Are Democrats Gay-Baiting in Virginia?
A gay Republican candidate in Virginia is accusing his Democrat opponent of ‘gay baiting.’
Just before the November Virginia elections, a campaign mailer has been distributed in Fairfax County calling Republican Senate candidate Patrick Forrest “openly homosexual,” says the Washington Post, and saying that he’s endorsed by the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund.
“A liberal Republican like Patrick Forrest is a greater threat to the conservative agenda than a Democrat will ever be,’’ it said.
Previously, Forrest has accused supporters of Virginia State Sen. Janet Howell (D-Reston) of using his open homosexuality to recuit conservatives.
In October, the Washington Blade obtained audio of a drunk Howell volunteer saying, “Why would you want to vote for someone who’s a homosexual and is going to push his agenda in your schools?”
“I’ve been approached by several people … very, very conservative — and had basically said to me, ‘You know, we heard you’re a homosexual,’” Forrest said. “I said, ‘Yeah, I’m gay. I’ve always been openly gay.’ Well, we were actually told by … volunteers from the Democrats that you would be promoting the homosexual agenda in our schools.’”
Forrest’s assertion is supported by a recording of a conversation a Forrest field director, and a Howell precinct captain.
The precinct captain is asked about rumors that the campaign is approaching Republican voters and highlighting Forrest’s sexual orientation in order to dissuade them from supporting him. She confirms that they are and attempts to justify the tactic throughout the recording by alleging that Republican voters are racist and homophobic and would want to know Forrest is gay.
Howell — who has been strongly pro-gay in the Virginia General Assembly — has insisted that the tactics aren’t coming from her campaign, saying on Saturday:
“It’s disgusting and despicable. It’s not the way campaigns should be run.”
But Forrest claims he also spoke to two members of the Virginia Legislature — State Sen. Mark Obenshain and Del. Barbara Comstock — who asserted Howell informed them of his sexual orientation. Forrest said the lawmakers told him Howell said “this guy is a homosexual” and “you should not be supporting him.”
Obenshain told the Washington Blade that Howell said Republicans were “running a RINO” (Republican-In-Name-Only) in the district.
“I was frankly shocked that a liberal member of the Virginia State Senate who is so powerful and on the Budget Committee would resort to these types of tactics, but she has, and that’s what she’s chosen to do,” Forrest said.
“I’m deeply offended that Patrick Forrest would lie like this,” Howell said.
The last minute mailers are from Our Heritage USA in Lynchburg, but no such group exists at the address given.
Offical Democrat mailers accused Forrest of ‘standing with the tea party, not our kids’ for wanting to cut education funding.
If Forrest wins, he’ll be the only openly gay Republican state legislator in America. He supports banning employment discrimination for Virginia state employees, marriage equality and repealing the state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.