Mallahan urges support for R-71 gay domestic partnership measure
Seattle mayoral candidate Joe Mallahan — who took some heat during the primaries over T-Mobile’s low ranking by a gay rights organization – emailed supporters Thursday morning urging Seattle voter to approve Referendum 71, which would domestic partnership benefits to gays.
The email came after the referendum campaign released polling data that indicated a tough fight for the ballot measure in November.
In July, The Stranger reported:
The Human Rights Campaign gave Bellevue-based T-Mobile the lowest ratings in Washington in its Corporate Equality Index in 2008 (.pdf; the company didn’t get a review in the 2009 survey). Out of a 100 total score for LGBT-friendly practices, T-Mobile scored only 50 points on the report card, also making it the lowest ranked telecommunications company in the survey. In contrast, those monsters at AT&T, Sprint, and Motorola all got 100 points.
The Stranger quoted Mallahan campaign spokeswoman Charla Neuman as saying that Mallahan, a T-Mobile executive, “would be shocked” by the news. She notes that Mallahan supports gay marriage, adores his lesbian neighbors, and marched in the gay pride parade. “He never had any hesitation to support the LGBT community. The fact that T-mobile is so low on the list will be news to him,” says Neuman.
However, Mallahan’s email noted:
Seattle’s LGBT community has honored me with their highest ranking(5 straight A’s) in the mayoral campaign and their support helped me win the primary. Now, I am here to urge Seattle voters to approve
Referendum 71. Taking away family protections are not my values and I know they aren’t your values either. That’s why I am asking you to join me in approving Referendum 71.
He included a video urging Seattleites to register to vote, to turn out the vote and to donate to the Approve 71 campaign.
“We need to spread the word that this will be a tough fight. We need to get out the Seattle vote to show that Washington is a place that treats all families fairly and equally,” he said in the email.
Mallahan’s opponent, Mike McGinn, ranked only a B in three categories, as judged by the LGBT group, the Seattle Metropolitan Electrons committee. Mallahan ranked higher on age and gender, awareness, and health and safety.
Mallahan says in the video, “I’m taking a break from the campaign trail to urge Seattle voters to approve Referendum 71,” and the email says Mallahan, and not his campaign, paid for the video to comply with campaign law.
However, the move could also reap Mallahan’s candidacy benefits. He entered even the general election as somewhat of an unknown, trying to rid himself of political baggage and to portray himself as a progressive.
It‘s not the only time Mallahan has apparently put behind him questions raised about T-Mobile‘s practices. He was also criticized over allegations the company thwarted an attempt to organize workers. Last week, however, he was endorsed by the Washington State Labor Council.