Carl DeMaio is a gay Republican running for Congress from California. Last week, he made a little bit of history by being one of the first openly gay candidates for Congress to run an ad featuring an image of him holding his the hand of his partner, Jonathan Hale, while walking in the San Diego LGBT pride parade. This, according to the National Organization for Marriage’s Brian Brown, means that DeMaio is dangerous to children.
In a fundraising email supporting DeMaio’s Republican primary opponent, Kirk Jorgensen, Brown attacks the gay candidate with every stereotype at his disposal. First, describes a pride parade as such:
It’s a beautiful summer day in southern California. Throngs of people line streets as paraders march by. They include transvestite brides (men in wedding gowns) who strut their stuff. Nearby a float with bare-chested, heavily muscled men in tight underwear that leaves nothing to the imagination hold hands and dance on a rolling stage as rainbow flags fly behind them. Not far away women kiss other women and tattooed men embrace, pulling their half-naked bodies tight to each other. A confused-looking child watches this scene unfold as she holds a ‘we celebrate diversity’ sign, not exactly the type of plaything we’d expect innocent youngster to cling to.
In their midst the candidate walks down the street holding the hand of his gay lover. He waves at the crowd and smiles approvingly. These are his people, and he is at home.
Brown ignores that pride parades include many other individuals that support the LGBT community, including church groups, family groups, local businesses, and professional organizations.
He then goes on to claim that DeMaio is inherently amoral and harmful to children:
Carl DeMaio claims to be ‘one of us’ but his vision of America is very different from ours. He comes from an environment where sexual morality is a thing of the past, where children are indoctrinated into questioning their own sexuality, where gender is considered fluid but sexual orientation is fixed, and where a candidate who supports abortion, gay ‘marriage,’ gun control and medical marijuana can call himself a conservative — and a “reformer.”
Brown’s email reveals the archaic prejudices and beliefs at the root of NOM’s opposition to LGBT equality. In particular, no child can be “indoctrinated into questioning their own sexuality.” Research suggests that sexuality is largely determined by various genetic, epigenetic, and prenatal influences, not watching pride parades. By reinforcing long-debunked stereotypes, NOM is not only unfairly attacking DeMaio, but demonizing the entire gay community.
Despite his openness and support for LGBT equality, DeMaio is not strongly supported in turn by the LGBT community. And despite NOM’s claims, he is far from moderate on economic issues, promoting conservative policies that would actually harm the LGBT community.