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    Thursday, August 18, 2022

    Gay New London and Groton politicians differ on LGBTQ rights

    June 2022 brought one of the most consequential and worrisome Gay Pride Months of my long life.

    June has traditionally been a month of celebration for the LGBTQ community, marking so much progress, at what often seemed like a dizzying pace, as the country, over a relatively short span of years, widely embraced what once seemed unthinkable: gay marriage.

    It still surprises me how normal my marriage to a man now seems to appear to so many we meet.

    But this year, Pride celebrations were marred by terrible violence and hate crimes. Baptist ministers in Idaho and Texas called publicly for the execution of gay people. The threats went viral.

    Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, fresh from his vote to deny women the right to abortion, suggested contraception and gay marriage could be next on the chopping block for settled rights.

    Connecticut Supreme Court Justice Andrew McDonald, a married gay man, called out Thomas for hypocrisy, noting he didn't suggest overturning the court decision that allowed the Black high court justice to marry a white woman. The right to marry is evidently one he'd leave in place for mixed-race couples, while taking it away from gays.

    A wealthy Connecticut contributor to prominent national gay hate crusades has pledged to support the campaign of Connecticut GOP gubernatorial contender Bob Stefanowski, an unsavory pledge the Republican candidate has not disavowed in the many months since it was disclosed.

    Here in southeastern Connecticut, the Groton GOP town chairman picked up the sword of the newest Republican culture wars campaign, to marginalize and scorn transgender people, suggesting in a comment posted recently on theday.com that he is "uncomfortable" about all the "woke" behavior regarding transgender people.

    The comment, incredibly, was posted by Groton GOP town Chairman John Scott, a gay man, who said he thinks gays shouldn't be lumped together any longer with transgender people in the LGBTQ community.

    "I am a gay man who is a Republican. I am even a town chair. I regularly state that LGB folks should part ways with the TQ+ folks as our mutual interests no longer align," Scott wrote.

    In other words, Scott suggests, we gays have achieved what we wanted, gay marriage and housing and employment protections. Good luck to you others in the LGBTQ community as we Republicans throw you to the wolves.

    I guess I shouldn't be surprised at such remarkable selfishness.

    Scott is, after all, the politician who, as a freshman legislator, made his first official act in the General Assembly the introduction of legislation to benefit his insurance business. He was called out, and voters have since rejected him at the polls. Only Groton Republicans have kept him prominent in politics.

    I was very pleased to see former New London Mayor Daryl Justin Finizio call out Scott in the same comment thread on theday.com.

    "I would remind you that the Stonewall uprising was led by drag queens and transgender individuals," Finizio wrote in comments directed at the Groton GOP town chairman.

    "When the police were prepared to haul people like you and me away to prison, these brave souls had the courage to stand up for us," he noted. "With our marriage and employment rights secured, how quick you are to toss them to the side."

    "How convenient it has become for white gay men of means to look the other way as the transgender members of our community find themselves in the crosshairs of ambitious politicians willing to persecute them in order to climb the political ladder ... All people have the right to live their lives in equal dignity, free from government overreach," he wrote.

    Thank you, mayor.

    I feel more sad for Chairman Scott than angry at him.

    He may feel smug now in an exclusive "LGB" community of his own making. But the Republican-engineered Supreme Court is still sharpening its rights-cutting knives.

    They'll be coming for him, too, whether he throws transgender people over the side first or not.

    This is the opinion of David Collins.

    d.collins@theday.com 

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