California Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Simon found himself in the middle of another gay rights controversy Wednesday after he refused to condemn a GOP-funded antigay radio ad airing in a rural region of central California, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.
The 30-second Spanish-language radio ad, paid for by the Republican Party of Glenn County, features the dinnertime conversation of a couple identified as Panchito and Lupita. Over a plate of enchiladas, the couple discuss a laundry list of problems with the Democratic Party.
"I am scared that Democrats are supporting abortion...and they are teaching our children in the schools that homosexual practice is OK," says the male voice, "instead of using those hours to teach them to read and write."
Simon, at a gubernatorial campaign stop in Sacramento on Wednesday, insisted his campaign played no role in developing or funding the ad. Asked if he endorsed its implicit antigay message, Simon replied that he would be a "governor for all Californians."
Sen. Art Torres, chairman of the California Democratic Party, condemned Simon for his refusal to distance himself from the ad, which he said is insulting to gay and Latino people.
"Bill Simon needs to apologize to Californians for allowing the Glenn County Republican Party to air a Spanish-language radio ad on his behalf that is offensive on several levels," Torres said in a statement. "He needs to apologize to California's gay and lesbian community for the ad's negative statement about homosexuals, and he needs to apologize to the Latino community for portraying Latino families in a stereotypical and derogatory fashion."