On Saturday, Dan Manning — an openly gay military veteran who was discharged under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and is now running for Kansas House of Representatives in Wichita — arrived home from work “to find a death threat attached to his front door.”
The threat, compiled of newspaper clippings so as to resemble a classic ransom note, calls Manning a “homo” and “fagit” and predicts that he “will die”:
“It’s not completely surprising to me,” Manning told me during a phone interview. “I’ve not made any effort to hide my sexual orientation, I’ve been open about it and my opponent has known about it since day one.” There is “no indication” that his Republican opponent Brenda Landwehr “or anyone in her campaign is behind this,” Mannning said, but added that “as I’ve been out talking to constituents in the district, they’ve made mention that they’ve heard stuff about me. They didn’t say it came specifically from Brenda. One can assume it may have come from her. Again, there is no proof, and I would not accuse her of such.”
The threat did come out of the blue however, since the campaign has eschewed social issues and both candidates have focused on the economy, jobs and education. “My personal life is not something to talk about, on the priority list,” Manning said. “There are a lot of issues in Kansas that need to be addressed, the same way as the rest of the U.S.” “Some people are going to try to make my sexual orientation the prominent issue of the campaign. But the feeling I’ve got from my constituents that I had a chance to speak to, they don’t care, as long as I’m qualified, I’m going to represent their interests.”
In 2005, voters in Kansas approved a constitutional amendment that defined marriage as a civil contract between two persons who are of opposite sex and declared “all other marriages to be contrary to public policy and void.” The measure, which Landwehr supported, passed with 70% of the vote.