June 12, 2012

IconDisappointment abounds in Colorado, U.S.A.

The Denver Post reports that Colorado State Representative Marsha Looper is “very, very disappointed” that her gay son was outed via an email making the rounds amongst El Paso County voters. The original email was sent to her campaign, but it went more viral when Looper’s campaign manager, Lana Fore-Warkocz, forwarded it on to Looper’s supporters.

Initially one could see how the campaign manager thought it was a good idea to pass the email along, considering it praises Looper’s actions during a recent House Appropriation Committee hearing. The author praises God, as well, in the email, seemingly overwhelmed with gratitude that Representative Looper voted against the bill in committee, despite having a “homosexual son”. The problem is that even though many in the State Capitol are aware that Marsha Looper’s son is gay, he has apparently requested privacy and she has abided by that request, not dragging her family, or her son’s sexuality, into her campaign. Her efforts to protect his privacy became moot once her campaign manager blasted the email out.

Unfortunately the bill died at the initial session, after no votes were cast, and then again at a special session re-hearing the bill, which killed it before it could even get to House floor. Representative Don Coram, who also has a gay son, said he was against the bill on the principle of upholding the 2006 vote by Colorado to ban gay marriage. The aforementioned email also praises God and Representative Coram for voting against civil unions.

As disappointed as Representative Looper is that her campaign manager did not respect the boundaries between policy discussions and personal family issues, I can’t help but wonder if she is anywhere near as disappointed as her son. And why stop at her son? Why not wonder about Representative Coram’s son whose own sexuality is just as well known as his father’s vote against civil unions? For that matter, why stop at Colorado? Surely there are Representatives in other US states whose own campaign issues squander the rights of family members.

As unfortunate as it is that the privacy of her son and family was cracked without much apparent forethought, I imagine it is not as unfortunate as being a gay man whose own mother does not support his equal rights. I remember how I felt when I learned that my own parents voted for the CA Prop 8 Marriage Ban in 2008, and “disappointed” does not even begin to cover it. I was devastated, and confused, and had a hard time wrapping my brain around my parents denying me and my sister the same rights that their friends’ kids had. And yet they are just voters. Citizens. They are not State Representatives who could maybe, just maybe, be a part of history by standing up for equality, and the rights of their children.

If Representative Looper is not willing to stand up for her own son’s rights, I hope she will at least choose to uphold his request for privacy from here on out.

 

 

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Maria Burnham

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