Even earlier that morning, finishing up a bike ride, I ran into (almost literally) former SB Chair Gerry Weiss and pitched the idea face to face. When I got home two minutes later I emailed the entire Select Board.
From a PR perspective I can see Princess Stephanie’s point (play-it-safe, keep silent), as back when she actually worked for a living as a flak in the Detroit car industry (obviously W-A-Y back in the good old days) you let a negative lie low (or is it lay?) and blow over. Don’t address it because it simply feeds the news cycle. But my theory is that Stan’s being gay is not a negative
And today’s crusty Daily Hampshire Gazette editorial demonstrates (better late than never)they agree with me: What Stan did was pretty damn courageous and should be publicly applauded; while what the Amherst Select Board did was pretty damn cowardly.
Of course the little old Gazette is happy Stan Rosenberg did it on their editorial page rather than their competition the BIG city Springfield Republican. Although I couldn’t help note that when the AP picked up the story they did so from the Springfield Republican's article a few days later and not the Gazette.
Today's Gazette editorial:
Worth noting: Sen. Rosenberg's news
We have to admire the courage of convictions, no matter what they are or how they are demonstrated. It is why State Sen. Stan Rosenberg's disclosure that he is gay generated a bit of news, after it appeared as a brief mention in a guest column on this page.
We live in a time when, right or wrong, we want to know about our elected leaders' private lives, as well as their public pronouncements. Rosenberg, 59, the Amherst Democrat, widely known as a hard worker, good listener and a consensus builder, is not one to speak in sound bites. He didn't do that this time either.
His 750-word column published July 4th spoke to the historical reasons Massachusetts is considered in the vanguard when it comes to tolerance, equal rights and social justice. Halfway through, he offered this insight into how his own political views were shaped: "As a foster child growing up as a ward of the state, as a gay man, as a Jew, I understand what it's like to be cast as ¿the other.' "
It made perfect sense that he would include these pieces of information about who he is to explain a belief system he holds dear.
Perhaps to explain why he has never come out as a gay man before, Rosenberg said he doesn't practice "identity politics" - and indeed the fact that he is gay, Jewish, and was a foster child, does not make him a spokesman for the gay community, the Jewish community or adopted people.
It does, however, make him sensitive to their issues. That's not identity politics, that is simply letting all of who you are guide you in the opinions you hold and the decisions you make.
It is also letting the public you serve know you more fully.
Since the column was published, Rosenberg has declined requests for interviews. Since he does not practice identity politics, we suspect he does not want his hard work on policy and legislation to get derailed by this news.
It is his choice to make such a statement and then move on, especially considering that the only reaction to the column and the news from his constituents has been positive. That may well be because Stan Rosenberg has a distinguished political career of 22 years on Beacon Hill. He served in the state House of Representatives from 1987 to 1991; and in the Senate since then. People see him doing the job they elected him for, and that's what counts.
So, bravo, Stan Rosenberg, for making this announcement and doing it in the way that felt right to you. Your constituents are glad to get to know you a little better.-----Original Message-----
Sent: Wed, Jul 8, 2009 10:45 am
Subject: A vote of support for you know who.
I hope the Select Board will take a moment at tonight's meeting to remind the general public that the town of Amherst is an "equal opportunity employer" and does not discriminate based on race, creed, color, religion, gender, transgender, sexual persuasion or political affiliation (although the last one I'm not so sure about.)