Tea Party sinks to new low with attacks on gay pride attendees

When I heard some local Tea Party zealots had worked themselves into a frothy lather over a Republican political misstep, I naively assumed it was over the revelation that Gov. Rick Scott had been spotted at a Fort Lauderdale Starbucks sipping a chai tea with soy milk, cinnamon and Truvia.

I mean, a conservative can lose his Fox News Karl Rove Card for that. Next thing you know, the guv will be slapping a Sierra Club bumper sticker on a new Prius and swapping NPR for Rush on his auto-tune.

Of course, branding someone a liberal because of a beverage choice is ridiculous. A joke.

Some of the Tea Party's recent repugnant homophobic behavior is no joke.

These self-proclaimed watchdogs of true conservatism criticized two local Republicans for appearing at the annual Stonewall Anniversary/Gay Pride parade in Wilton Manors.

As my colleague Anthony Man reported, an attack flier against Broward County Commissioner Chip LaMarca and Broward School Board member Heather Brinkworth was distributed at a monthly Republican meeting. Local Tea Party leader Danita Kilcullen said she wasn't responsible for the flier, but she sent out an email version with the same photos that began, "Whores chasing whores, if you will."

The flier was headlined, "Is this the Republican Party you signed up for?" and showed photos of LaMarca and Brinkworth at the parade, along with a separate photo of four scantily clad men.

"What kind of people do you want responsible for your child's education?" the flier asked. "Is it worth selling your soul to the devil to get maybe 10 percent of a 1 percent homosexual voting block?" The flier also included a stat about $15 billion in annual health care costs "due to male on male sexually transmitted diseases."

Gee, if we're going to spotlight health costs for segments of our population, why not start with the obese, with annual diabetes costs at $245 billion, and heart disease/stroke at $312 billion?

At the meeting, another Tea Party leader, Jack Gillies, made remarks condemning same-sex marriage and cited a Bible passage from Leviticus calling homosexuality "an abomination." (He didn't mention the passages that called eating shellfish and pork abominations, too.)

So excuse me while I eat a bacon-wrapped shrimp and wonder: What year do some of these Tea Partiers think this is, 1773? And do they really think this is a recipe to electoral success?

Good for LaMarca (the only Republican county commissioner) and Brinkworth (whose School Board race is nonpartisan) for reaching out to all constituents in a diverse community. Hopefully they'll pay no mind to these hypocritical extremists in their party.

After all, the Fort Lauderdale Tea Party's own website proclaims that it believes in rights based on these principles: "Limited government, individual freedom, traditional values."

What could be more traditional than two people wanting to marry and start a family, and having the individual freedom to do it without interference from the government?

mmayo@tribune.com; 954-356-4508

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