A Republican former Navy SEAL seeking a U.S. Senate seat in a Massachusetts special election is set to make an appearance at Boston Pride after receiving an endorsement by a national gay conservative group.
Jimmy LaSalvia, executive director of GOProud, told the Washington Blade on Friday following news of his organization’s endorsement of Gabriel Gomez that the candidate would appear at his booth for the Boston Pride celebration. Will Ritter, a Gomez spokesperson, confirmed the candidate would be there.
“I certainly encourage all of our folks across the country to contribute to the Gomez campaign,” LaSalvia said. “I also encourage the LGBT community in Massachusetts to come out to meet Gabriel at his booth at the Boston Pride Festival tomorrow afternoon.”
Gomez is running against Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) for U.S. Senate seat in a special election set for June 25 to succeed John Kerry, who left the Senate to become Secretary of State.
According to LaSalvia, GOProud’s board decided by voice vote earlier this week to endorse the candidate. The announcement was made on Friday.
“Gabriel Gomez brings not only a rich and varied record of personal and professional accomplishment to the race, he also represents an opportunity to elect a new generation of Republican to bring real leadership to the Senate,” LaSalvia said in a statement.
Gomez, who after leaving the military became a private equity investor, said he welcomed GOProud’s support in a statement provided by the organization and said he supports same-sex marriage.
“I continue to be energized by the support I’m receiving from voters as I campaign hard throughout the Commonwealth,” Gomez said. “I don’t believe in discrimination of any kind. If two people love each other, they should be able to get married, it’s that simple. This endorsement from GOProud only amplifies the diversity of voices I plan to represent and champion in the Senate.”
In a March primary debate, Gomez articulated support for same-sex marriage while saying he supports repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act. But on California’s Proposition 8, Gomez said marriage is a state issue and while he doesn’t agree with the measure, “you need to respect what the states decide on a state-by-state issue.”
GOProud board member and Boston resident Dennis Duquette also had praise for Gomez in the same statement while taking a jab at the Democratic candidate.
“Gabriel Gomez’s commitment to work with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to reach common-sense, innovative solutions to the challenges we face as a nation stands in stark contrast to Ed Markey’s record of party-line voting for bad policy these last 37 years,” Duquette said.
The second-longest serving member of Congress from New England, Markey has a long record of pro-LGBT votes. He was among 67 U.S. House members in 1996 to vote against DOMA. More recently, he voted for hate crimes protections and “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal.
Markey’s campaign didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on whether the congressman would make an appearance at Boston Pride.