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Is Charleston Ready For An Openly Gay Mayor?




News flash: Ginny Deerin is gay.

She’s not trying to hide it, but sources close to the Charleston mayoral race – in which Deerin is vying against fifth-term S.C. Rep. Leon Stavrinakis – tell us she’s not exactly trying to emphasize her lesbian lifestyle either.

Specifically, Deerin and her former girlfriend – ex-U.S. congressional candidate Linda Ketner – have reportedly been “taking a break” during Deerin’s 2015 mayoral bid.

How come?

“Charleston is progressive but not that progressive,” a source close to the race told us.

Interesting …

Unlike the socially conservative Upstate – where an openly gay candidate would be dead in the water – Deerin isn’t likely to be penalized by more libertarian-leaning, socially liberal Charleston voters.

But as our source indicated, black churches still play a huge role in Holy City politics – and they’re not exactly keen on alternative lifestyles.

“Saying (you’re a lesbian) and toting your lover around are different,” our source said, theorizing the latter approach “would make it much more difficult for her to run.”

To Deerin’s credit – and the credit of Stavrinakis and her other opponents – the issue simply hasn’t come up during the race.  It’s been nasty, don’t get us wrong, but not on that issue.  In fact we attempted to get several of Stavrinakis’ campaign staff to address the issue and were brusquely rebuffed.

“Absolutely not,” Stavrinakis consultant Tyler Jones told FITS when asked to comment how whether Deerin’s sexuality might impact the race.  “And I don’t want to be in any story associated with that issue or question.”

Stavrinakis’ campaign manager Lachlan McIntosh refused to respond to our request for comment.

Our view?

We don’t care if Deerin’s gay.  We care that she’s a liberal – leading the charge for tax hikes all over the state (not just in the municipality she wants to govern).  And we don’t especially care whether she wishes to emphasize or deemphasize her sexual preference – that’s up to her.

But to pretend that voters – especially socially conservative black voters – aren’t paying attention to it at all is crazy.