Missouri state Sen. Caleb Rowden is a flamethrower. In his campaign video last year declaring his run for office, he declared that this is a national call to arms, a public emergency that requires someone to push back against an liberal agenda that will destroy America. The ad is abrasive enough, but Rowden backs up his claim by asserting it is exactly what his audience wants. You see, Rowden said that there was such demand to stop drag shows in Missouri he had to do something about it. One problem with that: Despite claims of being inundated with demand, the Missouri Sunshine law request shows no such communication ever occurred.
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The Missouri Independent filed a Missouri Sunshine request and his office turned over no documents that supported the senator’s claim. In fact, the documents they turned up came 12 hours after the tweet and included support for such shows.
But in response to a Sunshine Law request filed by The Independent, Rowden’s office produced no emails received earlier than 9:04 a.m. Jan. 20 — more than 12 hours after his tweet. And that first email voiced support for having children experience the drag performance by Nclusion Plus.
“I have attended this event in the past. I’m sorry I missed this year’s exciting entertainment,” wrote Rebecca Shaw, who identified herself as a parent with two children in Columbia schools who did not attend.
According to the Kansas City Star, as of Jan. 12, Rowden and his Republican cohorts have introduced 27 different anti-LGBTQ pieces of legislation this session, the most of any state. Texas is next with 15 bills; South Carolina has introduced 12.
“This is the most dangerous session we’ve seen in Missouri in years. It’s blatantly clear that this is leadership’s priority,” Shira Berkowitz, senior director of policy and advocacy for PROMO Missouri, an LGBTQ advocacy group, told the Kansas City Star.
The problem? These same claims have consequences.
From The Riverfront Times:
[Saturday, Jan. 28,] an unidentified person called three LGBTQ bars in the Grove neighborhood and threatened to shoot them up, multiple bar owners say.
All three bars that received threats are on Manchester Avenue in an area of St. Louis known for its LGBTQ nightlife. The strip is also frequently home to drag shows, which legislators in Jefferson City sought to place new rules on last week.
The caller later went on to use slurs and make threats. The message “said they were going to come in a 3 o’clock in the morning and shoot the place up,” said John Arnold, the bar owner.
Hatred, pure and simple. This is the Republican Party right now in statehouses across America. Spreading hate is more important than solving any real problem.
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