A Republican congressional candidate from Alabama said that LGBT people in his state don't belong there and should "go back to California or Vermont or wherever they came from." According to Mother Jones magazine, Republican Dean Young made the statement when running for another office in 2002, but has made it clear that he remains no friend to LGBTs as he runs to represent Alabama's District 1 in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Young is running in the special election to replace Rep. Jo Bonner, who retired from office rather than face the heat from a scandal involving an all expenses paid African safari he took -- purportedly to investigate mythical al Qaeda ties to poaching. Young's opponent, state Sen. Bradley Byrne, is also an arch conservative, also a tea party acolyte and significantly right of the national mainstream, but Byrne, Young says, is not sufficiently extreme in his anti-LGBT beliefs.
The candidate has publicly scoffed at the idea of marriage equality, saying, "I’m against homosexuals pretending like they’re married. If you want to have homosexuals pretending like they’re married, then go to the Democrat party.”
In the past, he has called relationships between same sex couples "deviant" and "destructive." In a 2002 interview with the Associated Press, said Mother Jones, Young suggested that LGBT people aren't native to Alabama at all.
"Either you get your lives straight or you get back in the closet where you came from," he said at one rally. "The people of Etowah County are going to stand against the homosexual lifestyle and against things that are against the laws of God."
At another campaign stop, Young said of homosexuality, "If animals tried it, they would get bit."
He continued, "We love all homosexuals, but we don't appreciate their lifestyle. To the homosexuals who will not change, you are not welcome here in Etowah County or in the state of Alabama."
To same sex couples who want to get married in Alabama, he said, "If they don't like the laws of Alabama...then maybe they need to go back to California or Vermont or wherever they came from."
In a recent interview, however, Young came up somewhat short when quizzed about some basic political knowledge. He was unable to name the Secretary of the Treasury, unable to name the current House Majority Leader and refused to say whether or not he believes President Barack Obama was born in the U.S., calling that issue "the $64,000 question."
The Daily Beast reported that Young and Byrne are in a dead head, with Young trending slightly ahead. Polls in Alabama close at 7:00 p.m. Central time on Tuesday.