Wednesday, December 30, 2009

GOP opponent claims front-runner Mark Kirk is gay in attack ad

image Oh dear what if Mark Kirk has teh gay?  Can he really be trusted in office if he is not heterosexual?   You would think that with all of the social growth that has taken place in the last few years, that we would have moved beyond the point where a candidates sexuality is cause to consider their fitness to lead.  Apparently for Andy Martin this continues to be highly relevant.

Andy Martin, once known as Anthony Martin-Trigona, who has run for numerous elective offices over the last three decades in Illinois, Florida and Connecticut, taped a commercial questioning whether Kirk is gay.

Martin’s source? Statements some conservative Republicans made on a radio show saying they have heard “rumors” that Kirk is gay.

“Illinois Republican leader Jack Roeser says there is a ‘solid rumor that Kirk is a homosexual,’ ” Martin says in the ad. “Roeser suggests that Kirk is part of a Republican Party homosexual club. Lake County Illinois Republican leader Ray True says Kirk has surrounded himself with homosexuals. Mark Kirk should tell Republican voters the truth.”

The man has a history of bizarre behaviour and so it is easy to simply see this as just another ridiculous attention grab in a long line of stunts, however I don’t believe such an attack should be so readily discounted.  The GOP responded by saying:

“The Illinois Republican Party disavows the statements made today by Mr. Andrew Martin in his statewide radio advertisements. His statements today are consistent with his history of bizarre behavior and often times hate-filled speech which has no place in the Illinois Republican Party. Mr. Martin will no longer be recognized as a legitimate Republican candidate by the Illinois Republican Party.”

While it is certainly refreshing to see the Republican party on the right side of an issue for a change, the fact remains that its stance against things like repealing DADT, and same sex marriage are the very reason why Martin felt that it was appropriate to make these claims in the first place.  You cannot practice hatred on a daily basis and become enraged when someone decides to be overt about their homophobia, rather than the covert homophobia you practice.  No matter the tone of the argument, homophobia is homophobia.

What saddens me about this is that there are people who will change their vote specifically because of the allegation.  I have no knowledge of Kirk’s platform or even if the man is actually gay but his sexuality certainly should not be factored into a decision about whether or not he is fit to lead.  Without actually using the words, Martin is essentially alleging perversion and this is easily accomplished in a world where heterosexuality has been normalized.

Whether these attacks are true or not, they serve the propose of making it that much more difficult for a member of the GLBT community to run for elected office.  If they are not represented in government, it is all to easy for their concerns and or needs to be ignored.  It warns them, even before their first ad is run or the first campaign poster is hung, that they will be held to a completely different standard while their lives are run through the mud.  We make no such negative assumptions on a candidate who is heterosexual. 

Someone’s sexuality has no baring on how they will perform their job unless they work in the porn industry.  The fact that this continues to be relevant for conversation, speaks of a society that is deeply mired in homophobia.  When one considers that much of the ineptitude that has become commonplace for today’s politicians, what they decide to do with their genitals certainly has not been a factor.  Was it gay people that decided to lie the country into a war?  Was it gay people that ran up a soul crushing deficit because of delusions of grandeur?  Was it gay people that are actively fighting against the human right of health care?  Since there are not enough members of the government that are members of the GLBT community to constitute a majority, I daresay heterosexuals have a lot more to answer for, that is if we’re going to be in the business of naming names.