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Apology for Antigay Flier — Too Little, Too Late?

Apology for Antigay Flier — Too Little, Too Late?

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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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Trudy Ring

Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.
Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.