Adam Medrano, Candidate for Oak Lawn's Council Seat, Won't Say If He's Gay. Should He?

In her time in office, Councilwoman Pauline Medrano has established herself as a staunch ally of the LGBT community. That's more or less a requirement for election in District 2, which includes much of Oak Lawn and has a sizable, and politically active, gay population, and there's no reason to think her nephew, Adam Medrano, would do otherwise if he's elected to replace her.

But the junior Medrano is at the center of an interesting dynamic in the race. One of his opponents, Herschel Weisfeld, is openly gay. (Note: In the original post we wrote that another candidate, Vernon Franko, is also openly gay based on a report Friday in the Dallas Voice. He wrote to say that he's not openly gay and has never said he is. "I'm just 'Openly Vern,'" he writes. We really, really regret the error.) And the Dallas Voice has a rather lengthy piece today speculating that Medrano himself is gay.

The piece centers on a December 2000 incident, which was brought to light by the Morning News during Medrano's first bid for the Dallas ISD school board seven years ago. Medrano was charged with evading arrest after fleeing a Dillard's restroom at NorthPark, where a police officer suspected Medrano and two other men had been engaged in sexual activity.

Medrano has said he was in the bathroom to use the toilet and got spooked when he emerged from his stall to find a police officer ordering him to line up alongside the other men. But the Voice thinks there might be more to the story, and asked Medrano to address his sexual orientation. He declined, telling the paper that he doesn't "think sexual orientation is an issue in the race."

Whether he's attracted to men, women, or both is his own business and has no bearing fitness to serve on the City Council. But whether he likes it or not, it's going to be an issue in the race. There's an argument, which the Voice highlights in the piece, that gay public figures have a responsibility to come out in order to set an example and help promote acceptance in mainstream culture.

Weisfeld couches it in less strident terms, saying only, "I think he needs to be open and honest about who he is, as I am."

Of course that's what Medrano's openly gay political opponent would say. What remains to be seen is if District 2 voters see Medrano's reluctance to discuss his sexual orientation as a reasonable preservation of personal privacy or an act of dishonesty or cowardice.

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Eric Nicholson
Contact: Eric Nicholson