After a week of standing by statements he made on Meet the Press, Senate candidate Ken Buck’s campaign conceded Monday that the Colorado Republican may have misspoken when he compared being gay to being an alcoholic.
The Colorado Independent reported that Buck’s campaign wrote an e-mail to the mother of a gay man after she wrote the candidate and asked him to take back the comments. In her letter, Debra Stone said that her son suffered ridicule as a high school student and was told that he was “a flawed and a sick person.”
“While Mr. Buck’s remarks may have been made off the cuff, they contribute to the climate of bullying, hate and bigotry that turned my son into a social outcast and led to the recent suicides we’ve seen in the media over the last few weeks,” Stone wrote.
Buck would not retract his comments, but his campaign wrote Stone saying, “Ken may have mis-spoke, but his desire is to serve the people of Colorado period.”
The e-mail went on to say that Buck was the only district attorney to try a crime against a transgender person as a hate crime.
Buck received national attention earlier this month when he said, "I think that birth has an influence over [being gay], like alcoholism and some other things. But I think that, basically, you have a choice."
The challenge of being young and gay in America has been much-discussed the past couple of months after a string of suicides by teenagers who had been bullied or felt ostracized because of their sexuality. The national conversation includes Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Obama, who recently filmed videos for the "It Gets Better" series created by sex columnist Dan Savage to help prevent suicide among gay youths by having adults send the message that their lives will improve.
To combat the problem of bullying gay students, the Education Department sent out a message to schools today that if their students harass their peers based on sexual orientation they could be violating civil-rights laws. The guidelines state that if a school finds out about gay harassment they must immediately investigate and take steps to end it.