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Last-Minute Mailer Attacks Openly Gay Candidate for Being Gay

Last-Minute Mailer Attacks Openly Gay Candidate for Being Gay


A gay Republican running for Virginia Senate faces an unusual attack ad shortly before voters head to the polls.

Republicans in the Fairfax County district that Patrick Forrest is running to represent were sent a mailer that highlighted an endorsement -- from the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund. The mailer claimed the endorsement is evidence that Forrest is too "liberal" to represent voters and attacked him for being "openly homosexual," according toThe Washington Post, which obtained a copy.

The mailer seemed to be promoting the Democratic candidate.

"A liberal Republican like Patrick Forrest is a greater threat to the conservative agenda than a Democrat will ever be,'' it said.

Forrest had already accused incumbent Democratic state senator Janet Howell of running a whisper campaign that employed the gay-baiting tactic. But Howell denied her campaign was involved then, and she also condemned the mailer this weekend.

"As you know, I deplore political tactics that personally disrespect candidates or their family members," Howell wrote to Forrest in a letter, according to a copy reported on by the Post. "Our campaign, as should all campaigns, sticks to the issues that are important to the community and impact our families."

Forrest didn't comment on the mailers, which arrived days before voters head to the polls Tuesday. But the Victory Fund said the mailer, sent by an anonymous person or group, is a dirty trick.

"Attacking openly gay candidates based on their sexual orientation is a timeworn strategy used by extremists," said spokesman Denis Dison, "but it's becoming less and less acceptable, so now you see cowards doing it under fake names and fake organizations."

In contrast, Forrest isn't hiding that he's gay, and neither is Victory Fund hiding its endorsement.

"We support outstanding candidates who are honest about being openly gay because we know that can change politics on both sides of the aisle," Dison told The Advocate. "The kind of politics you see demonstrated in that mail piece is exactly why this work is necessary and important."

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