Heck of a Guy

By DAVID S. BERNSTEIN  |  May 26, 2010

No friend of the gays
In Glodis’s eight years in the State House — two in the House of Representatives, followed by six in the Senate — he was considered one of its most conservative members. He frequently voted with Republicans, and occasionally even stood alone against the entire bipartisan chamber.

That was certainly the case with gay rights. At the 2004 Constitutional Convention, Glodis sided against same-sex marriage — or civil unions — on every vote. Two years earlier, Glodis supported a “defense of marriage” amendment that would have barred all same-sex-partnership recognition.

Before that, Glodis was the lone vote in the Senate against a bill that allowed public employees to add their same-sex domestic partners to their health insurance.

“It does matter what a state auditor thinks,” says Arline Isaacson, former lobbyist for gay-marriage proponent MassEquality. Isaacson notes that current auditor Joseph DeNucci’s support of gay marriage was important for public acceptance. “They can do a lot of good with a bully pulpit — or a lot of damage.” (DeNucci, a former champion boxer, declared his support at a press conference with former Minnesota governor and pro wrestler Jesse Ventura.)

Today, Glodis supports same-sex marriage. “I have changed my mind on the issue,” he tells the Phoenix. Yet, even when pressed, he offers no explanation for this 180-degree conversion — instead saying that his earlier opposition was a matter of representing his constituency, which he calls “a bastion of conservative thought.”

There is some truth to that; he succeeded a Republican, Matt Amorello, to the Senate seat in 1998, and today that district is represented in the House by several Republicans and conservative Democrats.

“[Gay marriage] was an issue that was vehemently opposed by my district,” says Glodis.

On the other hand, when Glodis left the Senate to run for sheriff in 2004, at the height of public debate over the issue, his seat was won by solid same-sex-marriage advocate Ed Augustus.

The “voters made me do it” defense is also somewhat undermined by his history. As an undergraduate at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Glodis was active in a conservative organization that lobbied to remove dedicated seats for the Lesbian Bisexual Gay Alliance in the student government. He also reportedly helped lead a “Straight Pride” event, in protest against a campus gay-pride parade.

Guns, death penalty, and clean elections
Gay marriage is hardly the only issue on which Glodis parted with traditional liberals during his years in the legislature.

A gun-rights advocate, Glodis consistently earned top ratings from groups like the Gun Owners’ Action League and Lawful and Responsible Gun Owners. His was one of 21 Senate votes for reinstating the death penalty in 1999, giving the measure a razor-thin victory in that chamber. (It was later barely stopped in the House.) Glodis has not changed his position on those issues.

He was also, as chair of the Elections Committee, seen as hostile to clean-elections law by groups like Mass Voters for Fair Elections. Glodis was, in fact, one of only two senators to vote against the bipartisan Lees-Rosenberg amendment in 2001 to reinforce those laws. (The other was Dianne Wilkerson.) That same year, he voted for repealing the 1998 Clean Elections Law entirely.

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