Earlier this month, State Sen. Bob Duff of Norwalk made statements that offended me and many other Connecticut residents who are fed up with divisive Washington-style electioneering that’s ripping apart this country.
Duff, Democrat majority leader at the statehouse, said Republicans are “anti-gay” if they aren’t supporting Gov. Dannel Malloy’s nominee for Chief Justice of the state’s Supreme Court.
Of course, Senator Duff, when pressed by the moderator of the television show he was on, refused to name a single Republican who he’d tag with his “anti-gay” moniker.
For those who follow the legislature closely, it’s standard practice from Senator Duff: when a subject of some importance pops up, he poisons the well of public opinion by spewing inaccuracies that deflect attention from his weak position.
Most people in my neck of the woods know that I’m an openly gay Republican, and that I was the first openly gay Republican state representative.
During my time serving Groton and Ledyard in Hartford, I had differences of opinion with colleagues from both sides of the aisle but respected their ideas as they did mine. No one, Democrat or Republican, treated me any different because of my sexual orientation.
Simply put, Senator Duff’s half-baked comments on WFSB’s Face the State paint a wildly inaccurate portrait of the legislative environment and process. I know Republicans found his posturing insulting, and he left many common sense Democrats blushing too.
Republican concerns over Justice Andrew McDonald’s appointment have been factual, focused on issues such his failure to recuse himself as a judge as he tackled issues tied to the abolishment of the death penalty -— a topic he passionately pursued as a state senator and later as Gov. Malloy’s legal counsel. A handful of Democrats in the House voted against Justice McDonald’s confirmation —- will Senator Duff brand them “anti-gay”?
So far, it’s been crickets.
Connecticut has tremendous problems -— particularly budget deficits driven by Senator Duff.
These big problems require bipartisan solutions, yet how can Connecticut residents, and those from Norwalk, expect Senator Duff to work well with elected officials he’s branded as homophobes? Perhaps he’s made the decision to be a full-time agitator rather than a legislator.
John Scott is a former State Representative for and candidate for election to the 40th District – Groton and Ledyard.