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    EDITORIAL

    A bigot gets a warm hug from the Mass. GOP

    Republican candidate for governor Scott Lively spoke last month at the state Republican convention in Worcester.
    Winslow Townson/Associated Press/File
    Republican candidate for governor Scott Lively spoke last month at the state Republican convention in Worcester.

    IF THE MASSACHUSETTS REPUBLICANS who voted to put anti-gay crusader Scott Lively on their gubernatorial primary ballot didn’t do their homework, then shame on them.

    And if they did do their homework and thus knew of his noxious views?

    Well, then the shame quotient doubles, for those who supported him gave a vehement homophobe the ballot blessing of their party.

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    Lively’s strategy at the GOP convention in Worcester was to go silent on his anti-gay hate-mongering and instead cast himself as the real conservative in the race, declaring himself “100 percent pro-life,” “100 percent Second Amendment,” and “100 percent pro-Trump.”

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    If he were honest, he would also have added: and virulently anti-gay, as well.

    After all, Lively, an evangelical minister based in Springfield, isn’t just your run-of-the-mill homophobe. He’s an especially poisonous breed, one who has made it his calling to travel to other countries to encourage campaigns to persecute homosexuals there. And who blames gays, ridiculously, for a wide range of social pathologies.

    In a 2017 court decision — one that went in Lively’s favor on jurisdictional ground — US District Court Judge Michael Ponsor chronicled some of his scurrilous assertions:

    “Defendant’s positions on LGBTI people range from the ludicrous to the abhorrent,” Ponsor wrote. “He has asserted that ‘Nazism was in large part an outgrowth of the German homosexual movement,’ and that ‘[i]n seeking the roots of fascism we once again find a high correlation between homosexuality and a mode of thinking which we identify with Nazism.’ He has tried to make gay people scapegoats for practically all of humanity’s ills, finding ‘through various leads, a dark and powerful homosexual presence in . . . the Spanish Inquisition, the . . . French ‘Reign of Terror,’ the era of South African apartheid, and the two centuries of American slavery.’ ”

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    Ponsor added: “This crackpot bigotry could be brushed aside as pathetic, except for the terrible harm it can cause. The record in this case demonstrates that Defendant has worked with elements in Uganda who share some of his views to try to repress freedom of expression by LGBTI people in Uganda, deprive them of the protection of the law, and render their very existence illegal.”

    After his surprising showing at the GOP’s convention on April 28, Lively, in some epic understatement, conceded that he is “guilty of some hyperbole” about gays and lesbians, at least in his speeches. “On LGBT issues . . . I have some fence mending that I need to do with people in the LGBTQ community,” Lively told reporters. “Mea culpa. I have overstated some things — not so much in my writings, I can defend just about anything I’ve written — but sometimes, giving a speech . . . I’m guilty of some hyperbole.”

    The idea that someone as bigoted as Lively could erase or even mitigate his record with “some fence-mending” is unintentionally hilarious. Governor Charlie Baker had it right in his own comments about Lively at the convention.

    “There is no place and no point in public life, in any life, for a lot of the things Scott Lively says and believes,” Baker said. “And that’s why I’m pleased that seven of 10 delegates at the convention chose us as their nominee.”

    Unfortunately, the nearly 28 percent of convention delegates who cast their convention votes for Lively carried him easily over the 15 percent threshold required for a candidate to appear on the primary ballot. His remaining ballot burden is submitting 10,000 certified signatures of registered Massachusetts voters eligible to vote in the GOP primary. That is, Republicans and unenrolled voters.

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    If Lively does end up on the ballot, those Republican delegates who voted for him will bear much of the responsibility for the stain his candidacy brings to their party — a stain that not even a resounding Baker primary victory will fully eliminate.