Christine Stuart / ctnewsjunkie
Ned Lamont and Susan Bysiewicz outside the Hartford Gay and Lesbian Health Collective (Christine Stuart / ctnewsjunkie)

HARTFORD, CT — Ned Lamont, the Democratic gubernatorial nominee, was outside the Hartford Gay and Lesbian Health Collective Thursday calling on his Republican opponent to reject an endorsement his running mate received from the Family Institute of Connecticut.

Sen. Joe Markley, who won the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor Tuesday, was endorsed by the Family Institute of Connecticut Action Committee. The group also endorsed Tim Herbst in the five-way race for governor, but Herbst lost the contest to Madison Republican Bob Stefanowski.

In an email to supporters, the pro-life group said it’s unaware of Stefanowski’s position on abortion, but “His supporters claim he is pro-life and Stefanowski himself publicly committed to a parental notification law in the last debate. Whether these things are true is an open question. But what we can be sure of is that Markley will push Stefanowski to keep his word and that Markley will have far more influence with Stefanowski than he would have had with Mark Boughton.”

Stefanowski declined to say where he stood on the issue.

“Connecticut is facing one of the worst financial crises in the country thanks to policies of Dan Malloy and Ned Lamont. Their economic policies have driven hundreds of thousands out of state, taking jobs and productivity with them, leaving Connecticut’s middle class families holding the bag,” Stefanowski said in response to Lamont’s press conference. “It is no surprise that Ned Lamont’s attack dogs would want to discuss anything but the last 8 years of failure. I look forward to a vigorous debate on my plans to fix Connecticut and rid once and for all, the culture of corruption in Hartford, even if Lamont wants to do nothing more than play politics.”

Lamont said all Stefanowski has to do is answer the question.

“As long as he’s vague I’m worried about what Joe Markley and the Family Institute are going to be pushing for,” Lamont said.

He said he’s not trying to “take away one issue for another issue I’m talking about the complexity which is Connecticut.”

Susan Bysiewicz, Lamont’s running mate, said the issues are related.

“If women don’t have reproductive freedom then that affects the family’s budget and economics,” Bysiewicz said. “If a woman can’t work she can’t provide for her family.”

Bysiewicz added that the divided state Senate a lieutenant governor presides over means, Markley, who is pro-life and voted against pay equity and affirmative consent legislation, may be asked to decide one of these issues.

She said the Stefanowski campaign has been trying its hardest to avoid answering the question, “which tells me that they are not pro-choice and they’re not supporters of our law.”

She said they agree the economy is important, but “so is their stand” on this issue and others.

Abortion is codified in Connecticut statutes, so even if the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, it would still be legal here in Connecticut.

In the last debate on WFSB before the primary, Stefanowski said the Democrats are going to try and push issues like this, but “this discussion has to be laser focused on the economy.”

“They don’t want to talk about the economy because you cannot support what Dan Malloy has done for the last eight years,” Stefanowski said.

He said he took his 15 year old daughter to get her ears pierced and had to sign a form.

“The fact that she could go get an abortion without parental notification to me is unacceptable,” Stefanowski said.

Regarding parental notification, Lamont said “I don’t think we need another law. I think we have too many laws right now.”

He said they have to make sure Connecticut has laws that don’t restrict women’s access.

As far as LGBT issues are concerned, Connecticut was the third state in the nation back in 1991 to pass a Gay Bill of Rights.

The Family Institute of Connecticut was also active in lobbying against a law that makes it illegal to discriminate against people based their gender identity and expression.

It also lobbied against civil unions and recently applauded state Rep. Minnie Gonzalez’s defeat of a “gay activist.” The FIC endorsed Gonzalez in the primary.

Family Institute of Connecticut did not return a call seeking comment.

It’s unclear if Stefanowski will seek their endorsement in the general election.