Gay activists who threatened to boycott businesses that invited Rep. Allen West to speak before their association have won that fight, but the congressman and his wife are firing back.
The Wilton Manors Business Association in the South Florida district of the Tea Party favorite had invited West as a guest speaker. But that outraged the Florida Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Democratic Caucus, which sent a letter warning that if the event went forward, a boycott would ensue. West has said marriage must be between a man and a woman because it's intended for procreation, and he opposed repeal of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy.
The event was canceled, so West wrote a disappointed letter to the group Monday. In it he said it was "intolerable" that gay activists "would call upon a boycott to hurt small business owners trying to earn a living and only wanting to better be informed about business related issues from their member of Congress. Clearly, we have learned who really are the intolerable individuals in South Florida."
West's wife came to his defense as well in a letter posted on the congressman's website.
"Perhaps it has become so important to brand people, especially in politics to make sure that you have someone to vilify and hate," wrote Angela West. "However, if tolerance were to be achieved by an evening of discussion, it would have been discovered that Congressman West's close relative is gay and married to his partner -- we love and adore them both."
That might not matter to Michael Emanuel Rajner, legislative director for the group that complained, who said in his original letter, "Bullies and opportunists like West have actively worked against the advancement of social justice for GLBT-people and others."