Anti-Gay Legislator Larry BrownA North Carolina State legislator called gay constituents "fruitloops" and "queers" in an e-mail sent to 60 different people from his e-mail account last week. So why is State Rep. Larry Brown still holding his head up high claiming he's done nothing wrong?
According to Brown, because "it was not sent to a public group."
OK, so using hate speech in a private e-mail makes you a mensch -- after all, you didn't send it straight to "the gays" themselves.
Paging reality Mr. Brown. A 60-person receipt list makes it public. So does being a politician working on the public payroll, whose activities on state time are largely public record.
The Winston-Salem Journal says the representative was responding to an e-mail announcing Democrat House Speaker Joe Hackney was slated to receive an award from Equality North Carolina, a statewide group that lobbies the General Assembly on behalf of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people.
"I hope all the queers are thrilled to see him. I am sure there will be a couple legislative fruitloops there in the audience.”
That a Republican Senator in the conservative state of North Carolina would say it isn't terribly surprising. Nor is the fact that his Republican colleagues are mixed on their response. Some are simply claiming Brown "wouldn't say it" to avoid actually condemning the terminology.
But House Minority Leader Paul Stam's defense of Brown is puzzling at best. Moronic at worst.
He told the News Observer that only people who received the e-mail have the right to be offended.
So, by that rubric, only people killed on 9/11 get to be mad at the terrorists? Only people who have a child in a public school can be incensed about the state of public education, and only people who eat spinach can be disturbed by a salmonella recall on the stuff being lumped onto the other food issues in this country?
In an e-mail written to 60 different people, there is no illusion of privacy. His thoughts were made public to 60 different people.
When a politician is elected, what he says is public fodder the minute anyone makes it public. Period.
Image via North Carolina General Assembly