by Max Brantley
NEWS RELEASE FROM STONEWALL DEMOCRATS
The Arkansas Family Council has posted online responses to their candidate interviews. Certainly, candidate transparency is helpful as voters consider issues that impact their lives or those of their loved ones. Though Stonewall Democratic Caucus stands for equal rights of all Arkansans, we are predominantly interested in legislation that would prevent people from being treated differently based on sexual orientation or identity.
Currently it is perfectly legal in Arkansas to be fired from a job because one is presumed to be gay or lesbian. In the Family Council’s online videos, some candidates responded with misinformation when asked if they would support the Employee Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). The most troubling response came from Tim Wooldridge (Democratic candidate for Congress in the 1st district). When asked if he supported ENDA, Mr. Wooldridge said he believed that being gay or lesbian is a “choice of conduct” and should not be protected. When asked to respond, Eric McDaniel, President of Stonewall Democratic Caucus, said that most Americans support the rights of folks who work hard and play by the rules not to be fired because of their sexual orientation or identity. “I am appalled that Mr. Wooldridge is choosing to use LGBT Arkansans as scapegoats in his campaign,” said McDaniel. “And, with overwhelming evidence indicating that being gay or lesbian is something that is genetic, to say it is a choice defies logic. Lesbians and gays work hard to support their families, contribute to the community, and serve their country. To hear Wooldridge’s comments is both frustrating and saddening.”
More than 350 people attended a candidate forum sponsored by the Stonewall Democratic Caucus last Wednesday in Little Rock. This unprecedented turnout was more than matched by the presence of over 40 candidates for federal and state office. Federal legislative candidates were asked their position on ENDA, while state legislative candidates were asked of their support for legislation offering protections to lesbian, gay, and transgendered people living in Arkansas. “Fortunately, the supportive responses of all legislative candidates unanimously contradicted that of Mr. Wooldridge,” said McDaniel. There are currently 202 Co-Sponsors for ENDA in the House and 45 Co-Sponsors in the Senate.