Thursday, September 2, 2010

GOP senate candidate apologizes for anti-gay Facebook comment

A Republican state Senate candidate from Red Lodge issued an apology Wednesday after posting a anti-gay comment on Facebook.

Jason Priest, who is running in Senate District 30 against Democrat Aaron Kampfe, also of Red Lodge, posted the comment in response to Facebook user Michael J. Morse’s status update criticizing Obama’s address to the nation Tuesday night.

The comment has since been removed, but here’s a snapshot of the original comment:

I'm not going to speculate about the intended meaning of Priest's comment. If you want to know what he meant by "reach around" or "dry thumb," you can ask Priest himself (as I did but got no answer), or look it up.

Kim Abbott of the Montana Human Rights Network had this to say about Priest’s ill-advised post:

“When someone who is running for elective office is using anti-gay slurs and questionable judgment about what they say in the public sphere—and I think we can all agree that new media is public—it’s problematic.

We have really important legislation coming up in the next session that will protect lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgender Montanans, and it just becomes even more important—when you see this stuff coming from someone who wants to be in the legislature—that we pass these protections.”

Here’s Priest’s apology:

“Recently I posted a comment online that was offensive to some of those who read it. My passion for controlling spending overcame my better judgment and my crude metaphor understandably detracted from the point of my comment. It was a poor choice of words and I apologize to anyone I have offended.

Given that the Montana Republican Party has endorsed a platform that calls for criminalizing “homosexual acts,” it’s not surprising to see such a "poor choice of words," coming from a GOP candidate, Abbot said.

“I’m glad that he recognized that an apology was in order, but it’s still upsetting that this is in his day-to-day dialogue. The fact that he would use a slur like ‘big homo’ is problematic for a candidate who wants to represent an entire district at the capitol.”

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