Around New England

LGBTQ Victory Fund Stands With Alex Morse After Revelations of Sex With Undergraduates

August 10, 2020

A homosexuality-affirming political action committee is continuing its support for Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse after allegations that he used his contacts with College Democrats at two western Massachusetts colleges to pursue sexual hookups with undergraduates.

University of Massachusetts Amherst officials say they are investigating the allegations, brought to light late last week when College Democrats disinvited Morse from events at the school, saying he acted inappropriately. Morse was a lecturer in political science at the school until this past weekend, when university officials announced they don’t plan to bring him back.

Morse, who has been open about his homosexuality since high school, has acknowledged pursuing sex with undergraduates, and he has offered an apology if he made anyone feel uncomfortable. But he has said he did nothing unethical, has never used force, and has “never used my power in a problematic way.”

“As I have acknowledged, I have had consensual relationships with other men, including students enrolled at local universities that I’ve met using dating apps,” Morse said in a written statement Sunday, August 9.

The allegations have thrown Morse’s insurgent campaign for Congress into turmoil. Morse is challenging U.S. Representative Richard Neal, the chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, in the Democratic primary for the First Congressional District, which covers western Massachusetts. Morse, 31, has drawn enthusiastic support from left-wing Democrats against Neal, 71, a more moderate liberal Democrat.

One Holyoke city councilor has called on Morse to resign as mayor.

But LGBTQ Victory Fund, which has endorsed Morse in his run for Congress, is standing by him, questioning the timing of the story 25 days before the September 1 primary and saying that it rests on “vague and anonymous accusations.”

“Alex is taking responsibility for actions that made students uncomfortable and we support the independent investigation by UMass, despite no complaints having ever been made to the university. But it is critical the media and others avoid reinforcing tired homophobic tropes or sensationalizing this story because of Alex’s sexual orientation,” LGBTQ Victory Fund said in a written statement Monday, August 10. “Alex has been open about the fact that he has had consensual relationships with other men, including students enrolled at local universities that he has met using dating apps, and there are no allegations of non-consent or of anyone underage. The media and voters should review the allegations and determine whether a straight candidate would be held to the same scrutiny and standards.”

Human Rights Campaign, the largest homosexuality-affirming political organization in the country, has endorsed Neal, the incumbent, along with the other seven incumbent Democrats running for re-election to the U.S. House of Representatives in Massachusetts.

News of the disinvitation of Morse by College Democrats was first reported by The Massachusetts Daily Collegian, the daily student newspaper at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, on Friday, August 7.

Images of the recent statements from Morse and from LGBTQ Victory Fund are below. MassLive.com noted similarity in the language in a news story published Monday, August 10.

 

 

Alex Morse, Sunday, August 9, 2020:

 

LGBTQ Victory Fund, Monday, August 10, 2020:

 

Alex Morse

 

 

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