Saturday, April 14, 2007

Indiana Family Action PAC Targets Two Mayoral Races

The Indiana Family Action PAC, a religious right organization with ties to Curt Smith's Indiana Family Institute, has weighed in with endorsements in two Indiana mayoral races. The group has endorsed two Republicans, Juan Manigault for South Bend mayor and Matt Kelty for Fort Wayne mayor.

The Indiana Family Action PAC, which advocates a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriages in Indiana and to deprive other rights for unmarried couples in Indiana, recently helped fund a full-page ad in the South Bend Tribune demanding House Speaker Pat Bauer allow a vote on SJR-7 and accusing him of playing politics with the amendment.

Last year, South Bend narrowly voted down an ordinance which would have prohibited discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Current South Bend Mayor Stephen Luecke supported the ordinance. The religious right played a key role in the ordinance's defeat. The Indiana Family Action PAC is no doubt counting on Manigault, if elected, to fight the enactment of a human rights ordinance.

The conservative Matt Kelty is opposing a more moderate Republican, Nelson Peters, in the May GOP primary in Fort Wayne. Fort Wayne already has a human rights ordinance barring discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Will Kelty seek to repeal it if he becomes mayor?

Interestingly, the Indiana Family Action PAC endorsed only one local candidate in last year's general election. The Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette reported on the endorsement at the time:

The Indiana Family Action Political Action Committee on Monday traveled to Fort Wayne to endorse Republican Allen County sheriff candidate Ken Fries.

The group, based in Indianapolis, has spent about $12,000 on TV ads for Fries, according to Curt Smith, Indiana Family Institute president. The committee is the political arm of the institute.

What makes the endorsement unique is that Smith said it likely will be the only endorsement in the state for a county election. Smith said his group was contacted by some of its donors to speak out about the race, so they examined newspaper articles and other material to make the endorsement.

Smith said he had not spoken to Democrat Tina Taviano, but would welcome the opportunity even after the endorsement was made.

Although the article doesn't mention it, Fries' opponent, Tina Taviano, ran as an openly lesbian candidate. It would seem Smith's PAC was more concerned about making sure a lesbian was not elected to public office in Indiana than it was in securing the election of Fries.

If you live in either South Bend or Fort Wayne and care about civil rights for gays, lesbians and transgender persons, you would be well-advised to support a candidate other than Manigault or Kelty. You can rest assured both candidates intend to pursue Smith's intolerant, homobigoted agenda if they are elected mayor of their respected cities.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for this post! Although after reading it I feel very sick. I've already started getting the message out to some folks in South Bend. I will check in with the Mayor Luecke campaign this week. The South Bend Mayoral candidates will be at IUSB this Thursday, April 19, for a debate at 5:30. A good showing would be welcome. Please get the word out if possible.

credo said...

Kelty is against same sex marriage and Peters is not? Be for real.

Mitch Harper is even and balanced blogger in the blogosphere..Be for real.

FWOB is riding that Peters' horse in this Republican battle. It's hard to welcome an outsider that going against the status quo.

Sorry Mitch..but it's the truth..