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Candidate Loses Endorsement Over Antigay Language

Candidate Loses Endorsement Over Antigay Language


The Houston Chronicle has rescinded its endorsement of a school board candidate because his campaign circulated an antigay flier condemning his opponent.

Manuel Rodriguez Jr. (pictured), running for reelection as a Houston Independent School District trustee, put out a flier suggesting his challenger, Ramiro Fonseca, is unfit to be on the school board because he has a male partner, and saying Fonseca has "spent years advocating for gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgender rights ... not kids." It also noted that Fonseca is backed by the Houston GLBT Political Caucus.

An editorial posted on the Chronicle's website Sunday retracted the newspaper's endorsement of Rodriguez, saying the campaign flier is "obvious gay-bashing, of the kind that HISD rightly prohibits on the playground. It has no place on HISD's board. Advocating for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights is advocating for kids. GLBT kids are among those who most need adult protection and support." It added, "With his hateful flier, Rodriguez perpetuates the kind of stereotypes that put our kids in danger."

Rodriguez had earlier told a Chronicle reporter he saw nothing offensive in the flier. "I as a parent, as a grandfather, as a person who has probably more understanding of what a child's needs are, just want to give the voters information so that they can make their own choice," he said.

The Houston GLBT Political Caucus, which had urged people to contact the newspaper, praised the retraction of the endorsement. "Certainly we're very pleased that the Chronicle has taken this step," caucus president Noel Freeman told the Dallas Voice. "They recognize that there is no place for this kind of homophobia on the school board."

Voters will go to the polls in Houston Tuesday.

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