Despite Lesbian Sister, Neb. Gubernatorial Candidate Won’t Back Gay Marriage
While both the Republican and Democratic Nebraska gubernatorial candidates have gay siblings, the GOP candidate says that he believes marriage is strictly a union for one man and one woman, and doesn’t want his wealthy family to support any more LGBT causes.
According to Omaha’s World-Herald, Republican Pete Ricketts will not support marriage equality, despite having a lesbian sister. Ricketts also opposes his family’s support of the gay pride parade in Chicago, which the Ricketts, who own the Chicago Cubs, sponsor.
"My sister is gay. I love her, but I disagree with her on this issue," said Ricketts, an Omaha businessman.
But his opponent, Democrat Annette Dubas, said she has come to embrace gay marriage after her brother Michael came out as gay in the ’80s.
"I think my brother has as much right to happiness as anyone else does," said Dubas.
Nebraska banned gay marriage in 2000, and all five Republican candidates want to keep it that way. Dubas said that she believed it was time for gay marriage, but added that she would not actively work to overturn the state’s gay marriage ban if elected as governor.
"In my mind, it would be up to the citizens of Nebraska to overturn it or not. At that time, my vote would count just as much as anyone else’s," Dubas said.
But Ricketts’ sister Laura isn’t going to sit on her hands. She has been a leader in support of gay marriage, giving financial and volunteer support to Lambda Legal, and support to the Chicago Cubs’ outreach in the gay community. The Cubs have a long history of supporting the LGBT community, and are a member of the National Gay & Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame.
This familial support is causing problems for Pete Ricketts, especially with Nebraska Republican Beau McCoy, another gubernatorial candidate who is calling the candidate to the mat for his family’s pro-gay stances.
"I don’t see how it’s possible to be against gay marriage while, at the same time, owning with your family, a national baseball team that purports to be one of the most gay-friendly baseball teams in the country," McCoy told the World-Herald.
In 2006, Ricketts ran for U.S. Senator from Nebraska against incumbent Sen. Ben Nelson, spending more than a million dollars of his own money, and snagging only 36 percent of the vote. But he goes into this race with the endorsements of Former Republican Govs. Kay Orr and Charles Thon.
Winnie McCroy is the Women on the EDGE Editor, HIV/Health Editor, and Assistant Entertainment Editor for EDGE Media Network, handling all women's news, HIV health stories and theater reviews throughout the U.S. She has contributed to other publications, including The Village Voice, Gay City News, Chelsea Now and The Advocate, and lives in Brooklyn, New York.