Wednesday, May 2, 2012

House Candidate's Homophobic Tweet Stirs Controversy

Pat Carlson

Republican Candidate for Texas House Pat Carlson is in hot water as news of her recent homophobic tweet becomes viral.

Carlson is the former president of the Texas chapter of the Phyllis Schlafly-founded Eagle Forum, an ultra-conservative organization that last session (while Carlson was president) worked to defeat nearly every piece of legislation in Texas designed to improve the lives of LGBT Texans, including testifying against anti-bullying bills HB 1942 and HB 1386, and surrogate parenting bill HB 910.

In other words she has quite literally made a career of homophobia.

Even given Carlson's curricula vitae, the blinding ignorance betrayed by this tweet still comes as a bit of a shock:

"Don't be fooled by anti-bullying rhetoric. Not about kids, it's about LGBT's getting their foot in door of schools."
The link in the tweet refers back to Carlson's campaign website, patcarlsoncampaign.com, but the linked page has been removed.

It would, I'm sure, shock Mrs. Carlson to the core to learn that LGBT people are already in schools, even private christian schools; many of them have even infiltrated home school classrooms...

 ...they're called students.

That's the reason that so very many people - gay and straight, cis- and transgender, Republican and Democrat - have become concerned about anti-LGBT bullying in schools: because real students are suffering the consequences. Perhaps if Carlson was as concerned with the well being of actual flesh-and-blood kids as she is about defending her ideology she would understand that.

The good news is that Pat Carlson has almost no chance of being elected to the House. Carlson originally entered the race running for House District 91, the seat being vacated by Kelly Hancock (R-Fort Worth), but during all of the back and forth involved in redistricting she found herself in House District 93 running against incumbent Barbara Nash (R-Arlington). Nash, incidentally, voted for last year's anti-bullying bill HB 1942 (which, admittedly, had no specific protections for LGBT students).

It is much harder to unseat an incumbent than to win an open seat, on top of which Carlson is up against two opponents in the Republican primary: Nash and Matt Krause, both of whom have soundly out-fundraised her (as of last week Nash's and Krause's campaigns had $101,965 and $23,201 respectively, whereas Carlson has gone $8,200 in debt). Of course fundraising is not the only measure of a candidate's viability, but it often gives a glimpse into the level of community support a person has, particularly when the fundraising totals are so lopsidedly against one candidate in a crowded field, and these totals tell me that Carlson is running a serious deficit of community support.

Of course stranger things have happened in Texas politics than an underfunded candidate from far outside the political mainstream being elected, so the threat of Carlson, and her radical agenda, having a voice in the Texas House is still very real.

A change.org petition has been started calling on Carlson to retract her statement.

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