March 24, 2016 at 5:39 pm EDT | by Michael K. Lavers
U.S. Senate candidate with lesbian daughter opposes marriage

Rich Douglas, gay news, Washington Blade

(Photo courtesy of the Richard Douglas Campaign)

A Republican who is seeking to succeed retiring U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) on Thursday said he opposes marriage rights for same-sex couples, even though he has a lesbian daughter.

“I have a lesbian daughter,” said Richard Douglas during a debate on WBFF in Baltimore, according to the Washington Post. “I love my daughter, I want no harm to come to her, but our traditions matter and tolerance is a two-way street.”

The Washington Post reported that Douglas said he “didn’t celebrate” the extension of marriage rights for same-sex couples in Maryland in 2012.

“I didn’t agree with the result,” he said, according to the Washington Post.

Douglas is running against Chrysovalantis Kefalas, state Del. Kathy Szeliga (R-Baltimore and Harford Counties) and Anthony Seda in the April 26 Republican primary.

The Washington Post reported that Kefalas, who is gay and former Maryland Gov. Bob Ehrlich’s legal counsel, said in response to Douglas’ comments that marriage rights for same-sex couples is “an issue of individual liberty, equality and dignity.”

“This was a divisive issue in the past,” said Szeliga, according to the Washington Post. “But it’s definitely been settled. What Marylanders care about now are taxes, jobs and the economy.”

Bowie City Councilman Michael Estève, who founded the Maryland chapter of the Log Cabin Republicans, on Thursday told the Washington Blade that he gives Douglas “credit that he talks openly and proudly about his daughter.”

“Maryland has voted and its time to move past the gay marriage issue,” said Estève, who pointed out that he supports Kefalas.

Larry Jacobs, chair of the Equality Maryland board of directors, was far more critical of Douglas.

“I feel for his daughter,” Jacobs told the Blade. “While I agree that traditions matter, it is sad that he puts them ahead of the needs of his own family. If he were my father, I would disown him. So should the voters of Maryland.”

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

  • It’s shame that poor young woman has a father who is incapable of loving her unconditionally.

    Requiring his child to conform to his beliefs is a form of child abuse.

  • Bigots prefer to cling to their hatred than progress with the rest of society.

  • “I love my daughter, I want no harm to come to her, but our traditions matter and tolerance is a two-way street.”

    Not sure how preventing gay couples from being able to marry is a “two-way street”. As for your traditions, they don’t apply to civil marriage at city hall. Non-religious citizens have a right to get married. There are also churches that support marriage equality. How about tolerating their beliefs? Yeah, I’m thinking you don’t have the foggiest idea what the meaning of two-way street is, you bigoted hate-monger.

    • Well said! The highest law of the land is the Constitution of the United States, not the Bible, the Torah, the Qu’ran, the Vedas, the Sutras, or the Tibetan Book of the Dead. This is made absolutely clear by Paragraph 2 of Article VI of the Constitution (the Supremacy Clause), which commands that the Constitution of the United States supercedes all state statutes and constitutional provisions to the contrary. The Article III courts are granted the explicit right to judicial review (see Article III of the US Constitution), and the US Supreme Court is the final arbiter of US constitutional law and US statutes (see Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. 137 (1803)).


  • How this man looks at his reflection in the mirror when he shaves in the mornings is completely beyond me. The voters of Maryland spoke, via the referendum process (i.e., direct democracy) to extend equal marriage rights to gay persons in Maryland in 2012 (three years before the US Supreme Court extended marriage equality to all 50 states in Obergefell v. Hodges, 576 U.S. ___ (2015)) (also in 2012, the voters of the states of Maine and Washington voted to extend marriage rights to their gay citizens via the referendum process). This is a simple matter of justice — a simple matter of equality. For a father to declare that “tolerance is a two way street” whilst speaking out against the extension of EQUALITY to his own daughter is the height of hubris and arrogance.

    Why is it that almost invariably, those politicians who are opposed to marriage equality are Republicans? The GOP used to be the party which was diametrically opposed to slavery, Jim Crow, and other manifestations of bigotry. Today, however, the GOP remains the last bastions of the bigots.

    I wonder how this man will explain his position to his daughter (and to his grandchildren) in the years ahead. A solid majority of at least 60% of the American people now back marriage equality (according to Gallup and Pew Research polls conducted in the weeks before Obergefell was handed down).


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