Dallas Voice (Dallas, Tex.), Vol. 28, No. 33, Ed. 1 Friday, December 30, 2011 Page: 9 of 44
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BROKEBACK PERRY | Rick Perry's 'Strong' ad, in which he's wearing a jacket similar to the one worn by
Heath Ledger in 'Brokeback Mountain,' has the second-most dislikes of any video on YouTube.
Perry presidential bid galvanized gays
3 Rick Perry began 2011 being sworn in to
a third four-year term as Texas' governor.
• He ends it on a bus tour of Iowa, where
he's trying frantically to climb back into con-
tention for the GOP presidential nomination as the
Hawkeye State's Jan. 3 caucuses near.
Perry is perhaps the most anti-gay governor in
Texas history — and that's saying something. So,
when rumors began to swirl this spring that
"Governor Goodhair" was planning to run for
president, the LGBT community seemed to collec-
tively grimace, l or most, the downside of Perry
holding national office would far outweigh one
small consolation: At least he would finally have
to depart the Lone Star State.
Longstanding rumors that Perry is .a closeted
homosexual quickly resurfaced. And, as if to try
to put an end to them once and for all, Perry or-
ganized a "day of prayer" at Reliant Stadium in
Houston, called The Response and funded by the
American Family Association. The AFA is consid-
ered an anti-gay hate group by the Southern
Poverty Law Center, and those who signed on as
endorsers of Perry's prayer rally certainly had the
vieWs to back up the designation.
The Response drew a huge response from,
among others, the LGBT community, with ac-
tivists staging counterdemonstrations in H-Town
during a sheltering first weekend of August.
Perry insisted The Response wasn't political, but
a week later he announced his campaign for pres-
Republicans were smitten, and Perry skyrock-
eted to the top of GOP presidential polls — posi-
tioning himself as a highly-sought-after, more
conservative alternative to presumptive frontrun-
ner Mitt Romney.
Just before he formally launched his presiden-
tial bid, Perry stated at an event in Colorado that
he believed marriage is a state's, rights issue and
New York's decision to legalize same-sex marriage
was "fine with me." Under intense pressure from
social conservatives, he quickly retracted the state-
ment and came out firmly in support of a federal
But that didn't stop Rob Schlein, then president
of Log Cabin Republicans of Dallas, from writing
a controversial column in which he said he would
vote for Perry over President Barack Obama, de-
spite the governor's anti-gay record. The column
was one of several factors that led National Log
Cabin to de-charter the Dallas chapter, which is
now known as Metroplex Republicans.
Perry would go on to sign a pledge from the
anti-gay National Organization for Marriage and
come out against the repeal of "don't ask don't
tell." But in the end, it appears his right-wing cre-
dentials weren't enough to overcome major, re-
peated gaffes during nationally televised debates
In the most memorable one, Perry forgot the
third federal department he would eliminate as
president in what has become known as his
Desperate to recover from the gaffes, Perry's
campaign lurched even further to the right — re-
leasing a campaign ad called "Strong" in which
he declared: "I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm a
Christian, but you don't need to be in the pew
every Sunday to know there's something wrong
in this country when gays can Serve openly in the
military but our kids can't openly celebrate Christ-
mas or pray in school."
"Strong" spawned many parodies, with some
harping on the fact that Perry's jacket in the ad re-
sembled the one worn by Heath Ledger in Broke-
back Mountain, "Strong" also garnered the
second-most dislikes of any video on YouTube,
Above all, though, where it really counts among
Republican voters, the ad didn't work.
As of this week, Perry was polling fifth in Iowa
— and second among candidates from Texas be-
hind Congressman Ron Paul.
— John Wright
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Nash, Tammye. Dallas Voice (Dallas, Tex.), Vol. 28, No. 33, Ed. 1 Friday, December 30, 2011, newspaper, December 30, 2011; Dallas, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth239200/m1/9/: accessed September 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Special Collections.