptable, and more fitting for a Tea Party environment, than a meaningful gathering of engaged persons.

    The question was, would Dan repeal the states DOMA, to which he admitted that his position is not the same as everyone in the room (a respectful thing to say) but that he supports domestic partnerships and civil unions. He may have finished out his sentence if he hadn't been cut off so rudely.

    Someone saying “Get out,” to an invited speaker because they don't like his honest answer to a question is “Welcome to America?” That is really sad.

  8. The “then get out” comment definitely came in response to query about marriage equality.

    One short, sharp, on-topic outburst from the audience does not a tea party or tea-partier make. Welcome to America. We don't always use the Queen's rules.

  9. Fair assessment! Thanks for adding your comment to the blog. I think in the context of that meeting only, Wagner isn't really in the running, but in the race overall, you make a good point. Thx!

  10. How could you possibly say the race is only between Onorato and Hoeffel? Wagner has more money, stronger support, and better polling numbers than Hoeffel. Wagner also has beaten up on Dan in almost every county endorsement.