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Open letter from Ohio senate candidate's family opposes his LGBT beliefs

Posted by David Zimmerman  November 3, 2012 08:01 AM

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In a fascinating story of family and politics the family of Republican Senate candidate Josh Mandel have penned an open letter in opposition to his beliefs on same-sex marriage.

The letter, signed by eight cousins of Mr. Mandel's wife and appearing in the Cleveland Jewish News yesterday, details the wedding of Ellen Ratner and Cholene Espinoza, two cousins of Ilana Shafran Mandel, Mr. Mandel's wife. Ellen and Cholene were married eight years ago in Massachusetts.

According to a Mandel campaign spokesperson, the candidate "has never met any of those 'cousins' who signed that letter, but looks forward to having the opportunity to meet them someday."

Mandel currently trails his Democratic opponent in the senate race,

Here is a copy of the letter as it appeared in the newspaper:

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

Dear 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

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About the author: Boston Spirit Magazine’s daily blog brings you all of the information you need on New England’s LGBT community. In addition to highlighting local and national LGBT news, we will also highlight local leaders from the worlds of business, politics, fashion and entertainment and keep you up-to-date on all the latest events and parties, hot spots for travel, shopping, dining, and more!
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