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Johnson County Supervisor candidates at odds over ‘lesbian mafia’ remark


-- photo by Rachel Jessen
Rettig’s remarks came after a proposal to name June 2014 “Pride Month” failed to gain unanimous support among the Johnson County Board of Supervisors. — photo by Rachel Jessen

Johnson County Supervisor Janelle Rettig took to Facebook today to criticize “another male running for supervisor” after he purportedly labeled her a member of the “lesbian mafia.” Rettig, who is currently running for re-election, called the remark “gay baiting.”

Rettig wrote:

The LGBT Pride Month Proclamation was once again unfortunately not unanimous at the Johnson County Board of Supervisors. For the 2nd year in a row it passed 4-1 with Etheredge in the negative. A week ago another male running for Supervisor called me “just a member of the lesbian mafia” in a semi-public meeting. I’m intrigued by people that run for office in Johnson County gay baiting and voting against Pride Month. The first time I ran 4.5 years ago, I was shouted at during a candidate’s forum “you are a sinner.” I guess I respect the honesty of doing the gay bashing at a televised forum more than in a small meeting. The “controversial” Pride proclamation can be found here.

Though Rettig did not name the candidate explicitly, fellow candidate Mike Carberry issued a statement this afternoon in an attempt to clarify the remark, claiming that “mafia” was used in a complimentary fashion. Carberry then apologized, calling it a “poor choice of words when removed from this context” before adding, “I will choose my words more carefully in the future.”

Carberry’s statement:

Janelle Rettig has posted this on her Facebook page: “A week ago another male running for Supervisor called me “a member of the lesbian mafia” in a semi-public meeting. I’m intrigued by people that run for office in Johnson County gay baiting…”

Definition of Mafia (Ma•fi•a, mäfēə/) From a dictionary: a closed group of people in a particular field, having a controlling influence. noun: mafia “the democratic party mafia”

This form of the term has been used in political circles to describe a group that is well organized and wins election.

This complimentary use, emphasizing the success of a group, was my intended use, and the way it was logically received. I realize it was a poor choice of words when removed from this context. For that I apologize. I will choose my words more carefully in the future.

Anyone who knows me knows I am not a “gay baiter” or “homophobic.” It is absurd to twist my statement into those terms. Any other interpretation is an attempt to smear me.

Help me end this whisper campaign against me by reposting my apology statement on Janelle’s Facebook page any other place you see it.

 


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