On Feb. 8, 2005, Utahns felt a ripple in time-space continuum when openly gay attorney Scott McCoy was sworn in to serve out ailing Sen. Paula Julander’s term representing the 2nd District in the Legislature. McCoy is up for re-election in 2006.
Is it getting old being described as Utah’s first “openly gay” senator?
A little bit. When people refer to me that way while discussing or writing about GLBT issues, it lets people know my perspective is one of a member of that community. But on other issues, it really is superfluous and irrelevant. I just want to be known as a good legislator.
Utah Democrats have a hard time getting bills passed. You yourself sponsored 10 bills with none passing. How do you see yourself being effective?
I raise tough but important issues for discussion and offer real solutions. ... Sometimes it takes a few years to get things passed. ... And sometimes the measure of effectiveness is not what gets passed, but what doesn’t.
In your political career, you’ve been a Republican and a Democrat. Which way do you lean?
Over a decade ago, when I was a Republican, I was a moderate, socially liberal and fiscally conservative. After going to law school, coming out and being in a long-term relationship, my world and experience changed. I am a progressive Democrat. On a scale from zero (far right wing) to 10 (far left wing), I am a solid 7.
Was it a difficult decision to switch parties?
Not really. I think the GOP was hijacked by the crazy religious right. Democrats are more in tune with the values and public policy principles of the majority of Americans.
Do you and fellow state Sen. Chris Buttars socialize? Since it was his comment that inspired it, does he like your “The Gay” license plate?
We don’t really hang out. We don’t really have anything in common other than being public servants. I haven’t ever asked him what he thinks of the license plate, and he hasn’t volunteered an opinion, either.