A pair of statewide conservative, pro-family organizations have given their support to Republican mayoral candidate Juan Manigault.
The endorsements were made by Indiana Family Action and the American Family Association, both based in Indianapolis and both related to national conservative organizations.
Indiana Family Action is affiliated with Dr. James Dobson's national Focus on the Family group, while American Family Association of Indiana has ties with the national American Family Association headed by the Rev. Donald Wildmon in Tupelo, Miss . . .
Micah Clark, Indiana AFA director, said in a statement released by the candidate that he is "very excited about the candidacy of Juan Manigault."
Clark described Manigault as someone who can "reach across political, social, cultural and racial boundaries to build a consensus among all types of voters who share his common sense values, his work ethic and his vision to make South Bend a better place to work, live, worship and raise a family."
Swayze said that the two state groups combined last month to pay for a full-page newspaper advertisement in The Tribune that supported a proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.
Indiana Family Action is a PAC. There is a separate AFA of Indiana PAC as well, but the news story doesn't indicate it was the PAC which made the endorsement. Even if the AFA's PAC made the endorsement instead of its nonprofit sister, it is still a problem because a 501(c)(3), unlike 501(c)(4) organizations, are not allowed to form political action committees under federal tax rules. The endorsement statements supportive of Manigault's candidacy are also expressed by Micah Clark, who most assuredly serves as the nonprofit's executive director, further blurring the lines between any distinction between action taken by the nonprofit organization versus the PAC.
Reading Wensit's story makes it clear why the AFA is backing Manigault: he's anti-gay. Wensit reports on a question Manigault was recently asked about his position on a human rights ordinance which was narrowly voted down by the South Bend Council last year:
During a forum for mayoral candidates Thursday at Indiana University South Bend, Manigault was asked in an audience-submitted question whether he could "separate your personal religious beliefs from your duties as a civic leader," and "how does this play into your views on discrimination against the GLBT (gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender) community?"
Manigault said that as mayor, he would be mayor of all citizens. "But I'm also a man of faith, and that guides my decision-making.""I'm a man of color. I know what discrimination is," Manigault said.
The candidate said he does not believe in special rights for any particular group, other than groups that "it's obvious, like myself, or African-Americans, or women."
For groups that it's hard to determine what their sexual preferences (are), I don't support special rights for that population," Manigault said, "because I believe strongly, and in my heart, that those individuals are already protected under the Constitution."
Manigault said he would support and work hard to ensure that every citizen in the city is not discriminated against, "but I will not support special rights."
Manigault's primary opponent, Terry Miller, indicated he opposed discrimination but had some problems with how it was defined in the defeated ordinance. "Miller said the definition of bisexual is difficult and has not been defined well in state law." "That whole definition of what bisexual is has got to be worked on before the city can add that to the sexual discrimination laws that we have," he said."I'm not sure what the answer is for that, but I think that is why the city council did not go forward with that last year." I'm not quite sure what Miller is trying to say here, but I think he may be a little confused.
Mayor Stephen Luecke, for his part, remains unabashed in his support of a human rights ordinance. "When I pledge allegiance to the flag, I say 'with liberty and justice for all,' and that's what it means to me," Luecke said."There should not be any discrimination in this community against people because of sexual preference."I would support an ordinance to that effect. There should not be discrimination in terms of housing, there should not be discrimination in terms of employment."It's very important for all individuals to have the opportunity that is promised to all individuals in this country," Luecke said.