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The Houston Chronicle has rescinded its endorsement of Houston Independent School District Trustee Manuel Rodriquez over an anti-gay flier distributed by the Rodriquez campaign.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GLBT Political Caucus had encouraged people to contact the editorial board and ask that the Chronicle endorsement be rescinded.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

GOProud blasts Republican Jim DeMint for call to bar gays and unmarried women from teaching

While GOProud has managed to endorse conservative candidates over pro-equality ones, Jim DeMint has apparently crossed a line of no return. I’m pretty sure this is a safe call for the org, as DeMint is nearly certifiable for making this pronouncement…

Jim DeMint: Trying His Best to Make Alvin Greene Look Sane

DeMint Wants the Government to Weed Out Gay Teachers and Sexually Active Unmarried Female Teachers

(Washington, D.C.) – On Friday, United States Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) told a crowd in South Carolina that he supports barring openly gay teachers, as well as sexually active unmarried female teachers, from the school system. “Jim DeMint’s comments can only be described as outrageous and bizarre. The idea that someone who says they believe in limited government would support the government weeding out gay teachers and unmarried sexually active female teachers simply defies logic,” said Christopher R. Barron, Chairman of the GOProud Board. “Jim DeMint is doing his best to make Alvin Greene look sane.”

“A real limited government conservative would be talking about getting the government less involved in education – not more involved. Instead of talking about shutting down the Department of Education, supporting school choice and protecting parents’ rights to homeschool their children, Jim DeMint instead wants the government even more involved in our education system, and involved in a way that would invade the personal lives of every teacher in this country,” continued Barron.

DeMint’s comments come on the heels of increased media attention to the problem of bullying of gay teenagers and the tragically high rates of gay teen suicide. “At a time when we need to be having a serious discussion about the silent epidemic of gay teen suicide, Jim DeMint’s comments send a powerful and disturbing message to people all across the country,” said Jimmy LaSalvia, Executive Director of GOProud. “For a man who speaks a great deal about morality, Jim DeMint’s comments represent some of this most morally reprehensible comments made by a politician in modern history.”

“It is clear that the socially conservative big government wing of the Republican Party is desperate to undermine and co-op the message and enthusiasm of the tea party movement. After a year and a half of attacking the tea party movement for not being focused on their pet issues, it is clear that Tony Perkins and his crowd have embraced a new strategy – if you can’t beat’em, join’em. The tea party movement is about limiting the size and scope of the government and empowering indiviudals. The grassroots tea party activists should reject attempts by Washington Republicans like Jim DeMint to corrupt the movement’s conservative message,” concluded LaSalvia.

NOTE: GOProud’s Chris Barron and Jimmy LaSalvia will be on MSNBC at 10:35PM ET tonight to discuss this issue.
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright