Two seats on the Carrollton City Council will be decided in the June 18 runoff. To create interest in the runoff, a local Muslim resident organized a candidate forum. Only one of the candidates for the Place 2 seat attended.
Bonnie Kaplan answered questions about topics ranging from civil unions to immigration, racial profiling and discrimination.
“Couples have the right to be in the kind of relationship they want,” Kaplan said, according to the Dallas Morning News.
Kaplan’s opponent, Anthony Wilder, didn’t attend the forum.
Wilder is a member of Sojourn Church, a group that has petitioned the city not to nominate Muslims or gays to city boards and commissions. During the campaign, Wilder has said he disagrees with Muslim prayers in public.
“Carrollton is a very diverse city,” Kaplan told Instant Tea. “The job of city councilman is to represent everyone, fairly and equally. I don’t know how you can separate people out and do your job.”
Wilder didn’t immediately respond to a phone message seeking comment.
Bob McCranie, a gay Carrollton resident who served on a city board with Wilder, wrote the following to Dallas Voice: “At a previous forum on diversity run jointly by The Carrollton Project and the MCC of Great Dallas, Mr. Wilder was honest about his differences with the GLBT community and admitted that his campaign advisors had told him not to attend such forums. That they didn’t want him participating in discussions of diversity. His campaign treasurer is Paul Kramer, who has previously been very vocal about his disapproval of both the GLBT community and the Muslim community.”
In 2007, Kramer circulated a petition opposing then-Mayor Becky Miller’s appearance in Dallas’ gay Pride parade. The petition demanded that council members refrain from such appearances in the future and that the issue be put before voters if necessary.
McCranie said he later served with both Wilder and Kramer on a city board without any conflicts.
Since the forum, Wilder has reportedly been using the article from the Morning News and Kaplan’s statements about civil unions against her.
Wilder lists tea party meeting information on his website.