Houston Chronicle pulls endorsement of school board member Rodriguez over anti-gay flier

Manuel Rodriguez

The Houston Chronicle has rescinded its endorsement of Houston Independent School District Trustee Manuel Rodriquez over an anti-gay flier distributed by the Rodriquez campaign. As previously reported by Houstini, the flier attacked Rodriquez’s opponent, Ramiro Fonseca, for his history of advocating for LGBT people, and his endorsement by the Houston GLBT Political Caucus. The flier also suggested that Fonseca being 52 and unmarried is a reason that Houstonians should not trust him to make decisions affecting children, and points out that he has a “male partner.”

In the online opinion piece removing their endorsement, the Chronicle editorial board called out the overt homophobia in the Rodriquez flier.

“With his hateful flier, Rodriguez perpetuates the kind of stereotypes that put our kids in danger. And he implies that all right-thinking people agree with him – an insult to his constituents, and precisely the kind of blithe, old-school homophobia that makes school hallways so treacherous.

Members of the school board are supposed to be role models, not bullies. They’re supposed to support civil rights, not fight against them. They’re supposed to fight hate speech, not commit it.”

In response to the Rodriquez flyer the Houston GLBT Political Caucus had encouraged people to contact the editorial board and ask that the Chronicle endorsement be rescinded. “Certainly we’re very pleased that the Chronicle has taken this step,” said Caucus president Noel Freeman. “They recognize that there is no place for this kind of homophobia on the school board.” Freeman added the next step for the Caucus will be to continue to work to elect Fonseca. “We’re looking for volunteers who can help us by handing out literature at the polls.”

Until this recent controversy very little attention had been paid to the District III HISD race outside of political circles. No scientific polling on the race has been made public, but it’s considered to be a dead heat, with neither candidate having a clear advantage. It remains to be seen how the Rodriquez flier, and the overwhelmingly negative response it has garnered, will affect the outcome of the race.

HISD elections are part of the general elections taking place this Tuesday, Nov 8. Visit HarrisVotes.org to find your voting location and view a sample ballot.

—  admin

HISD trustee distributes anti-gay flier

Rodriquez Flier (excerpt)

Excerpt from the Rodriquez flier attacking Fonseco for his advocacy for LGBT people and his endorsement by the Houston GLBT Political Caucus (click to view full flier)

Houston Independent School District Trustee Manuel Rodriquez Jr. is under fire for an anti-gay flyer attacking his opponent, Ramiro Fonseca. Both seek the HISD District III seat held by Rodriquez. Rodriquez’s flyer attacks Fonseca for his history of advocating for LGBT people, and his endorsement by the Houston GLBT Political Caucus. The flyer also suggests that Fonseca being 52 and unmarried is a reason that Houstonians should not trust him to make decisions affecting children, and points out that he has a “male partner.”

The GLBT Political Caucus was quick to denounce the flyer, issuing a statement on Saturday. “Manuel Rodriguez is assuming the voters of District III share the same bigoted, hateful views he holds,” said Caucus president Noel Freeman. “Houstonians have proven time and time again that such views are not welcome in our City, and have consistently rejected candidates who espouse such hateful views. We urge the voters of District III to reject Manuel Rodriguez on election day.”

Other HISD Trustees have joined in the chorus of people speaking out against the mailer. “I denounce the reprehensible, mean-spirited, bigoted mailer that was sent out in the HISD, District III race,” Trustee Juliet Katherine Stipeche said via her Facebook wall. “I ask my colleagues to maintain and uphold HISD’s total non-discrimination policy and treat every person, including other candidates, with dignity and respect. Let us embrace diversity and equality and treat every person as we would like ourselves to be treated ” Stipeche is seeking re-election to her district VIII seat.

HISD District I member Anna Eastman echoed Stipeche’s comments. “My fifteen year old son could not comprehend why someone would think that distinction would change a vote for school board and would be used as such by a candidate.”

The GLBT caucus is urging people to contact the editorial board of the Houston Chronicle to encourage them to rescind their endorsement of Rodriquez in light of his campaign tactics.

HISD elections are part of the general elections taking place this Tuesday, Nov 8. Visit HarrisVotes.org to find your voting location and view a sample ballot.

—  admin

Editorial Cartoon • 08.05.11

toon-edit

—  Kevin Thomas

LA Times editorial on Obama and marriage

Good editorial, but rather egregious of them to miss the most important point – that Obama was for marriage equality in 1996. It’s rather relevant in determining whether his opposition to marriage is political or principled.

We can’t peer into President Obama’s soul, but his statement last week that he is “struggling” with whether to endorse same-sex marriage is open to an unedifying interpretation. Given the president’s support of gay rights in other contexts, his opposition to marriage equality raises the question of whether the struggle Obama referred to is between politics and principle. If so, we hope principle will prevail.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  admin

NYT editorial: Dithering on ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’

NYT editorial:

The Obama administration professes to oppose the odious and misguided policy of banning gay men and women from serving openly in the military. So it was baffling to hear that the Justice Department plans to appeal a federal court order that the military immediately stop enforcing the law that is used to drum out gay service members once their sexual orientation becomes known.

Yes, it is baffling.  And I love how they say “professes.”




AMERICAblog Gay

—  John Wright

Editorial Board: Don’t Change Iowa Constitution

test marriage in Iowa x 390The Dubuque Telegraph Herald urges Iowans to vote no on
whether to convene a new constitutional convention, which could
facilitate an amendment rescinding marriage equality in the state.
Advocate.com: Daily News

—  John Wright

@ActuallyNPH, @BrittanySnow ‘belittling’ Clementi’s death, says issue-belittling Rutgers editorial

The editorial board of Rutgers’ campus newspaper, The Daily Targum, could’ve responded to Tyler Clementi’s tragic story in any number of sensitive ways. They could have seized onto their heightened responsibility to make sense of this senseless situation in a way that doesn’t make people feel bad for expressing honest human emotions. They might have used the media spotlight that is currently on their campus to craft a teachable moment for colleges nationwide.

Instead, they chose to say things like this:

It is disappointing that everyone from news to celebrities picked up the story. Actress Brittany Snow and actor Neil Patrick-Harris are just two of the many celebrities belittling Clementi’s Screen Shot 2010-10-05 At 5.30.21 Pmdeath – forcing his remembrance into a cause rather than a proper mourning.

We did not know Tyler. It was barely three weeks into his first year at the University, and most of his neighbors in his residence hall barely knew him. Turning his death into a push for gay rights is a fallacy. Homosexuality is not the only reason for which people kill themselves. In this case, it might have pushed Clementi over the edge, but the fact that he was gay should by no means turn his death into a march for safe spaces. These groups want to be heard. They want the attention. They want their agendas to shine in the limelight.

FULL EDITORIAL: Media exploits University tragedy [The Daily Targum]

Yep, blame the distraught gays and allies who understand the pain that so many gay youth still feel (and that Tyler himself seems to have expressed on a web forum), Targum staffers. That’s surely helping things. Really.

Though just for the sake of argument, Targum staffers: Perhaps you might wanna take a second and consider that maybe people like Neil Patrick Harris and groups like your gay student unions are speaking out in such passionates way not because they want homo-centric attention or because have gay “agendas,” but rather because they’re sick of there being a need for their sexualities to hold any heightened focus! Just a suggestion.




Good As You

—  John Wright

Someday, putting gays’ basic rights to ballot will be an editorial dealbreaker. Today’s not the day

It’s just a week and change away From D.C.’s 9/14 primaries, so more Washington Post endorsements have rolled in. Including this one:

In Ward 5, first-term council member Harry Thomas Jr. is facing challenges from Kenyan McDuffie, Delano Hunter and Tracey D. Turner. With the notable exception of the courage he showed in voting for marriage equality, Mr. Thomas has been a major disappointment. He pretty much defined his role as trying to stop anything — no matter how sensible — sought by the mayor. He led the effort to prevent school facilities chief Allen Y. Lew from overseeing park projects and has been the union’s main champion in trying to thwart needed reforms in the schools and government workforce. Particularly distasteful was how he allowed racial demagoguery to derail the nomination of Ximena Hartsock as parks director.

Both Mr. Hunter, a community organizer with Brookland Manor, and Mr. McDuffie, a lawyer who worked in the Justice Department civil rights division, are better alternatives. We give the edge to Mr. Hunter, an engaging newcomer who is running a grass-roots campaign. He has an intimate knowledge of the needs of the ward and has smart ideas on how to tackle issues such as truancy and joblessness. Mr. Hunter is not a supporter of marriage equality, but he is not the homophobe his critics make him out to be, but rather someone who thinks there is a way to provide equality for gays while respecting the beliefs of religious groups. He said he would not seek to change the law.

D.C. Council endorsements [WaPo]

You remember Delano Hunter, right? Ya know, he’s the guy who the National Organization for Marriage is proudly featuring in these crude mailers:

Delano Hunter

[SEE FULL SIZE: Joe.My.God]

Oh, and Hunter was also at NOM’s recent Summer Marriage Tour stop in D.C., as a show of support for an event where “let the people vote” was the rally cry of the day. Because “our values” in NOM speak means a D.C. where every citizen gets a chance to utilize that whole “speak now or forever hold your peace” line against any gay person’s marital union (although we don’t see peace-holding in the cards, even if they should lose a vote).

So no, sorry WaPo. Failing to support marriage equality and acting as “the people” are owed a right to vote on civil rights may not be deal breakers for your editorial board’s prevailing voices. And earning NOM’s backing might strike you as just another political point. However, these are matters that go well beyond matrimony, stretching firmly into the realms of constitutional fairness, respect for minority populations, principles in the face of politics, and just plain human respect! Whether or not Mr. Hunter fits into a contrived “homophobe” box is not the issue here. But as for whether or not he understands that we all share this country and its set of civil laws, and that those same laws should not be rolled back by (typically faith-based) majority whims? That’s kind of a big deal.

**More from a trio of D.C. locals:

Chris Geidner: Post Endorses NOM’s Nom in Ward 5 Council Race [Poliglot]

First, the Post ed board has steadily supported marriage equality in the past. That’s why it makes no sense to laud Councilmember Harry Thomas, Jr. for courage in voting for the marriage bill, then go on to laud Hunter for being “someone who thinks there is a way to provide equality for gays while respecting the beliefs of religious groups.

Adam Bink: Muddying the waters on equality [Open Left]

Now, it may not matter to the Washington Post who Hunter chooses to pal around with, but it does to the LGBT community. NOM has chosen Hunter to be its shining example of how to defeat pro-marriage incumbents.

Joe Sudbay: Wash. Post endorsed NOM-backed candidate for City Council [AmericaBlog]




Good As You

—  John Wright

Boston Globe editorial on Mehlman: ‘Now, clean out the closet’

They’re asking him to clean out the closet:

[I]t would be wrong to brush off Mehlman’s appeal for compassion. The coming out process can be complex and painful, especially for those who experience it publicly. To his credit, Mehlman has already begun to throw his weight behind gay causes. This year, he offered fundraising and strategic advice to the American Foundation for Equal Rights, the group that supported the legal challenge to California’s ballot initiative against gay marriage. As a high-profile, openly gay Republican, Mehlman is in a unique position to advance gay rights within his party. He might consider working to overturn some of the anti-gay measures he supported in the past. Then he could more credibly ask for the understanding — and support — he desires.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  John Wright