SAN DIEGO — Today Equality California and LGBTQ Victory Fund condemned San Diego mayoral candidate Barbara Bry for repeatedly refusing to denounce homophobic and false attacks on her openly gay opponent California Assemblymember Todd Gloria. The Assemblymember is now receiving threats of physical violence — including death threats — on social media. The threats are being investigated by the San Diego Police Department.
The threats come after a campaign by right-wing media and activists to spread lies about Senate Bill 145, which changes California law to give judges the same level of discretion when determining legal penalties for LGBTQ+ people as it does for straight people in certain crimes (USA Today fact checks the bill here). SB 145 was strongly supported by the California District Attorneys’ Association, the California Police Chiefs’ Association and the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault. The misinformation campaign has provoked a barrage of homophobic attacks against Gloria – including the death threats (seen here: 1, 2, 3). Bry repeatedly refuses to condemn the homophobic nature of the misinformation campaign or the threats of violence against Gloria.
Among the most prominent right-wing media outlets promoting the falsehoods is KUSI. On Wednesday, the president of KUSI Michael Dean McKinnon, Sr., along with Martha McKinnon, each maxed out to Bry’s campaign.
“Just like Donald Trump refuses to condemn white supremacy, Barbara Bry is refusing to condemn homophobia,” said Equality California Executive Director Rick Chavez Zbur. “Barbara Bry’s willingness to lie about civil rights legislation supported by law enforcement and survivors’ advocates and to pander to far-right, anti-LGBTQ+ extremists says a lot about her character. San Diegans deserve a mayor who will unite the city and stand up to violent extremists. Barbara Bry has shown us repeatedly that she’s unwilling to be that mayor and unfit to lead America’s Finest City.”
“Barbara Bry is putting politics and self-interest before morality and leadership, emboldening the ugliest segments of our society by refusing to condemn homophobia and falsehoods,” said Mayor Annise Parker, President & CEO of LGBTQ Victory Fund. “Barbara is thriving on the mischaracterizations of Senate Bill 145 – which does nothing but equalize the legal implications between LGBTQ people and straight people – because she believes it will benefit her campaign. Her early condemnation of these lies from right-wing extremists would have defused the internet trolls now threatening Todd’s life.”
After Bry attempted to shift blame for her refusal to condemn anti-LGBTQ+ hate onto Assemblymembers Lorena Gonzalez and Tasha Boerner Horvath, the San Diego legislators pushed back:
“Please don’t try to justify your inability to distance yourself and denounce the support of hate-filled extremists like DeMaio & Gastelum & Trump’s SD Republican Party by in any way aligning yourself with my vote,” tweeted Gonzalez. “I fully support @ToddGloria & am disgusted by these alliances.”
“Homophobia doesn’t have a place in our politics, Barbara Bry,” tweeted Boerner Horvath. “These attacks on @ToddGloria are despicable. You should denounce them unequivocally, not make excuses for them.”
Todd Gloria will be the first openly LGBTQ+ person and first person of color elected mayor of San Diego if he wins in November.
Equality California is the nation’s largest statewide LGBTQ civil rights organization. We bring the voices of LGBTQ people and allies to institutions of power in California and across the United States, striving to create a world that is healthy, just, and fully equal for all LGBTQ people. We advance civil rights and social justice by inspiring, advocating and mobilizing through an inclusive movement that works tirelessly on behalf of those we serve. www.eqca.org
LGBTQ Victory Fund works to change the face and voice of America’s politics and achieve equality for LGBTQ Americans by increasing the number of openly LGBTQ elected officials at all levels of government. victoryfund.org