One of the candidates to lead the North Carolina Republican Party is suing a radio talk show host and the host's employer for defamation, alleging that the host said the candidate was gay.
Tom Fetzer, a former Raleigh mayor, said Tuesday he filed the lawsuit late Monday in Wake County Superior Court seeking a jury trial and monetary damages to defend and protect his name. He accuses Curtis Wright, who hosts a morning drive-time show aired on two stations, of forwarding an anonymous letter about Fetzer that Wright knew to be false.
Fetzer, a former political consultant who once worked with the late Sen. Jesse Helms, is one of four announced candidates seeking to succeed Linda Daves as party leader at the state GOP convention June 13 in Raleigh.
"It is justice that I seek, not vengeance," Fetzer said in a statement.
You'll see exactly what Fetzer claims below the fold.
First, note that Fetzer worked for Jesse Helms. At least now I see that he comes by his redneck bigotry honestly.
Anyway, take a look at what Fetzer says in his lawsuit about the suggestion that he might be gay:
The statements in the anonymous letter are "false and defamatory" and "tend to charge Mr. Fetzer with a crime or offense involving moral turpitude" and "disgrace and degrade" him, the lawsuit said.
The lawsuit didn't contain the letter, and Fetzer's attorney didn't immediately respond to a request seeking a copy.
But Fetzer wrote to supporters May 22 that "I am not gay - never have been - never will be. There is absolutely no evidence whatsoever to support any of the scurrilous allegations made in the anonymous attack on me."
You see, according to the Republican Party, being gay is a crime of moral turpitude, it's disgraceful, and it's scurrilous to "accuse" someone of being gay. And because the talk show host Wright is a wingnut and his employer likewise, they're likely going to defend the lawsuit not on the grounds that there's nothing wrong with being gay, but on some other basis like the words weren't uttered, or there was no intent to defame, or absence of malice (Fetzer being a public figure), or something like that.
And therein lies the disconnect between Republicans, especially their batshit crazy Christianist leaders, and normal society. Read the article again, but this time substitute "African-American" or "female" or "disabled" or any other immutable characteristic you like for the word "gay." Is it "scurrilous" to be a woman? Is saying someone isn't white defamatory? Can you imagine a lawsuit in 2009 claiming defamation because someone said the plaintiff was disabled? Even if you filed such a lawsuit, you'd be laughed out of court so fast, your head would spin.
Sadly, today's GOP is so tone-deaf about their own bigotry that they're willing to go to court to proclaim it. And they wonder why, in normal society (that is, everywhere but the mainstream corporate media), they're being marginalized ...
(cross-posted at Blast Off!)