Continuing controversy

Posted on 01 Feb 2007 at 9:20pm
By David Webb Staff Writer

Coverage of Perry’s political contributions continues to spur debate



David Webb – The Rare Reporter

Occasionally one of those stories comes along that really pushes people’s buttons, and the controversy surrounding Perry Homes definitely falls into that category.

We’ve received more letters from readers about that story than any other in recent memory. And we recently received a new batch from readers who were responding to other readers’ letters to the editor. It’s turned into high drama.

It’s all a bit odd because company owner Robert J. Perry’s contributions to conservative candidates and causes is certainly not a new development.

When he contributed money to the anti-gay marriage amendment in 2005, we reported it. We published another story about it recently because so many people approached various members of the editorial staff asking us to do more on it. That led to a second story.

As I suspected, people’s positions on the subject are all over the map.

I was not surprised to learn that some members of our community see nothing wrong with buying or selling Perry Homes’ products. Actually, I suspect that a lot more LGBT people do business with Perry Homes than are willing to acknowledge it, given the rancor of the discussion. It wouldn’t be a terribly popular thing to admit to right now.

It also was not surprising to learn that others would get down right hostile about the idea of a gay or lesbian person doing business with a company whose owner had supported an anti-gay cause.

The reality is that some people know absolutely nothing about Perry Homes’ owner. They simply do not read newspapers, and they are unaware of his support of Proposition 2, the anti-gay-marriage amendment in Texas.

Others don’t care one way or the other.

I became aware last week of a gay couple who were being harshly criticized by their friends for having bought one of Perry Homes’ products. They like their home and appeared to be feeling a little intimidated.

And what about someone who is considering buying a Perry Homes product second-hand? Would that be acceptable?

Some real estate agents must feel incredible conflict. If you put the shoe on the other foot, I’m sure many of the most politically conservative real estate agents would have no qualms whatsoever about selling a gay or lesbian person’s house or representing them in the purchase of one.

I feel lucky I can’t afford one of the Perry Homes townhouses, and that I am not particularly attracted to that type of housing. I like more earth around me.

And I don’t sell real estate, so I don’t have to worry about the professional or financial consequences of making such a decision. But others don’t have it so easy.

To buy or not to buy Exxon Mobil gas was a much easier decision. I cancelled my Exxon credit card five years ago. A tank of gas is no-brainer, but a house is more of a brainer.

I guess my philosophy about doing business with any company would be that I’m going to make my choices based on my conscience and allow everyone else to do the same and I will respect their decision.

E-mail webb@dallasvoice.com

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 2, 2007

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