There couldn’t be a worse time for trouble with the in-laws for Senate candidate Josh Mandel of Ohio.
Mandel, a Republican, is running for the U.S. Senate seat currently occupied by Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and has come out swinging for conservative values, including opposition to gay marriage and gay military members.
But Mandel’s views are, apparently, unpopular with members of his wife’s extended family. They expressed those views in a letter that appeared as a paid advertisement in The Cleveland Jewish News. The Cleveland Leader later reprinted the letter.
“Four years ago you came into our family. We still remember the excitement surrounding your wedding, and how happy our family members were as they described it afterwards,” the letter read. “So we were deeply saddened when you announced during your Oct. 18 debate with Sen. Sherrod Brown that you believe only some people should share this right to marry the person they love, while others should not.”
The family members who wrote and signed the letter included such notable names as real estate magnate Bruce Ratner, part-owner of the Brooklyn Nets NBA team, and Michael Ratner, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights.
However, a Mandel spokesman, Travis Considine, said Mandel has never even met the people who signed the letter.
Mandel “has no idea who they are,” the statement said. “He looks forward to having the opportunity to meet them someday – if they ever visit Ohio. Josh stands with the majority of Ohioans in supporting marriage between one man and one woman. He always has believed in traditional marriage and always will.”
The letter mentioned the marriage of Mandel’s wife’s cousin, Ellen Ratner, to Cholene Espinoza as an example of a couple whose civil rights Mandel is trying to undermine.
“Your cousins, Ellen Ratner and Cholene Espinoza, are among the many wonderful couples whose rights you do not recognize,” the letter read. “Their wedding, like yours, was a beautiful and happy occasion for all of us in our family. It hurts us that you would embrace discrimination against them and countless other loving couples in Ohio and around the country.”
The family members mentioned that they had wide-reaching ties to many people in the Cleveland area and throughout Ohio, and that Mandel’s stance “violates these core values of our family.”
“Nevertheless, we hope that over time, as you advance in years and wisdom, you will come to embrace the values of inclusiveness and equality as well,” the letter ended.
Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this article, published on Nov. 6, incorrectly reported that the letter was written to The Cleveland Leader, though it actually was reprinted from an advertisement in the Cleveland Jewish News. The earlier version also reported that Ellen Ratner signed the letter; she did not.
Mandel lost his Senate bid Tuesday to the incumbent.