Jerame Davis

IN-03 Is Tom Hayhurst running homophobic ads?

Filed By Jerame Davis | October 30, 2006 4:18 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics, Politics
Tags: Advance Indiana, attack ads, homophobic behavior, Mark Foley

Watch this ad from Dr. Tom Hayhurst (D). He is running for Congress in the Indiana 3rd Congressional district against incumbent Mark Souder (R):

Hat tip to Advance Indiana for the original video...

Several, including AI and a number of us here at bilerico, feel this ad plays to fears of homosexuality and the general misunderstanding of the difference between pedophiles and gays and lesbians. By claiming that Foley committed "crimes against nature" the Hayhurst ad appears to be reinforcing this in the minds of voters.

I spoke with the Hayhurst campaign this afternoon. Peter Clerkin, Dr. Hayhurst's campaign director explained the campaign's take on the ad. "Up here, most people view things differently," he said. "When they think of Foley, they don't think 'homosexual,' they think 'pedophile.'"

Clerkin went on to explain that the ad was pointing to the "culture of corruption" that his candidate's opponent was part of in Washington. He also pointed out that if anyone was linking pedophilia and homosexuality, it was Mark Souder who has equated them publicly on the campaign trail.

I asked the campaign if perhaps there was a "wink-and-a-nod" understanding when the ad was being shot. Again, Clerkin denied any such idea. He reiterated to me that Dr. Hayhurst "does not condone such bigotry."

Clerkin also pointed out that Dr. Hayhurst was the deciding vote to add sexual orientation protections to the Ft. Wayne human rights ordinance as a member of the Ft. Wayne City Council. He says the opposition has been using that vote as a wedge in the current campaign.

The campaign seemed to understand how the ad could be misconstrued, but didn't offer to change it or apologize for the contents.

Dr. Hayhurst could win this seat. In fact, he's out-raising his opponent and the polls are typically within the margin of error.

UPDATE: Masson's Blog has a new poll that shows Souder as winning by 12 points. It looks like the race has changed recently. Could this be why the campaign is running such a controversial ad?

Let's hear your thoughts. Is the ad homophobic? Does it play to the uneducated idea that homophobia and pedophilia are linked? Does the ad offend you?

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Ellen Andersen | October 30, 2006 5:44 PM

Um, yes. The ad offends me. Whether or not it was "intended" to be homophobic, it sure reads that way. So here's the question: what's a relatively liberal Democrat doing running a homophobic ad?

"Up here, most people view things differently," he said. "When they think of Foley, they don't think 'homosexual,' they think 'pedophile.'"

Yeah, but is that because they're drawing the necessary distinction, or because they immediately substitute pedophile for homosexual?

I don't like the ad. It's clearly designed to play on people's prejudices while giving the campaign just enough space to claim they're not being bigots.

I had to listen to it twice (it goes by very quickly), but you are right. They are using homosexuality as a way to put fear into people. There are people who will not be able to make the distinction between homosexual and pedophile. They often lump the two together in ignorance. Many people still view homosexuality as crimes against nature, and this ad does nothing to dispel that.

Yep, it offends me big time and I wish that you would have provided a link to him but since you did not, the email address is [email protected]

Let him know that this is offensive and won't be tolerated.

Wilson46201 | October 30, 2006 6:34 PM

When a Democrat does something wrong like this, the Log Cabin Republicans go ballistic. Their own party has spent millions in this election cycle hammering us on "gay marriage" - perhaps Kathy, Chris or Gary could post Email addresses of all the GOP candidates in Indiana trying to win with the patented Republican wedge issue of gay marriage? Or the Email addresses of the GOP candidates in that Statehouse stunt last week for the Marriage Discrimination Amendment?

Just for parity.

Wilson, dear, are you saying that this kind of thing should be OK because Republicans do it? I hope not, because that's a rather silly argument.

Besides, Kathy doesn't read blogs and Gary has his own blog. We all know the Republicans do this kind of thing all the time. That's why it's not news unless a Dem does it.

Thanks for the e-mail address, Lori!

I agree with Jerame, Wilson. Let's cut the partisan crap. It outrages me when Republicans pull stunts like this and it pisses me off when Democrats do it too. We're pretty regular around here about calling the Republicans on the carpet. Deflecting about the Pubs is just that - deflecting. The democrat screwed up - big time.

I would like to publicly call on the Hayhurst campaign to pull the offensive ad. Mark Foley is NOT a pedophile. He didn't have sex with underage children. He IS a gay man. Therefore, when the ad says clearly, "laws against nature" it can only be referring to gays and lesbians.

Sorry Wilson, we should be going after anyone that does this crap. It doesn't matter if they are Republicans or is offensive and wrong across the board. There are plenty of issues to use for his platform (jobs, economy, war, health care). Resorting to gay bashing is pathetic.

I would like to publicly call on the Hayhurst campaign to pull the offensive ad. Mark Foley is NOT a pedophile. He didn't have sex with underage children. He IS a gay man. Therefore, when the ad says clearly, "laws against nature" it can only be referring to gays and lesbians.

HUH? Foley TRIED to have sex with underage children. The issue is NOT his gender preference, but his crime of lusting after our children. Dr.Hayhurst supports equal rights for all; his opponent is an adament homophobic evangelical. Here is HIS website:

I'm really torn as to how I feel about this ad. I've been volunteering here and there for Hayhurst this election cycle (my hometown is in the 3rd CD) and while I think he's an amazing, astute candidate, it seems as though the campaign really dropped the ball on this one.

Growing up in the blood-red area that is just north of Allen County, I can see how Hayhurst might think this ad would capitalize on some of the prevailing sentiment against the Foley incident (and against incumbents/Republicans in general.) He's run a pretty positive campaign up until now, which makes this all the more incongrous in my mind. And I know there are some people up at campaign HQ who can't be happy with this.

I strongly hope he wins, but he can win on merit and GOTV. I don't think he has to resort to these types of voter sentiment tugs in order to get votes. Of course, that might just be the idealist in me talking...

John, I respectfully disagree. Foley didn't try to have sex with underage children. Children refers to kids under the age of 16. While the age difference between them was way too large for comfort, according to the law - the young men were just that - young men. They were above 16 and legal. He's simply not a pedophile... People are too quick to link pedophilia and homosexuality. And this ad helps to establish that link more firmly in my opinion.

I don't disagree that Souder is a complete jerk. I'm not saying that we should all go out and vote for Souder. He is homophobic and does not represent the people of the 3rd district in the manner that they should be. But the fact remains, Dr. Hayhurst's ad can be interpreted as homophobic as well. It should come down.

Ummmm no he is not. He is a pathetic old creep but he isn't a pedophile.

From Wikipedia:

Pedophilia, or paedophilia is the paraphilia of being sexually attracted primarily or exclusively to prepubescent or peripubescent children. Persons with this attraction are called pedophiles.

In contrast to the generally accepted medical definition, the term pedophile is also used colloquially to denote significantly older adults who are sexually attracted to adolescents below the local age of consent, as well as those who have sexually abused a child.

Rick Sutton | October 30, 2006 9:42 PM

A sad day. Kinda like the day we found out Rep. Bauer would allow a vote.

In each instance, we're given platitudes...why we should "accept" behavior which our guts tell us, is wrong. Regardless how people try to rationalize both behaviors, to our cause each action is bad.

Yeah, Republicans do this kind of crap all the time. So? They also practice wedge politics (all too well), and some Republicans do things much worse. I hoped we were better.

Dr. Hayhurst is not going to be my Congressman. But I had sent him a few bucks, hoping he'd do well or win. My money didn't make a difference. I'm told by people in that district he still has a chance.

Sadly, in that district, this might amount to Hayhurst engaging in pandering. Why not call it what it is?

Jerame--Hayhurst has outspent his opponent. By no means whatsoever has he outraised him. There is a big difference.


Wilson clearly said, "When a Democrat does something wrong like this,..." I second his statement, adding, in my opinion, that while Hayhurst may have made a desparate attempt to neutralize the use of Souder's lgbt wedgewack; and, that he should be 'talked to' ... I also don't think he should be eaten alive by his own.

By the way, I've long suspected that Kathy (IE board member Sarris?) is a non-read of these blogs, thanks for the confirmation, would you also know why that is the case?

I saw this ad last night. I am not in IN-3, nor am I a Democrat. I noticed this ad enough to Google it; Hayhurst and his ad team clearly believe that they can get away with this in NE Indiana. [I think that it is clear that "crimes against nature" is the 'punchline' of the ad.]

I think it's unfortunate that Hayhurst feels the need to use this phrasing.

It absolutely plays on the "homosexual=pedophile" angle. What else would you expect from an Indiana politician?