Denny Rehberg, the Republican challenging U.S. senator Jon Tester of Montana in this year’s election, “has opposed the LGBT community at every opportunity” and once pranked a colleague with a gay-mocking gift package that included a stuffed sheep and a Village People CD, ThinkProgress reports.
ThinkProgress profiles Rehberg as part of its series “Better Know an Anti-LGBT Senate Candidate.” It notes that incumbent Democrat Tester has been “a fairly reliable supporter of LGBT equality,” but Rehberg, a U.S. House member and former Montana lieutenant governor, has an antigay record that includes opposing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and calling LGBT-inclusive hate-crimes laws “extremist.” Also, in 1994 he observed of AIDS funding, “The problem with AIDS is: you got it, you die. So why are we spending money on the issue?”
Rehberg also riffed on the arrest of Idaho senator Larry Craig for lewd conduct in an airport restroom by giving Mike Simpson, a congressman from the state, a joke gift package that “included a stuffed sheep with gloves attached to it, a Village People CD, books on cross-dressing and sign language and a T-shirt that reads, ‘My senator may not be gay, but my governor is Butch,’” a reference to Idaho governor C.L. “Butch” Otter, according to The Independent Record of Helena, Mont. Rehberg said he “meant no offense.”
Read the full ThinkProgress report here, and watch video of Rehberg trying to evade a gay constituent’s questions below.