On gay-bashing — and my mistake

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EDITOR’S NOTE: An earlier version of this column, posted online and in the early edition of the Chicago Sun-Times, contained inaccurate information. The Sun-Times regrets and apologizes for the error.

I made a serious mistake in an earlier version of this column. It is a mistake that is mine and mine alone and for which I apologize to Dan Proft, political operative and WLS radio talk show host.

What I said in that earlier column was that Proft’s Liberty Principles PAC had issued a homophobic attack mailer showing two men kissing with the line, “You can kiss the GOP goodbye with officials who vote like Democrats.”

The ad attacks Republican state Rep. Ron Sandack, one of only three state reps in his party to support gay marriage.

The ad was not Proft’s. It was sent out by another group, the Illinois Family Action group.

Proft argues there is no excuse for my error. He is correct. There is not.

That said, there was more to the original column, and let’s consider that. In my view, some of the mailers sent by Proft’s own PAC, Liberty Principles, appear homophobic.

That includes a mailer against Sandack that shows Mayor Rahm Emanuel in a leotard and a line reading, “Now we know where Ron Sandack learned how to dance.”

Mr. Proft, in a followup email to me, writes, “I do not believe that Rahm is gay.”

Another image on a Proft mailer shows a photo of Sandack in the foregound and a gay activist in the background with the headline, “Strange Bedfellows.”

Proft argues I misinterpret that as well, saying the mailer “chronicled (the gay activist’s) radical activism, house being raided by the FBI … …comparison of Scott Walker to Mubarak and the like.”

Proft adds in his email to me, “You want to make the race about gay marriage. I do not. … To accuse me of gay bashing is little more than conservative bashing.” Noting that he has supported two candidates who either endorsed either civil unions or same-sex marriage, Proft maintains it is economic policy principles that guide his commitment to a candidate.

“I’m a gay basher?” he writes. “Utter and complete bulljive.”

Sandack, the incumbent state rep, is running against challenger Keith R. Matune, a teacher. Both are from Downers Grove.

Matune argues that Sandack has changed his mind on issues from pension reform to same sex marriage.

Sandack argues he has always supported pension reform but did, in fact, change his view on gay marriage after listening to family, friends and neighbors.

Matune supports marriage only between a man and a woman.

This campaign has been brutal. In response to the anti-Sandack mailers, Sandack’s campaign has raised the issue of Matune’s early brushes with the law 20 years ago, around the time he was in college. Charges of bad checks, trespassing and public nudity. Matune told me he thought all those charges had been expunged, though they all have not. And he added that they were college pranks, mistakes made when he was much younger.

My mistake — citing a mailer as Dan Proft’s when it wasn’t — can’t be chalked up to youthful error. It was sloppy. And so I apologize again. Not only to Dan Proft.

But to my readers.

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