Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Rep. Hennessey blasted by gay newspaper

Rep. Tim Hennessey, R-Chester County, who defeated an openly-gay opponent to win re-election to the Pennsylvania Legislature on Nov. 4, has come under fire by the editor of a gay publication.

James Duggan, publisher/editor of QUEERtimes Weekly, submitted a Letter to the Editor to The Pottstown Mercury criticizing Hennessey for referencing QUEERtimes Weekly in a political mailing.

While Hennessey never directly made Democratic opponent Fern Kaufman's sexual orientation an issue, Duggan says the reference to QUEERtimes Weekly was intended to influence voters.

From Duggan's letter, which was directed at Hennessey:
"Since you and I have never met I can only infer that you must consider the majority of homosexuals, bisexuals and transgendered individuals to be left-wing extremists. If this is your position sir, then it sounds a bit convoluted. Just as there is no one political or social philosophy that encompasses the heterosexual community, the same holds true for us. We are as diverse as any community in this great nation."
Kaufman did not mention her sexual orientation on her Web site, but sent an e-mail to potential supporters before Election Day saying she was the only openly gay candidate seeking a seat in the state Legislature.

Hennessey, who has held the 26th House District seat since 1993, narrowly won re-election, defeating political newcomer Kaufman by a 16,578 to 15,275 vote margin.

In addition to criticizing Hennessey, Duggan says in his letter that Pennsylvania denies "basic civil rights" to gay citizens and needs to be more tolerant of the gay community.

Read the full letter at The Mercury Web site.

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