Judging from past elections, it’s just a matter of time before Republican Lowell Cannaday’s campaign plays the gay card in his race against lesbian Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez. But with people like former Dallas Observer columnist Matt Pulle on the case, the campaign may not need to. Pulle has posted a survey at Texas Watchdog that he says was given to sheriff’s department employees at a recent training session on diversity. The survey asks whether respondents agree or disagree with statements like “homosexuality is a choice” and “children should not be raised by gay parents.” Pulle suggests that the survey goes too far: “Wouldnâ€™t this type of questioning be grounds for a lawsuit at most workplaces?” he writes.
As a non-attorney, I don’t know the answer to that question, but I somehow doubt it given that the survey appears to be anonymous and possibly voluntary. I’m currently awaiting a call back from Rafael McDonell at the Resource Center of Dallas, which I believe may be responsible for producing the survey and conducting the training. I’ll provide more details about the context of the survey as soon as they’re available, but at this point it appears as though Pulle is implying that Valdez has some sort of radical gay agenda that she’s attempting to ram down people’s throats. If this sounds familiar, that’s because it’s the same homophobic scare tactic that’s been used by right-wingers for decades. Pulle’s blog post has been picked up by D Magazine’s Frontburner blog, and I’ve heard The Dallas Morning News is pursuing this story. I think I already know what The DMN’s slant will be. Here’s a hint: It won’t be favorable toward Valdez.
UPDATE: Read a statement from Cece Cox, associate executive director of Resource Center of Dallas, after the jump.
â€œThe questionnaire is the same one that Resource Center of Dallas has used for its public safety training classes, including the Dallas Police Department, since the 1990s. It was administered anonymously and participants were explicitly told they were not to write their names on it. Furthermore, the questions were mixed up so that respondents could not be tied to specific questionnaires. Similar questionnaires have also been used in our monthly diversity training classes here at the Resource Center of Dallas and in educational, public safety and corporate settings. The questionnaire is used by Resource Center of Dallas to determine attitudes toward the GLBTA community and generate discussion in the classes. The completed questionnaires are not shared with anybody outside RCD and are destroyed after each class. The questionnaires are the sole property of Resource Center Of Dallas and were not developed by the Dallas County Sheriffâ€™s Department. We are disappointed that our efforts at diversity and inclusiveness are being used in a political manner in advance of the Dallas Pride weekend, when the North Texas GLBTA community comes together to celebrate and share. It shows that our work is needed.â€