Political Party Time

Anti-gay rights Reps use Elton John to raise cash

At least two members of the House of Representatives--both of whom are on record opposing gay rights--will be hosting fundraisers at the upcoming Billy Joel/Elton John “Face2Face” concert at Nationals Park on July 11.

In July 2006, Reps. John Shimkus (R-IL) and Jean Schmidt (R-OH) both voted to define marriage in the Constitution as a one man-one woman affair, according to ontheissues.org and the Human Rights Campaign.

In November 2007, both representatives voted against a measure aimed at prohibiting job discrimination based on sexual orientation. And in June 2008, they co-sponsored a bill to amend the Constitution to prevent same sex couples from marrying. Shimkus voted to ban gay adoptions in DC in July 1999. (Ontheissues records of these votes can be found here and here).

Sir Elton John has been a vocal advocate for HIV/AIDS prevention and for global gay rights (see his foundation here, and attempts to raise public awareness here).

This isn't Shimkus' first Elton fundraiser. In 2005 the Kentucky Democrat reported:

"A spokesman for Shimkus, Steve Tomaszewski, said his boss's fund-raiser at the Elton John concert was neither an endorsement of the singer's politics nor a betrayal of Shimkus' stand on gay marriage. Shimkus won't attend himself, however, because of a scheduling conflict, Tomaszewski said."

Tomaszewski confirmed Thursday to Party Time that the congressman will most likely not be attending the fundraiser on July 11 either. Rep. Schmidt’s director of communications would only agree to answer questions by email, and has not yet responded to Party Time.