Kansas' leading anti-gay Democrat -- who now lives in a church -- is facing a competitive reelection campaign against both an openly gay son of a former Ku Klux Klan member and a Republican who headed a statewide progressive Democratic group until recently.
Rep. Jan Pauls (D-Hutchison) -- who was granted permission this week to move into an abandoned church she owns in order to run for reelection -- is facing a Democratic primary challenge from 28-year-old nursing assistant Erich Bishop. The winner will face Republican Dakota Bass in November.
Both Bishop and Bass are affiliated with the Kansas Equality Coalition, the state's LGBT advocacy organization.
"We want Jan Pauls gone," Tom Witt, executive director of the Kansas Equality Coalition, told HuffPost. "She is the most anti-LGBT legislator in Kansas. Every year she is on a crusade against equality and to roll back equality laws we already have. She needs to go."
Bishop and Bass served on the board of the coalition's chapter in Hutchison until recently and minutes of a recent meeting indicate the group will campaign for Bishop in the primary. Witt did not specifically say if the group encouraged either of them to run against Pauls.
Pauls has established herself as a vocal opponent of LGBT issues. She authored the state's law banning gay marriage and pushed a constitutional amendment on the subject. Last year, Pauls led a push to keep the state's sodomy ban on the books; one legislator told HuffPost on background that "she single-handily yanked" the sodomy repeal out of a bill. Pauls also has opposed adding sexual orientation to the state's civil rights laws.
The Equality Coalition asked the state Objections Board to bar Pauls' declaration of the abandoned church she and her husband own as her legal residence. Pauls made the move after redistricting left her home in a district containing only 4 percent of her old district. The church is in a district containing much of her old district.
Witt noted that the church is not habitable and has never been inspected for use as a residence, but Pauls has said she plans to renovate the building. The Objections Board -- made up of three Republican statewide officeholders -- voted unanimously to let Pauls live in the church, which local officials said is residential.
Pauls did not return calls for comment.
Bishop, who said he came out to his family fairly recently, said that much of his progressive politics was shaped by the fact that his father belonged to the KKK when Bishop was growing up. Bishop has stressed his commitment to civil rights issues and notes his father left the KKK several years ago.
"I grew up in a very strange environment," Bishop said. "Really it was the contradiction of those values in my household, and my coming out and realizing that I was gay that steered me to a more progressive line of thought."
Bishop noted he is not basing his campaign solely on LGBT issues. He stressed the need for property tax relief in the state, and opposes Pauls' votes to raise the state sales tax and lower corporate taxes. The district is centered on the south side of Hutchison, a primarily middle- and working-class neighborhood.
Bass, a railroad conductor and 2011 high school graduate, could not be reached for comment. The Hutchison News reported that he registered as a Republican in March. He was male co-chair of the Kansas Progressive Caucus, an arm of the state Democratic Party, until June 14, three days after he entered the race.
Below, some of the most outrageous comments made about the LGBT community:
Pastor Wooden Says Gay Sex Causes Gay Men To Need Diapers
Bryan Fischer On Why Gays Are Responsible For The Nazi Party
Rick Santorum: Why Gay Marriage Is Like 9/11
Santorum<a href="http://articles.mcall.com/2004-02-25/news/3521981_1_gay-marriage-defense-of-marriage-act-amendment-process" target="_hplink"> is quoted by the <em>Allentown Morning Call</em> as saying in 2004</a>, "This is an issue just like 9/11... We didn't decide we wanted to fight the war on terrorism because we wanted to. It was brought to us. And if not now, when? When the supreme courts in all the other states have succumbed to the Massachusetts version of the law?"
Linda Harvey: Don't Let Gay Doctors Attend To Your Children
Matt Barber: 'No Evidence' Gays Are Targets Of Violence, Discrimination
Stacey Campfield: 'Virtually Impossible' To Contract AIDS Through Heterosexual Sex
Tennessee's GOP State Senator Stacey Campfield <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/26/stacey-campfield-tennessee-senator-dont-say-gay-bill_n_1233697.html" target="_hplink">told HuffPost Gay Voices in January</a>: "Most people realize that AIDS came from the homosexual community -- it was one guy screwing a monkey, if I recall correctly, and then having sex with men. It was an airline pilot, if I recall." "My understanding is that it is virtually -- not completely, but virtually -- impossible to contract AIDS through heterosexual sex...very rarely [transmitted]." "What's the average lifespan of a homosexual? it's very short. Google it yourself."
Kevin McCullough: I Don't Believe You Can Be Gay
Rush Limbaugh On Why Gays Should Be Pro-Life
<a href="http://www.wnd.com/2003/01/16871/" target="_hplink">As quoted by <em>World Net Daily</em></a>: "Imagine we identify the gene -- assuming that there is one, this is hypothetical -- that will tell us prior to birth that a baby is going to be gay. Just like a baby is gonna be redheaded and freckled and maybe tend to be overweight and so we tell the parents that, and the parents say "Nope, don't wanna give birth to that child, [it's] not gonna have a fair chance. Who wants to give birth to an overweight, freckle-faced redhead?" Bam. So we abort the kid. Well, you add to this, let's say we discover the gene that says the kid's gonna be gay. How many parents, if they knew before the kid was gonna be born, [that he] was gonna be gay, they would take the pregnancy to term? Well, you don't know but let's say half of them said, "Oh, no, I don't wanna do that to a kid." [Then the] gay community finds out about this. The gay community would do the fastest 180 and become pro-life faster than anybody you've ever seen. ... They'd be so against abortion if it was discovered that you could abort what you knew were gonna be gay babies."
Scott Lively: Gay-Straight Alliances Are Designed To Recruit Kids
Tamara Scott: Gay Marriage Leads To Eiffel Tower Marriage
Michele Bachmann On Gay Lifestyles
"If you're involved in the gay and lesbian lifestyle, it's bondage," the former Minnesota senator and GOP ex-presidential candidate <a href="http://thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/michele-bachmanns-top-ten-anti-gay-quotes/politics/2011/06/02/21233" target="_hplink">is quoted as saying in 2004</a>. "It is personal bondage, personal despair and personal enslavement."
Tony Perkins: 'If You Want A Military That Just Does Parades,' Allow Gays To Openly Serve
Pat Roberston: 'Demonic Possession' Behind Homosexuality
James Robison: 'The Enemy' Is Using 'Glee' To Destroy America
Newt Gingrich: Gay Marriage A 'Perfect Example Of What I Mean By The Rise Of Paganism'
Daniel Lapin: Gays Should've Been Quarantined To fight AIDS
Pat Robertson Advises Father To Seek Ex-Gay Conversion For Gay Son
Bryan Fischer On How 'Poppers' And Promiscuity Causes AIDS
Liberty Counsel Warns That Macy's LGBT Policy Could Lead To Rape, Sexual Assault
Bryan Fischer: Adolf Hitler Was An 'Active Homosexual'
Alan Osmond: In Defense Of Reparation Therapy
Alan Osmond, who shot to fame in the late 1960s and early '70s as one of The Osmonds, took heat in November <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/09/alan-osmond-anti-gay-article_n_1084463.html" target="_hplink">for penning an article</a> that some in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) blogsophere deemed homophobic. In his article for<a href="http://thefamily.com/" target="_hplink"> the website The Family</a>, the 62-year-old Osmond brother, who is Mormon, not only argued that being gay is not genetic, but also comes out in defense of "reparation" therapy, which is sought by those seeking to change their sexual orientation: <blockquote>Research has NOT proved that homosexuality is genetic. Even more important, many researchers whose studies have been used to support a biological model for homosexuality have determined that their work has been MISINTERPRETED. What is clear is that homosexuality results from an interaction of social, biological, and psychological factors. These factors may include temperament, personality traits, sexual abuse, familial factors, and treatment by one's peers.</blockquote> Before noting that "treatment success rates that exceed 50 percent," Osmond continued: <blockquote>Developmental factors aside, can individuals diminish homosexual attraction and make changes in their lives? Yes. There is substantial evidence, both historical and current, to indicate this is the case.</blockquote>
Victoria Jackson: Homophobia Is 'Buzzword Of Liberal Agenda'
The former "Saturday Night Live" star and now Tea Party activist sparked national furor when she <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/03/22/victoria-jackson-slams-glee-showbiz-tonight_n_838862.html" target="_hplink">slammed the hit show "Glee" after it featured a kiss between two gay characters</a> in a column for WorldNetDaily. In the column, Jackson wrote in response to an emotional, long awaited kiss between Kurt (Chris Colfer) and Blaine (Darren Criss). "Did you see "Glee" this week? Sickening! And, besides shoving the gay thing down our throats, they made a mockery of Christians - again! I wonder what their agenda is? Hey, producers of "Glee" - what's your agenda? One-way tolerance?" She later appeared on "Showbiz Tonight" to clarify her thoughts. "Well, it doesn't matter what I think," Jackson said. "What matters is what the Bible says. And I'm really concerned about our country because immorality is, well, let's see: secular humanism rules the airwaves, and it's stealing the innocence away from this whole generation of children. My daughter is a teenager and I can't find any show that she can watch." With that diatribe, Jackson was asked, based on her remarks, both in the column and in the interview, whether she was homophobic. "That's a cute little buzzword of the liberal agenda," Jackson smirked. "Basically, the Bible says that homosexuality is a sin."
Brett Ratner: Rehearsal 'Is For Fags'
After<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/07/brett-ratner-gay-slur-apology_n_1080432.html" target="_hplink"> being asked whether he rehearses with his actors </a>before shooting a scene, the "Tower Heist" director Ratner infamously replied, "Rehearsing is for fags." The gaffe, made during a Q&A session following a "Tower Heist" screening in late 2011, seemed questionable even for the sharp-tongued Ratner, who is said to be in talks to direct an adaptation of the Broadway musical "Wicked." One audience member is said to have been so upset by the reference that they immediately left the session. Though he later resigned from co-producer of the 2012 Oscars telecast, he also apologized for the statement: "It was a dumb way of expressing myself," he wrote. "Everyone who knows me knows that I don't have a prejudiced bone in my body. But as a storyteller I should have been much more thoughtful about the power of language and my choice of words."
Ann Coulter Calls John Edwards A 'Faggot'
The right wing commentator raised eyebrows from both U.S. political parties in 2007 when she stated: "I was going to have a few comments on the other Democratic presidential candidate, John Edwards, but it turns out that you have to go into rehab if you use the word 'faggot,' so I'm - so, kind of at an impasse, can't really talk about Edwards, so I think I'll just conclude here and take your questions."