While U.S. Rep. Jared Polis was less than thrilled with the memorandum President Barack Obama signed Wednesday extending some benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees, the openly gay Boulder Democrat emphatically did not boycott the Oval Office signing ceremony, a Polis spokeswoman tells The Colorado Independent.
Prominent blogger John Aravosis initially made the claim Thursday afternoon that Polis boycotted the event “because he felt the signing of the memo was just not good enough,” but Polis spokeswoman Lara Cottingham says that’s simply not true.
“Jared absolutely did not boycott it,” Cottingham said.
Polis, in fact, was swinging the bat at Washington’s National Stadium at an annual congressional baseball game sponsored by Roll Call magazine during the signing ceremony and couldn’t be two places at one time.
“The congressman was invited,” Cottingham said. “He did not boycott the event, he had a previous engagement. Votes ran very late that day and he went straight to the baseball game.”
Aravosis blasts openly gay U.S. Reps. Barney Frank of Massachusetts and Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin for attending the signing ceremony and for their defense of an Obama brief supporting the federal ban on gay marriage. After calling Frank “the old former leader of our movement in Congress,” the blogger says the lawmaker “suddenly discovered that he loved Big Brother,” linking to a blistering critique of Frank’s assessment of the Obama court brief. As for Baldwin: “[W]e’ve all been wishing for a while that the day will come when Tammy visits the Wizard and he gives her a spine and a conscience,” Aravosis writes.
And finally, there’s Jared Polis. Jared is the new guy on the block. He had an initial stumble early on when he misspoke about the status of gay rights legislation on the Hill. People were a bit ticked at him. But Jared made up for it yesterday. First he issued a blistering statement about the DOJ brief. Then today, his staff informed one of our readers that Jared boycotted the Oval Office benefits signing ceremony yesterday because he felt the signing of the memo was just not good enough.
“Perhaps we’ve finally found a leader in Congress after all,” Aravosis concludes.
Or if not that, a part-time slugger. Wearing a Colorado Rockies jersey and batting for the Democrats, Polis hit a sacrifice fly, contributing an RBI, and on his second at-bat scored a single. Beating back a seventh-inning rally, the Democrats trounced the Republicans 15-10 in the exhibition game, which raised money for Washington Literacy Council and the Metropolitan Police Boys and Girls Clubs.
Frank and Baldwin, along with Polis, have been coming under fire from gay activists for plans to appear at an LGBT fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee in Washington next week.
Later this afternoon, Aravosis corrected his assertion about Polis’ whereabouts with characteristic snark:
Polis’ office just called to say that he did not “boycott” the event. In fact, they tell me, he had a very busy day, including a meeting with the Speaker, and at the time of the Oval Office ceremony he had a baseball game to attend, and chose the baseball game instead of meeting with the leader of the free world :-)