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COMMENTARY: Susan Jester's open letter to Stampp Corbin

(Editor's note: Susan Jester, who is head of the San Diego chapter of Log Cabin Republicans, submitted this open letter to Stampp Corbin, publisher of LGBT Weekly. Letter writers are entitled to their opinions; they do not necessary reflect the views of SDGLN, but should be heard by the LGBT community.)

Open letter to Stampp Corbin:

Next week we will celebrate the birthday of civil rights icon and hero of American freedom and liberty, Martin Luther King Jr.

Dr. King changed the course of history in our country and led and lifted the African-American community up and out of inequality, oppression and bigotry to the higher mountain of equality of opportunity, freedom and liberty. He led by example and his words were always wrapped in the basic Christian tenets of loving God and your neighbors as yourself and loving your enemies.

He achieved his goals by reaching out with peaceful but determined and purposeful protests to win the hearts and minds of his fellow Americans in joining the fight for freedom and equality. He believed that if one person was not free, all were not free. In spite of the most severe beatings, murders, public humiliations and degrading police tactics, he always encouraged his followers to consider that “when evil men plot, good men must plan. When Evil men burn and bomb, good men must build and bind. When evil men shout ugly words of hatred, good men must commit themselves to the glories of love.” It is in the spirit of the words of MLK that I write this letter to you.

First, let me address your call for mayoral candidate Kevin Faulconer to show leadership and “break with your Republican Party with respect to LGBT civil rights.” Perhaps you need to go back and examine the voting record of Mr. Faulconer with regard to our issues over the seven years he has been on City Council. Nothing speaks leadership louder than his votes in support of repealing DADT, repealing DOMA, voting against Prop 8 and his support of ENDA. Yes, he did change his original vote on marriage equality, but that is no different than the greatest Evolver-in-Chief, Barack Obama, who miraculously changed his position three months before an election. When Faulconer and Mayor Jerry Sanders did the same, both decisions and votes went totally against the official Republican Party position.

Did you ever ask Jerry Sanders to renounce the Republican Party, or Bonnie Dumanis, or Ron Roberts? Why are you holding Faulconer to a different standard? MLK said that “the ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. Kevin Faulconer has been on the right side of our issues for seven years, and when the moment of controversy arrived, he stepped up and demonstrated true leadership on City Council and leadership in the GOP. Today he continues to stay on the right side of history by voting for the Harvey Milk Street and the Pride Flag as well as thousands of personal Council office dollars for The Center and in CDBG grant money for The Center and other Hillcrest improvements.

Faulconer is not a newcomer to Hillcrest or our LGBT Center and community activities. I believe he has participated in more San Diego Pride parades than David Alvarez. I believe he has attended several Harvey Milk Breakfasts and he also was in the serving line at The Center's Thanksgiving dinner this year, sponsored the Imperial Court's toy drive at Christmas, and yes, went on a business walk with me in December visiting over 40 businesses on Dec. 20. Alvarez chose The Salvation Army dinner serving line on Thanksgiving, not exactly your favorite organization.

Using your "flawed leadership" logic, will you be calling for David Alvarez to renounce his Catholic faith, or boycott the Salvation Army dinner next year, or perhaps President Obama should renounce his Christian faith, or Harry Reid renounce Mormonism. I know how we all feel about the Mormon Church and its funding of anti-marriage equality initiatives. Then perhaps you should also ask Alvarez to renounce and return the support of the labor unions whose support he enjoys and who spent thousands of dollars in 2012-13 gay bashing and gay baiting Carl DeMaio and Dwayne Crenshaw.

Kevin Faulconer coming out to learn more in-depth about the LGBT business community and the Hillcrest businesses and their needs and issues is not an indication that he is detached; to the contrary, it is a sign of respect and genuine desire to work with our community in creating jobs and economic opportunity, which is his overall vision for the City and all communities. Out of the 40+ business owners and managers we spoke to Dec. 20, not one question was put forward about Kevin’s position on "Duck Dynasty" or his Republican Party affiliation.

Second, I agree with you that the "Duck Dynasty" Phil Robertson’s remarks in GQ were “outlandishly inaccurate and offensive.” I do defend his right to his opinion and gross misinterpretation of Bible Scripture, just as I also defend your right to publish, as you did frequently in 2012, gross misrepresentations of Carl DeMaio’s stand on our LGBT issues, and equally outlandish inaccurate remarks and offensive misrepresentations of DeMaio’s mythical relationship to the Tea Party. I am equally offended but support each person’s right to be offensive.

Your attempt to tie Kevin Faulconer to the Far Right of the Republican Party and "Duck Dynasty" star Phil Robertson is another sad attempt to misrepresent a candidate’s position and voting record, and smear a very good and decent man of integrity. Your judgment and record of promoting and electing leaders nationally and locally certainly could be called into question. The President you claimed to play a major role in electing was just voted “liar of the year” and the Mayor you claim the LGBT victory for is currently under indictment, wearing an ankle bracelet and is a national embarrassment for San Diego. Then there was that faux recall effort in July where your personal integrity was on the line.

Faulconer absolutely showed his integrity and his true colors by working with Todd Gloria to bring about a solution that was good for our city. He has a long history of working across party lines to do what is best for the citizens, including cleaning up beaches, making the environment safe and yes creating jobs and economic growth.

Third, as far as who speaks for whom in our community, more than half the time exit polls taken over the last 20 years show the LGBT vote going 35% to 40% GOP. Reagan and Bush 41 got 40%; 32 governorships were won with 42% of the LGBT vote; Giuliani got 55%, McCain 35%. Even Romney, according to the CBS exit poll, got 22% of the LGBT vote. All these facts are usually suppressed and denied by gay journalists and publishers such as you, but that doesn’t change the facts, including the fact that Prop 8 was passed in large part with the help of the African-American evangelical vote that pulled the lever for Obama and FOR Prop 8.

Indeed, the Human Rights Campaign has moved the LGBT agenda forward for many years, but not without the help and support of the National Log Cabin Republican organization, which was established in 1978 and who was shoulder to shoulder with them in working with the Republicans on the Hill to repeal DADT and DOMA. We are not the enemy; we are your LGBT brothers and sisters who simply have a different political ideology about the role of government in our lives as citizens. Right now the LGBT media controlled by the gay Gestapo thought-control police are nurturing a culture of lies and denial for all. That is extremely unhealthy for our community and it is total perversion of inclusion.

I believe it's time, and hopefully our community has matured enough, to begin to figure out a way to start a dialogue with the folks who do make a difference when it comes to elections and our LGBT community. It is a total misrepresentation to assume or paint the entire LGBT community as a monolith of the Democrat Party. There are all different political rainbow colors in our community and intolerance for any of them should not be tolerated any longer. If we are to win marriage equality on a state-by-state basis, like Utah, we need to have a different strategy than trying to shout down our opponents. I have always believed that creating alliances and winning hearts and minds was in the long run a much more effective way to move LGBT rights forward. Part of that process going forward is going to have to include a dialogue with the Evangelical community.

Finally, as we honor MLK on Jan. 20, let’s take to heart his words: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.” I’m calling on you, Stampp Corbin, to follow the example of our great leader Martin Luther King Jr. and renounce your hatred, renounce your bigotry, renounce your intolerance, stop the demonizing, stop perverting and subverting the truth to further your own political agenda, stop the politics of personal destruction and be a leader and a publisher who moves our community out of the darkness and forward into the future. “In his words, “That old law about ‘an eye for an eye’ leaves everybody blind."


Susan Jester
San Diego

As a matter of full disclosure, SDGLN Publisher Johnathan Hale has a personal relationship with Carl DeMaio.