Ravenstahl to meet with Pgh gays on election eve

It would seem that Luke's people realized what a huge gaffe he made last week by saying he does not favor civil unions.  Thus, he has scheduled a meeting with representatives from the Steel City Stonewall Democrats at 2:30 PM Monday.  To clarify. 

Apparently, Luke has stated that he doesn't know what a civil union is. 

The Mayor of Pittsburgh  — a Democrat under the age of 40 — does not know what a civil union is. 

That is so blissfully ridiculous that there's simply no need for further comment.

Luke led the Stonewall Democrats on a merry chase during the primary, trying to choke out as much gay campaign money as possible without actually turning in his questionnaire.  He does not have their endorsement. 

I honestly think that he believes showing up at a few gay bars and PrideFest will trick us into thinking he's a gay ally.  He honestly believes we are that gullible and naive. 

Here's a question  — why would Luke want to appease local homos in the 24 hours prior to his election?  If its in the bag, who cares what we think until 2009, right?   Hmmm …


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  • Luke blew off the Steel City Stonewall Democrats reception Saturday afternoon in Shadyside with Barney Frank. More than 150 people were there, including Congressman Mike Doyle, Dan Onorato, Councy Council President Rich Fitzgerald, State Rep. Dan Frankel, Recorder of Deeds Valerie McDonald Roberts, Councilman Doug Shields, Councilman elect Bruce Kraus. Loads of judges. Local GLBT leaders were there too, including Billy Hileman and Amelia — the Pitt prof recently featured in City Paper.
    So why would Luke miss this chance to clarify his position, in favor of a private meeting with guests hand-selected by some handler?

  • Perhaps, just perhaps this is about learning about the LGBT community.
    Perhaps a catholic boy does not know the difference between gay marriage and civil union.
    Perhaps just perhaps he does want to help our community, and I do not mean by granting street permits.
    If Luke is elected do you know think this is a step in the right direction?

  • I respect that you want to give him the benefit of the doubt, but I believe you are making a grave error. There is simply no credibility for a 27 year old college educated elected Democratic official to claim he doesn't know what a civil union is.
    At best, it means he's not paying attention to significant political debates. It was only 18 months ago when Pennsylvania was battling over a charge to amend the PA constitution to define marriage as between a man and woman AND to prevent civil unions. That was a huge debate and received an incredible amount of media attention in Pittsburgh. Do you expect me to believe he wasn't aware of the fracas? That's only believable if he gets his news from the Catholic Paper and even they covered it.
    There's also the issue that Luke's City Council district has a significant concentration of gay residents, many of whom are very vocal and politically active.
    I think, for once, Luke was telling the truth. He is opposed to legalizing gay relationships. Maybe because he's Catholic, maybe because he's a true social conservative. Maybe because he doesn't understand the issue.
    None of those is an acceptable position for the Mayor of Pittsburgh.
    I respectfully challenge you to lay out some concrete ways Luke wants to help our community. Even lay out some concrete ways you think he might consider to help our community.

  • I will be able to answer these questions after the meeting.
    I do truly believe these are not important issues to him because they are not important issues to the city of Pittsburgh. We (you and I and the rest of the LGBT community) think they are highly important because they pertain to us. I do not see the city as a whole, together on LGBT issues. The LGBT community needs to bring it to his and the cities attention. That is what this meeting is about. Whether we trust him or not I see this as an opportunity to show him we are here and a very important part of this city. You asked if the election is in the bag why is he trying to appease us. I ask you that same question back. I do think he is going to be elected and I think now is the time to talk to him about OUR issues. I also beleive there is no excuse, and i am not excusing him, however i feel it is what we are dealing with and now is the time to correct it.

  • With all due respect, I'm troubled that you are on the board of the gay Dems and state publicly that our issues are not important to the City of Pittsburgh. Gay marriage and civil unions are litmus test issues.
    And I have to say that you are wrong. My partner is a City employee so there are very practical ways in which the Mayor's attitude and understanding of gay issues impact our lives. My health insurance, her work conditions, our pensions … those are very important to me and to many Pittsburgh employees who are gay.
    I also think your sweeping statements about bringing issues to his attention does a great disservice to the very hard work of many dozens of people over the past years who have labored relentlessly to educate Pittsburgh elected officials on our issues.
    Steel City and Gertrude Stein in particular tried to talk with Luke vis a vis the questionnaire outlining our issues throughout the Spring. He was not responsive back then when he could have garnered active support.
    The polls show that most people are in favor of civil unions and domestic partner benefits. Most people think gays should have protections in the workplace, serve in the military and be protected from hate crimes. Most people think these are nonissues b/c they see gays as human beings who deserve basic civil rights. They, however, are the nonvocal majority.
    Luke sent a surrogate to the ACDC LGBT forum which also very explicity outlined our issues, both local and national. It was very explicit so again I think he has no excuse to claim he doesn't understand the issues. He simply wasn't paying attention — at best. Here's my blow by blow coverage of how explicit the questions were with regard to life in the City of Pittsburgh for the gay community. http://www.pghlesbian.com/blog/_archives/2007/4/30/2916864.html#comments
    I wish you luck, but I remained highly skeptical that Luke will do anything but make brash promises. Let's chat again in 12 months and see what's been achieved for Pittsburgh queers.
    As to why the meeting? I think he's a little worried and has his eye on gay money for the 2009 war chest. A last minute meeting is a wonderful stroke.

  • First of all your worries about me on the stonewall Dems can be at rest I am not a member however have been invited to the meeting.
    Secondly, I call it as I see it, neither of the candidates have OUR interest posted on their website, the only time it was discussed publicly with Desantis was at the debate.
    Before the debate did you ever think he would have been a gay advocate? Seriously? Again, I do understand the importance of these issues, and of course I surround myself with others straight or gay who believe the same as. As you said the polls show support but, let’s take a look at the voters in Pittsburgh, LGBT issues are not on the top of their list of reasons to vote. If that were the case then surely Luke would loose. I see it as OUR job to make it a priority for the people of the city .We are never going to win this war overnight, it takes time and education and tolerance on both sides of the table. I do not have all of the answers, that is why I agreed to attend the meeting. I am giving him the benefit of the doubt until I hear it from him directly.

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