Scroll To Top

Minnesota AG Candidate Accused of Antigay Bullying in High School

Doug Wardlow
Doug Wardlow

A former classmate says Republican candidate Doug Wardlow, who is anti-LGBTQ, hurled the 'f' word at him and told him he should die. 

Minnesota Republican attorney general candidate Doug Wardlow, already known as anti-LGBTQ, is the subject of new accusations that he bullied a gay classmate in high school, even teasing him about a suicide attempt.

Ryan Durant "remembers Wardlow as a high school bully who repeatedly harassed him for being gay -- and as the person who mocked him after he attempted suicide in the 10th grade," the Twin Cities Pioneer Press reports. Both graduated from Eagan High School in the Minnesota town of the same name in 1997.

Durant told the paper Wardlow called him "fag" and "faggot," made sexualized remarks about him playing the flute, and said "people like you should be shot."

Durant attempted suicide in 1994 by overdosing on extra-strength aspirin. When he returned to school after several months of mental health treatment in the wake of the attempt, he said Wardlow teased him by saying, "What, you couldn't even get that right?"

Durant said Wardlow's harassment was "a contributing factor, and a large one" in his suicide attempt. He was bullied by others at the school, but Wardlow was the worst, he said.

"I'm bringing this up because people can say people change," Durant told the Pioneer Press. "You're not the same person you were when you were in high school." But Durant believes Wardlow's views have not changed.

Wardlow has opposed marriage equality and has worked as a lawyer for the Alliance Defending Freedom, an extremely anti-LGBTQ legal group. For ADF, he argued before a federal appeals court that a Michigan funeral home operator was justified in firing a transgender woman because, post-transition, she did not conform to the company's dress code for men. This case may wind up at the U.S. Supreme Court.

Wardlow has largely declined to discuss his LGBTQ rights record during the campaign, and has said marriage equality is now settled law. He denies that he bullied Durant, although other students have corroborated Durant's account and said they were also harassed by Wardlow.

"I categorically deny these allegations about me when I was 14 years old," Wardlow told the Pioneer Press via email. "I never did or said anything remotely like the things alleged -- not 26 years ago when I was 14, not ever. Voters are tired of these 11th hour dirty tricks by career politicians like Keith Ellison," the Democratic candidate for attorney general.

Ellison, an LGBTQ ally who is currently a member of the U.S. House, has had troubles of his own in the race -- he has been accused of domestic abuse, an allegation he denies.

Advocate Magazine - Gio BenitezAdvocate Channel Promotion

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories