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Apology for Antigay Flier — Too Little, Too Late?

Apology for Antigay Flier — Too Little, Too Late?


Houston Independent School District trustee Manuel Rodriguez Jr., who narrowly won reelection Tuesday, has apologized for a campaign flier that was widely perceived as homophobic.

The flier said his opponent, Ramiro Fonseca, has "spent years advocating for gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgender rights ... not kids." It suggested that Rodriguez, as a married father and grandfather, was a better candidate than Fonseca, because the latter has a male partner and was endorsed by the Houston GLBT Political Caucus. The literature led the Houston Chronicle to rescind its endorsement of Rodriguez, but unofficial results indicate Fonseca lost the race by 24 votes out of 4,800 cast.

Rodriguez issued a statement Wednesday saying, "I am aware that some people have said they were offended by one of my ads, and I apologize to all of those people," the Chroniclereports.

The apology did not satisfy Fonseca, who told the paper, "I think the hurt has been deep in the community." It also did not satisfy many other gay rights advocates, some of whom plan to address the matter at tonight's school board meeting.

One of them, GLBT caucus member Mike Pomeroy, said of Rodriguez, "I don't think he gets it. He was throughout the weekend saying, 'I don't know what's wrong with this. It's the truth.' And he was still handing out the flier at the polls. This is all coming a little bit too late."

Fonseca is considering asking for a recount; he received more votes Election Day than Rodriguez, but early voting and mail-in ballots put the incumbent over the top. Fonseca told the Chronicle he would wait for the final tally, including outstanding mail and provisional ballots, before making a decision. However, a recount is unlikely to change the result, observers said.

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