Strange bedfellows: DeMaio, Hedgecock and Lysol Larry StirlingEditorial, Top Highlights Thursday, October 20th, 2011
As candidates in San Diego’s mayoral field begin the inevitable jockeying for position, I have gotten countless emails heralding the endorsement of one candidate or another by a political ally or prominent supporter. Endorsements are supposed to provide useful guidance to a voter about the candidate because they show what kind of people support him or her.
That is what is so troubling about recent endorsements of mayoral candidate Carl DeMaio. DeMaio has rolled out the endorsements of Roger Hedgecock and Larry Stirling; both of these men have a homophobic past in which they have expressed animosity and shown hostility toward the LGBT community.
As many of you know, Roger Hedgecock is a former San Diego mayor and a right-wing, conservative radio talk show host. Hedgecock has attacked the LGBT community many times on his talk show, as well as in print publications and during broadcast interviews.
Infamously, in 1994, Hedgecock petitioned for his group, “Normal People,” to be allowed to march in the Pride parade. Due to his group’s intention to protest and disrupt Pride, the Pride committee refused his request, resulting in a lawsuit filed in San Diego Superior Court. Hedgecock argued that the First Amendment guaranteed him the right to participate in the parade, and accused the LGBT community of discriminating against his group because it was comprised of heterosexuals.
Hedgecock also used the LGBT community as a wedge issue during the Gov. Gray Davis-recall election, stating that Davis was going to sign a bill giving rights to “transsexuals …. because he (Davis) needs the radical leftist gay and lesbian community to support him.”
Here are just a few of Hedgecock’s other notable quotes:
“This gay thing has gone too far. These activists think that beyond tolerance they can club 99 percent of Americans who aren’t gay into acceptance and approval … when you try and get me to say that gay sex is the same as any other kind of sex – that’s not the way I feel about it, and I don’t mind saying so.”
(The only reason gays want to be in the military is because) “… that’s where the boys are.”
“Just as illegal aliens seem to have more ‘rights’ than citizens do, homosexuals claim their ‘civil rights’ prevail over everyone else’s civil rights.”
That last one was in 2009. Mr. DeMaio, why would you want Hedgecock’s endorsement? What are you saying to your LGBT community? It’s more likely my question should be: Of more concern, just what is it you are trying to say to Hedgecock listeners?
In fact, Hedgecock saturated the airwaves and his Web site with information on the campaign to help generate 1.1 million signatures that qualified Prop. 8 for the ballot.
Hedgecock’s is an endorsement that Carl DeMaio should repudiate. Believe it or not, it gets worse. DeMaio has also accepted the endorsement of career Republican politician Larry Stirling, who has given the maximum allowable contribution to the DeMaio campaign. An article in the June 14, 1991 Los Angeles Times says it all in the first sentence “San Diego County Municipal Judge Larry W. Stirling displayed ignorance about AIDS when he ordered court workers to clean and mop the courtroom after an appearance by a defendant who had tested positive for the AIDS virus.”
Stirling’s response “Being HIV positive doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have a full-blown case of AIDS. If you saw this fellow, you’d think he was suffering from AIDS.” OK anything you say Judge Stirling. After the incident Stirling earned the derisive moniker “Lysol Larry.”
During his time in the California state Assembly and Senate, Stirling voted time and time again against legislation that was favorable to the LGBT community, and opposed HIV/AIDS funding. Stirling also signed the California Marriage Protection Pledge that was aimed at rolling back LGBT gains in terms of hospital visitation and domestic partnership benefits in 2004. Stirling also supported a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.
After a tension-filled meeting with Log Cabin Republicans to discuss Stirling’s stance on LGBT issues during his race against Chris Kehoe in 2004, Garrick Wilhelm, president of Log Cabin said, “It is difficult for members of the gay community – including Log Cabin Republicans – to support a candidate who doesn’t seem to want to support us.”
When a candidate asks for endorsement support, it is customary for the candidate to meet with the endorser. Hedgecock and Stirling still do not believe in LGBT equality. What did DeMaio discuss with homophobes Hedgecock and Stirling to secure their support? Was there a promise to put LGBT equality on the back burner if elected, or worse, a promise to not promote any items on the LGBT equality agenda? Politics makes strange bedfellows. In any case the LGBT equality agenda in San Diego will likely get screwed if Carl DeMaio is elected.
STAMPP CORBIN, Publisher
San Diego LGBT Weekly
Short URL: http://lgbtweekly.com/?p=16231