Local Politics

Lawmaker criticized for gay slurs in e-mail

Posted October 5, 2010 4:03 p.m. EDT
Updated October 6, 2010 4:06 p.m. EDT

— A gay rights group on Tuesday criticized a state lawmaker for using slurs in an e-mail to dozens of Republican legislators.

Rep. Larry Brown, R-Forsyth, was responding to an e-mail House Minority Leader Paul Stam sent out regarding House Speaker Joe Hackney receiving an award from the Equality NC Foundation, a gay rights group, for his work in the General Assembly.

"I hope all the queers are thrilled to see him. I am sure there will be a couple legislative fruitloops there in the audience," Brown wrote in the Sept. 27 e-mail.

The message was sent from Brown's personal AOL account to the personal or business accounts of about 60 other lawmakers.

Brown couldn't be reached Tuesday for comment.

"I think it is shocking that a legislator would use that kind of language," said Ian Palmquist, executive director of Equality NC. "We are calling on Rep. Brown to apologize to his constituents for using anti-gay slurs. He has not responded yet. I hope other legislators speak out to treat all North Carolinians fairly and call out Rep. Brown for his actions."

Dan Gurley, a former executive director of the North Carolina Republican Party who now chairs the board of Equality NC, also called for Brown to apologize.

"I'm ashamed that an elected official who is a member of my party has chosen to express himself in such a way," Gurley said in a statement. "Before saying such things in the future, I hope Rep. Brown and those like him will think about the six gay teenagers who've committed suicide in recent weeks and realize the words they utter do have consequences."