Openly gay Palm Springs Mayor Steve
Pougnet will face California Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack in the
Pougnet ran unopposed in Tuesday's
Democratic primary, but faces a steep challenge in taking on
incumbent Bono Mack.
Bono Mack, who assumed office in 1998,
remains a perennial favorite of voters.
Gay and lesbian issues are expected to
become an issue in the ideologically split district. Gay mecca Palm
Springs sits near the center of the district, but fanning out from
there the district becomes increasingly conservative. Gay tourism
remains a major economic driver in Palm Springs, which has a large
and vibrant gay community.
In campaigning against Bono Mack,
Pougnet has already labeled her anti-gay for her recent vote against
repeal of the law that bans gay troops from serving openly.
“In a perfect world, people like
Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack would treat all Americans the same,”
Pougnet said in a release. “They wouldn't vote against gays and
lesbians just to gain favor with extremists on the right.”
“I know we don't live in that perfect
world yet, but I was still shocked to learn that Bono Mack voted
against the amendment to repeal 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell.'”
If elected, Pougnet would become the
first openly gay member of the House who is married. The
forty-seven-year-old Pougnet is raising a family with husband
Christopher Green, a pharmaceutical sales representative. The couple
has two children, Beckman and Julia.
Pougnet has the endorsement of the Gay
& Lesbian Victory Fund, a group that promotes openly gay