50 years ago the Democratic Party was saddled with a bigoted Southern Governor, George Wallace of Alabama. Wallace was famous for his fervent opposition to desegregation. He even ran for president four times on a racist platform.
George Wallace repeatedly lashed out at black Americans, and at his first inauguration said, "Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever. He believed that blacks were not equal.
Now the Republican Party has its own 21st Century George Wallace, another Southern Governor who has also run for president, Mike Huckabee of Arkansas.
During a recent interview with the College of New Jersey's the Perspective, Governor Huckabee, you compared the relationships of gay Americans to that of drug use, incest and polygamy.
As if that comment was not enough, you went on to ridicule gay parents and gay foster parents with a snide and nasty comment, "Children are not puppies. This is not a time to see if we can experiment and find out, how does this work?"
You have caused tremendous pain by your widely covered comments, even to people whom you know well, like former Vice President Dick Cheney. His younger daughter, Mary and her partner Heather Poe have a three year old son and another baby on the way. Are you referring to Dick Cheney's grandchildren as "puppies?
Governor Huckabee, you represent the absolute wrong direction for the Republican Party.
President Ronald Reagan At the end of a meeting with gay and lesbian leaders in his Los Angeles office, Reagan smiled and said, "Don't think we can allow something like that to happen here in California." He was denouncing the Briggs Initiative, Proposition 6, which he opposed and would have permitted the firing of gay teachers in California.
President Gerald Ford told Detroit News columnist Deb Price in a telephone interview "I think they (same-sex couples) should be treated equally. Period," he said. "...I have a longstanding record in favor of legislation to do away with discrimination."
Senator Barry Goldwater said, "To see the party that fought communism and big government now fighting the gays, well, that's just plain dumb."
When you were Governor of Arkansas, you commuted the sentence of Maurice Clemmons after only 11 years of his 108 year prison sentence.
After Clemmons was paroled in 2000, he was in and out of jail for the next nine years. During that period he beat up two police officers, molested two very young girls, and raped another. On November 29, 2009 he brutally gunned down four police officers, execution style, in Lakewood, Washington while they were having breakfast.
I have known far too many victims of violent crime, whose loved ones were murdered -- their lives destroyed forever.
Former Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis allowed convicted murderer Willie Horton a weekend furlough from prison. Horton was supposed to serve life in prison without the possibility of parole for the murder of 17-year-old Joey Fournier.
Instead, Horton escaped during his furlough and remained a fugitive for almost a year. On April 3, 1987, Horton terrorized a Maryland couple in their home. He twice raped Angie Miller, after pistol-whipping, knifing, binding, and gagging her fiancé, Cliff Barnes. This went on for hours, until Barnes managed to escape and call police.
I know this tragedy too well. I ran the Committee for the Presidency 22 years ago that let the world know how a Governor's actions forever destroyed another family. I worked with Cliff and Angie (Miller) Barnes (they later married) and Donna Fournier Cuomo (Joey's sister), the crime victims of Willie Horton. I helped them tell their stories.
Governor Huckabee, I would hope that you would treat all Americans as equal. Follow the lead of President's Ronald Reagan, Gerald Ford and Senator Barry Goldwater, and not emulate Governor's Wallace and Dukakis.
You owe the millions of gay and lesbian families in this country an apology.
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