For the first time since his election in 2010, Comptroller Kevin Lembo is playing a political role as the first openly gay statewide official in Connecticut, urging the Democratic National Committee to take a stand against North Carolina’s ban on gay marriage.
North Carolina’s adoption by referendum of a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage creates an awkward situation for Democrats, who are holding their national convention in Charlotte, N.C.
“I am one of a handful of LGBT people across the country ever to be elected statewide,” Lembo wrote Wednesday in a letter to U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the Democrats’ national chairwoman.
North Carolina’s vote was an affront to equal rights, he wrote. It may be logistically impossible to move the convention that will nominate President Obama to a second term, but the party must have “a conversation.”
Lembo’s letter came on the same day that President Obama announced his support of same-sex marriage, the first U.S. president to do so.
In an interview at the state Capitol, Lembo acknowledged that his sexual orientation was a non-issue during his campaign. In fact, in his letter he says that Connecticut voters “shrugged” over his status as the first gay official.
But he felt compelled to speak out on the Democrats’ holding a convention in a state that is discriminating against gays. He said he hopes that the delegates can address the issue during their four-day convention in September.
“This may actually be an amazing opportunity,” he said.