Just because there are no marriage or adoption issues on the ballot this year, that doesn't mean our community isn't being used as a political wedge issue. Plenty of candidates in 2010 have trotted out the strategy of using the lives of LGBT people to divide and distract voters. When candidates use this ugly tactic, we think the voters have a right to see it for what it is - and we think the media has a responsibility to drag it out of the shadows. That's why we issued an Eye on the Media today.
Just a few examples of the defamation coming out of this campaign season so far:
- Michigan Republican Kim Meltzer sent out campaign materials that depicted primary opponent Leon Drolet’s face superimposed over a rainbow flag, included two male figures holding hands, and claimed that Drolet “would allow homosexual gross indecency in public places,” “exposing our children to that filth.”
- Oklahoma State Representative Sally Kern defended her previous statement that gays and lesbians are more dangerous than terrorists, telling local TV, “Here in America we’ve had what, maybe three known real big terrorist attacks on our nation? But every day our young people especially - all of us, but our young people especially - are in a sense bombarded with the message that homosexuality is normal and natural.”
- Texas Governor Rick Perry, who is running for re-election, told an audience, “There is still a land of opportunity, friends — it’s called Texas. We’re creating more jobs than any other state in the nation.” He then asked, “Would you rather live in a state like this, or in a state where a man can marry a man?”
- Iowa Republican Jeremy Walters, a candidate for the State House, wrote on his Facebook page that to be gay “is not of God,” quoted Bible verses that said gay people should be “put to death; their blood shall be upon them,” and suggested that AIDS was God’s punishment.
Our issues don't need to be on the ballot for our lives to be impacted by an election. The rhetoric used by candidates -- people who are usually well-respected members of their community -- can set the tone for how that community feels about LGBT people. But we can walk away winners if the media shines a light on this cynical and destructive tactic, and gives the American people the chance to reject it outright.