With Councilman Chris Seelbach leading the way, Cincinnati became a leader in LGBT inclusion policies and practices, showing a commitment to full equality for all residents and workers. Video by Liz Dufour

The GOP last week unanimously endorsed an openly gay candidate for Cincinnati City Council, believed to be the first time the local Republican Party has done that.

Whoop-dee-friggin’-doo, Seth Maney says. About his sexual orientation, that is.

A council member’s sexual orientation is irrelevant to doing the job, the first-time candidate says, and Maney is taking clear aim in his campaign at a City Hall incumbent who he believes makes a big deal out of being gay – Democrat Chris Seelbach.

“Identity politics is a joke,” Maney said. “As a gay man, I don’t believe that I owe him my vote because he happens to be gay. Does anyone?”

Maney added: “Why does that guy deserve a seat on council when he is talking about things that are irrelevant to the quality of life of people living, working and paying taxes in our city. He doesn’t, but he has name ID, so congrats.”

The council race is not a head-to-head election, and Maney and Seelbach have worked together on Over-the-Rhine projects in the past. In fact, Maney donated to Seelbach’s campaign in 2015, according to public records, a decision the Clifton resident says he now regrets.

But why is Maney on the offensive specifically about Seelbach? With a potential of 40 candidates vying for nine council seats in November, perhaps Maney is trying to draw a clear distinction between the two openly gay men in the race in an effort to build name recognition.

SEELBACH RESPONDS: “We’re surprised at Seth’s comments, given that he donated $250 to our re-election campaign this cycle, but wish him well,” said Ariel Barat, Seelbach’s campaign manager. “Chris’s track record, having passed the most legislation of any member of council, and having been named by President Barack Obama as a White House ‘Champion of Change’ is something we’re very proud of.”

Seelbach became the city’s first openly gay elected official in 2011, and he has pushed an LGBT-friendly agenda during his two terms. His efforts have helped him gain national attention, including being recognized by the White House in 2013. Also, Seelbach has indeed passed more legislation than anyone else on the current council, and he has a…