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A Texas Republican has come out as gay after a whisper campaign threatened to derail his reelection the state's board of education.
George Clayton sent an email to reporters last week with the subject line "sexual orientation," according toTheTexas Tribune. And in that email he confirmed that he is gay -- which had until then been the subject of rumor.
"It has come to my attention that one of my opponents in my bid for reelection to the State Board of Education and certain member(s) of the Golden Corridor Republican Women's Club are questioning my sexual orientation," Clayton wrote in the email, reported by TFN Insider. "So as to avoid the tyranny of misinformation and innuendo in this political race, I wish to say that I, in fact, do have a male partner who lives with me in my home in Richardson, Texas."
Clayton pointed the finger at Susan Fletcher, the president of the women's group he mentioned, for having questioned his "living arrangements" in an interview she distributed with his opponent, Tincy Miller.
"What are his living arrangements in Richardson?" asked Fletcher. "With whom does he live? It's not appropriate to comment further -- but this needs to be investigated."
Clayton in his email sounds hopeful that his admission will put the issue to rest. But this could be just the beginning. The Tribune reports that one Republican blogger has already withdrawn her endorsement based on Clayton's confirmed sexual orientation.
And TFN Insiderreports that conservatives are spreading the fear of gay people becoming "far too aggressive in trying to convince others to accept the LGBT lifestyle," according to the words of one local blogger it called out.
"I hope this frank announcement satisfies Tincy Miller and the ladies associated with the Golden Corridor organization," Clayton had said. "All of us can now move on with discussions concerning education instead of being overly occupied with my personal life."
In Virginia, Republican state Senate candidate Patrick Forrest had faced a whisper campaign this election cycle about his sexual orientation despite being openly gay. An anonymous group or individual was trying to draw attention to his personal life as a way of discouraging Republicans from voting for their party's candidate, and ads even suggested a Democrat would be better for conservatives. Forrest lost the race by a wide margin.