Washington, DC – Today LGBTQ Victory Fund, the only national organization dedicated to electing LGBTQ leaders to public office, condemned a homophobic statement released by Holyoke Councilmember Mike Sullivan that attacks openly gay mayor and Congressional candidate Alex Morse. In the statement, Sullivan repeatedly accuses Morse of “sexual activities with teenagers” despite no allegations he had relationships with people underage. Victory Fund believes the use of the word “teenagers” is meant to purposely evoke homophobic stereotypes of gay men as pedophiles.
Sullivan’s statement – which can be read in its entirety here – follows vague and anonymous allegations by Massachusetts College Democrats that Morse had relationships with college students and that some felt “uncomfortable” because he was mayor of Holyoke and a professor. Morse is 31 years old. The motivations of those who released the letter are being questioned.
Sullivan’s statement calls on Morse to resign as mayor and three councilmembers said they will vote to support a recall petition: Councilmembers David Bartley, Howard Greaney Jr. and Linda Vacon. Bartley has endorsed Morse’s Congressional opponent U.S. Rep. Richard Neal and Vacon is a Republican.
Sean Meloy, Senior Political Director for LGBTQ Victory Fund, said the following about Sullivan’s statement:
“Councilmember Sullivan’s statement is a blatant attempt to mislead voters and appeal to homophobic stereotypes about gay men as pedophiles – and it must be retracted and condemned. He repeatedly refers to ‘sexual activities with teenagers’ knowing full well the word ‘teenagers’ evokes images of middle and high school students – not college students – and that there are no allegations from anyone underage. The architects of these efforts knew this is where the conversation would lead – with no regard for the homophobia it would unleash.
“It is unsurprising that a councilmember who refers to people who are homeless as ‘animals’ would also use homophobia as a political weapon to mislead voters. But we hope Councilmembers Bartley, Greaney and Vacon recognize the homophobic dog whistles for what they are and retract their support for his efforts. The tone of Councilmember Sullivan’s statement shows an animosity and viciousness that extends well beyond the recent allegations. The councilmembers supporting Sullivan must ask themselves whether he would treat a straight candidate the same way.”
LGBTQ Victory Fund
LGBTQ Victory Fund works to change the face and voice of America’s politics and achieve equality for LGBTQ Americans by increasing the number of openly LGBTQ elected officials at all levels of government.