Josh Mandel

President Obama’s historic endorsement of marriage equality earlier this year is just one indication that America is moving towards giving full rights to its citizens of all sexual orientations.

But most of the Republican Party continues to oppose equality. Ohio Republican Senate candidate Josh Mandel is one of these Republicans who opposes marriage rights for gays and lesbians.

Eight members of Mandel’s extended family have just written him an open letter condemning his anti-equality views. These family members note that two of Mandel’s cousins are lesbians, and that he is failing to support their rights. Below is the letter in its entirety:

Open Letter to Josh Mandel, Republican Candidate for U.S. Senator from OhioDear Josh,

Four years ago you came into our family. We still remember the excitement surrounding your wedding, and how happy our family members were as they described it afterwards. So we were deeply saddened when you announced during your October 18th debate with Senator Sherrod Brown that you believe only some people should share this right to marry the person they love, while others should not.

Your cousins, Ellen Ratner and Cholene Espinoza, are among the many wonderful couples whose rights you do not recognize. They were married almost eight years ago in Massachusetts, at a time when it was the only state in the nation to allow same-sex marriage. Their wedding, like yours, was a beautiful and happy occasion for all of us in our family. It hurts us that you would embrace discrimination against them and countless other loving couples in Ohio and around the country.

We are equally distressed by your belief that gay men and women should not be allowed to serve openly in the military. Like you, Cholene spent many years in the armed forces. A graduate of the Air Force Academy and an accomplished pilot, she became the second woman in history to fly the U-2 reconnaissance plane. And yet, you have argued that she, like many gay and lesbian soldiers, should be forced to live a life of secrecy and lies.

Josh, as you know, our roots are deep in the Cleveland area and we have friends and family we love throughout Ohio. This family is sprawling and diverse, but it has always believed strongly in the values of equality and inclusiveness. Your discriminatory stance violates these core values of our family. Nevertheless we hope that over time, as you advance in years and wisdom, you will come to embrace the values of inclusiveness and equality as well.

Your cousins,

Michael Ratner, Bruce Ratner, Karen Ranucci, Pamela Lipkin, Rebecca
Ratner, Elizabeth Ratner, Patrick Markee, Jacob Ratner, Ana Ratner

Ohioans don’t have to wait for Mandel to evolve from his anti-gay views. His opponent, bold progressive Senator Sherrod Brown (D), fully supports marriage equality.

Click here to sign up to make calls to voters on behalf of Mandel’s opponent, Sherrod Brown.