What's the matter with Kansas (aside from the Phelps hate machine)? Apparently a candidate for the state house in District 84, Gail Finney, who wanted to prove her homophobic mettle by running an email and robo-call campaign to defeat Inga Taylor, an out lesbian. She succeeded. By the way, Finney is a Democrat. (GayPolitics.com):

A last-minute, anti-gay smear campaign will keep Kansas from electing its first openly gay state legislator and America’s first African-American lesbian state legislator.

Inga Taylor, a Victory-Fund endorsee, had outraised and out-organized her opponent, Gail Finney. But Finney and her supporters launched a late mail, e-mail and phone campaign highlighting Taylor’s sexual orientation and contributions to her campaign from the Victory Fund. Finney is the Vice-chair of the Sedgwick County Democratic Party.

Here's the pertinent snippet of one of the emails, sent by Finney supporter Dr. Peggy Elliott:

“Inga Taylor considers it an honor that if elected, she will be the 1st openly gay African American Legislator in the United States. If you will go to the www.victoryfund.com website, you will see that they are excited about the same and working strategically to ensure that this candidate wins the election on tomorrow evening. Who would she be representing? Those that fund her from the east coast or 84th District? Is this what we want to be known for in Kansas? In Wichita?”

Is there anything wrong with supporting candidates who stand for civil equality, regardless of where they are located? I guess Finney would rather have her state associated with the viewpoint coming out of Topeka from the Rotting Cryptkeeper than to campaign on issues of concern Kansans.

One troubling aspect of this whole matter is that when The Victory Fund's Chuck Wolfe sent an urgent request to Governor (and Obama VP shortlister) Kathleen Sebielius to denounce Finney's tactics, she did not respond or intervene before the polls closed yesterday.

Here's the robo-call (MP3). Since' it's FInney herself on the call, she's careful not to use the words "gay" or "lesbian" -- she simply refers to "outside interest groups" with an "unknown agenda." Come, on. Since she also asserts during the call that Taylor received "90% of her funds" from the outside group (she won't name the VF or she'd have to actually utter "gay" and "lesbian"), her message is clear.

NOTE: While anti-gay tactics can still sway voters in some races around the country, AfterElton takes a look at how things might play out in the presidential race. Check out the features "Gay-Baiting '08" by Christie Keith and "The Pundits Speak: Keith Olbermann and other traditional journalists on gay issues." In the latter piece, editor Michael Jensen spoke to Olbermann, Joe Scarborough, Chris Matthews, Suzanne Malveaux, and John King. It's an interesting read, please click over and come back and comment.