Online Extra: Wedding Bell Blues: Anti-gay Pugno faces fellow GOPer in Assembly contest
by Seth Hemmelgarn
Andy Pugno, the author of California's Proposition 8 same-sex marriage ban, will face off against Assemblywoman Beth Gaines (R-Roseville) in November for the District 6 seat.
Pugno came out ahead of Democratic contender Regy Bronner by about 800 votes. The state's new "top-two" rule allows the June 5 primary's two top vote getters to run against each other in the general election even if they're in the same party.
The contenders appear set after Placer County elections workers announced their final unofficial figures Friday, June 22. The secretary of state's website hadn't been updated to reflect the changes as of Monday afternoon, June 25. The site still showed Bronner ahead of Pugno.
As the Sacramento Bee first reported Friday, Bronner had been 95 votes ahead of Pugno, but the Republican garnered just over 800 votes from Placer County's final figures, putting him over the top. District 6 also includes voters from El Dorado and Sacramento counties.
Altogether, tallies show Gaines with 38,927 votes, or 37.11 percent; Pugno with 33,382 votes, or 31.82 percent; and Bronner with 32,573, or 31.05 percent, according to Bronner's website.
Mario Guerrero, the out president of the Stonewall Democratic Club of Greater Sacramento, indicated a Pugno victory would be bad news for people throughout the state.
"I think Andy Pugno represents someone who is not only anti-LGBT, but he's just a huge anti-progressive person," Guerrero said in an interview. The LGBT-focused organization isn't the only one worried about Pugno.
"Many groups see a potential Assemblymember Pugno as one of the worst things that can happen for the Assembly," he said.
The statewide LGBT lobbying group Equality California gave Gaines 0 percent on its 2011 legislative scorecard, but Guerrero said that she would be "the lesser of two evils" compared to Pugno. He said that Pugno is even more "virulently anti-LGBT" than Gaines.
Guerrero, who lives in Sacramento but outside of District 6, which was formed due to redistricting, said that everyone needs to be aware of Pugno "basically being credited for being the mastermind behind Prop 8."
He said it's not that people should support Gaines, but they should speak out against Pugno's anti-LGBT stances.
Through the Perry v. Brown lawsuit, the same-sex marriage ban has been ruled unconstitutional by a lower court and the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and is expected to reach the U.S. Supreme Court.
Pugno, who lost a previous bid for the Assembly two years ago, wasn't available for comment for this story. A spokesman for the Gaines campaign didn't respond to an interview request.
The results were "a disappointment, obviously, to all of us," Allan Brauer, social media director for Bronner's campaign, said.
Final tallies won't be certified until July 13.
National Hispanic group votes in favor of same-sex marriage
The National Council of La Raza Board of Directors has voted unanimously in favor of their director's statement supporting marriage equality. The group's move follows the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People joining same-sex marriage supporters in May.
President Barack Obama announced his support for marriage equality in a nationally televised interview May 9.
That same day, NCLR President and CEO Janet Murguia issued a statement applauding Obama's stance.
"Ensuring fairness and equality while protecting people from discrimination is at the heart of NCLR's mission," Murguia stated. "Like other Americans, Latinos have shifted their views on LGBT issues in recent years. Acceptance and support for loving couples to have the right to marry is now shared by a majority of Latinos.
The NCLR statement pointed to a report the organization co-released in April that showed more than half of the Hispanics surveyed supported allowing same-sex couples to marry.
In an interview, NCLR spokesman Eric Rodriguez said that, as first reported by the Washington Blade on Friday, his group's board voted unanimously June 9 to affirm Murguia's statement.
"The board wanted to support her, but also state for themselves they in fact believe this is very consistent with NCLR's mission," Rodriguez said.
He said the board also instructed the organization's staff "to go even further in fighting to end marriage discrimination in the states."
Rodriguez said, "We're working with many allies across the country to highlight the issues facing primarily Latinos that are LGBT," through sharing their stories and supportive legislative agendas, among other means.
He declined to share the board's resolution, saying it's "confidential."
Wedding Bell Blues is an online column looking at various issues related to the marriage equality fight in California and elsewhere. Please send column ideas or tips to Seth Hemmelgarn at or call (415) 861-5019. Wedding Bell Blues appears every other Tuesday.