The sole finalist to become the new superintendent of the Dallas Independent School District is a supporter of LGBT equality, according to positions he took during his unsuccessful U.S. Senate campaign in 2004.
Mike Miles, a former Army Ranger who currently serves as superintendent of a school district in Colorado Springs, Colo., was named the sole finalist for the DISD job on Monday. He is expected to be formally hired April 26 after a 21-day waiting period, and would begin work in July.
Last month, Resource Center Dallas sent a letter to DISD trustees urging them to keep LGBT issues in mind as they selected a new superintendent to replace Michael Hinojosa. In the last few years, DISD has enacted a fully LGBT-inclusive anti-bullying policy, and amended other policies to include transgender protections.
Information about Miles’ record on LGBT issues as a superintendent wasn’t immediately available. But in 2004, Miles ran for U.S. Senate as a Democrat in Colorado, losing in the primary to Ken Salazar, who eventually won the seat. According to excerpts taken from Miles’ campaign website in 2004, he supported the Employment Non-Discrimination Act — which would ban anti-gay job bias — and opposed a federal constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman.
According the excerpts, reposted at OnTheIssues.org, Miles served on a Human Relations Commission in Colorado Springs in the mid-1990s, where he was part of an effort to add sexual orientation to the city’s nondiscrimination ordinance.
“Everyone should enjoy equal and fair treatment in the workplace,” Miles wrote on his campaign website, indicating his support for ENDA. “A person’s employment should be based on qualifications and ability to do the job. A person’s sexual orientation should not be a hiring consideration nor should it bear any weight in determinations of job performance.”
On the issue of a marriage, Miles wrote: “Equal rights means equal rights for everyone — that includes people who are gay or lesbian. Thus, I oppose the Federal Marriage Amendment.”
In an interview with Amy Goodman of Democracy Now in July 2004, Miles elaborated on his views on marriage:
AMY GOODMAN: : The movement to push through a Constitutional amendment against gay marriage starts here in Colorado. What is your stance versus your democratic opponent? We’re not even talking about the Republicans now. We’re also going —
MIKE MILES: : Well, even here, many of the Republicans are against Marilyn Musgrave’s amendment, and I’m clearly against it, of course. But it has to go much further than that. The real question is a broader question about equal rights for gay and lesbian community. And I’m the candidate speaking out clearly, my team, the Democrats are not ashamed of saying we need equal rights for all people, including gay and lesbian community. Ken Salazar is not going to say that directly. He’ll be against the Federal Marriage Amendment. But like I said, even Republicans are against that.
AMY GOODMAN: : Do you support gay marriage?
MIKE MILES: : I’m not opposed to gay marriage, but I support separating church and state on this issue. I support making sure that everybody has the same rights, so any benefit bestowed by government, any benefit, family medical leave, adoptions, inheritance, all of these must be given to any citizen of the United States regardless of sexual orientation. So we can call it what we want, we can call it civil unions. We can call it a piece of paper with a federal stamp on it that initiates these benefits, but the original sin was to keep the marriage and the benefits together at the very beginning. They should have been separated at the start. If we were to have equal benefits and equal rights for all people, including gay and lesbian couples, then we can give to the church, that would belong to the church, and let the Catholics decide what marriage means.