Should Rouson’s views on the LGBT community and discrimination disqualify him from leadership role?

In an interview conducted by Florida This Week in 2008, State Representative Darryl Rouson stated that he though that “lesbianism and homosexuality is morally wrong” and that “the law is supposed to discriminate sometimes.”

These views held by Rouson flies completely in the face of not just progressive values, but the values of the Democratic Party itself. Along with his past support for school vouchers, these remarks by Rouson back in 2008 should make people wonder if he really should be the face of the Florida Democratic Party in 2015.

The 2012 election year was a historic one for the LGBT community in Florida politics, with two openly gay candidates, David Richardson and Joe Saunders, being elected to the Florida House of Representatives. Is if fair that both Richardson and Saunders should be forced to work with a Democratic leader that has called these members “morally wrong”? In addition, Mr. Rouson insults all of those in the LGBT community that have worked tirelessly to get Democrats elected throughout the state.

The more we learn about Darryl Rouson, the more it seems as if he is not representative of the values of the Democratic Party. Both education and LGBT issues are a very high priority for the rank-and-file Democratic activists. Yet, Mr. Rouson seems to take an entirely different view. How can he truly represent Democrats in the Florida House if he cannot look at all the members of the Democratic caucus as equals?

In addition, Mr. Rouson says that “the law is supposed to discriminate sometimes”. As someone who was head of the NAACP in St. Petersburg, this is extremely sad. Being part of an organization that has dealt with discrimination for over a century, Rouson should be sensitive to issues of discrimination. Instead, it seems as if he is taking a very Republican approach to “discrimination”. Honestly, did we ever expect anyone in today’s Democratic Party to say that discrimination is good?

These are serious questions that need to be asked of Mr. Rouson. While some people might say “he has changed”, are we entirely sure? True, someone can say that they have changed. But actions speak louder than words.

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21 thoughts on “Should Rouson’s views on the LGBT community and discrimination disqualify him from leadership role?

  1. Alright, just in case anyone was wondering, I accidentally put “Ron” Saunders instead of “Joe” Saunders. I changed it. Oops lol.

  2. As one of the few openly-LGBT staff members in the Democratic Caucus, I can personally say that Representative Rouson has been nothing but friendly and helpful to me since I started in the Capitol. Being a gay staff member is difficult as we don’t fit in with the good ole boys and the expectations are higher. Having mentors like Rep. Rouson and his staff have done much to help mitigate this pressure. We’ve actually spoken about some of his past comments and here’s the bottom line: before becoming a public official Representative Rouson had few close LGBT friends and comes from a strong religious background (he’s Catholic). As such, he was largely unaware/ unsupportive of most of the issues facing the LGBT community. However, in the past few years he’s truly evolved into one of our toughest champions in the House (co-sponsored employment non-discrimintation, domestic partnerships, etc.). The candidates in the race have largely run on ideas and been respectful of each other, it is a shame that others are not following suit.

    Note: this is not an endorsement of any candidate in the leadership race

  3. For those who don’t know or have short memories, as the leader of the Democratic Party, President Barack Obama has chosen as his current choice for Secretary of Defense Republican Chuck Hagal who has been openly hostile to Gays in the past.

    He has since apologized and his apology has been accepted by the national Gay rights organization.

    But the biggest hypocritical joke of them all is the Florida GLBTA Caucus and the Florida Progressive Caucus not supporting the first openly Gay candidate to be the head of the Florida Democratic Party in Alan Clendenin to support his opponent Allison Tant.

    Now that is a scandal! And now you want to worry about Rep Rouson when your “progressive” friends work to hurt an openly Gay candidate to head the entire FDP?

    Give me a break!!!

  4. Ryan considering the Dem you work for I would have to say you have zero credibility when it comes to anything related to the Dem office.

  5. Agree or not, I at least have the courage to stand behind my words and not attack people or their bosses anonymously on a blog

  6. It should be noted that Rouson backed Alan Clendenin for Dem Party Chair so he probably isn’t “anti-gay.” However these comments are troubling though in fairness they were made a few years ago, just a year after Rouson left the GOP and became a Democrat. Attitudes on this issue have changed. Not judging this one way or another, just contributing to the discussion here.

  7. You can be anti-gay even if you support someone that is gay. It is the issues I think people are concerned about.

  8. And we continue to “eat our young” as Democrats…..I say again, we wonder why we can’t win elections! Isn’t there an elected Republican that has said something in the last five years you could take on?

  9. Honestly if you want status quo Dave keep putting this stuff out. We love you and all you’ve done but now you are just hurting the party. Please take this down.

  10. It’s so obvious if you cannot figure it out I cannot help you. Your push for Clendenin was admirable but all the reforms you advocate go out the window if Mia Jones, Christian Ulvert, Allison Tant and Scott Arceneaux benefit from this sensationalism in this article.

  11. Also the REAL ROUSON record on LGBT issues. In the Session of 2010, HB 3 by Rep Brandenburg, which “repeals provision relating to prohibition against adoption by homosexual” was co-sponsored by Rep Rouson. So in the Spring of 2010, he MUST have changed his view because he co-sponsored a bill that is the opposite of what he said on that video. And I don’t see Mia Jones or Alan Williams as a co-sponsor of this legislation. It was HB 3 for goodness sake – meaning every time you pull up the bills it would be the 2nd one. Don’t believe me? Here’s the link:

    http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Bills/billsdetail.aspx?BillId=42139

    So that renders this video meaningless. It’s time this website got back to what it was doing well until this morning. Advocating for real reform and real reformers to lead the FDP.

  12. Same can be said about Hagel, but nobody is letting up on him. We can’t hold one standard for one person and one standard for another.

    Also, you talk about Ulvert, Tant and others. This article has nothing to do with electoral politics, but legislative politics. I am asking if Democrats want Rouson to represent the Florida House Democrats “legislatively”. Unfortunately, this ends up becoming an article about House Victory instead of Democratic values. But I am finishing up an article now that might clear up this distinction.

  13. Dave you are normally the best but this one article was totally out of bounds. All you have helped here are those we all despise. We NEED Rouson to liberate all the house candidates you and Krishnaiyer rightly pontificate about losing close elections because of “electoral malpractice” by Ulvert et al.

    You are focusing on one issue and missing the macro implications of this. The same with Charlie Crist. I don’t like him and Rouson also is too conservative for me, but we need to rip this party apart, blow up and start again. To the extent Crist and Rouson help us with that we must embrace them. The staff, consultants and other people who have destroyed this party need to be held accountable.

    This is our of character for you. Someone must have fed you bad info.

  14. Unfortunately, the worthless director Scott A, that have run this party into the ground by picking worst loosing consultants around like Christian Ulmert and many-many others, have bamboozled enough Democrats to vote for their puppet Allison Tant, so that we are assured that the Republicans will rule Tallahassee as long as Debbie, Scott, Tant. Christian and the entire loosing crew is around.

    That is why if we can stop and turn around the Democrat to Republican tide to now accept Republicans to become Democrats again then I say that is our future to success. Because at lease in Florida, the Republicans know how to win and we can depend on the rats leaving the Democratic hen house in Tallahassee!!!

  15. This interview was actually done in 2005, notice how they don’t refer to him as Representative as he was not yet elected for another 3 years. There may be some confusion since the video was re-released in 2008 by a primary opponent who sought to use the issue against him.

  16. I have trouble holding someone’s feet over the fire for comments made in an interview 5 years ago. There has been a lot of movement in the acceptance of LGBT in that time and I am more concerned with what someone has said and done recently.

    I’m not sure I’d want some of my opinions from 5 years ago to be put under the microscope!

  17. Pingback: Darryl Rouson and LGBT Issues « The Political Hurricane – Florida Political Blog.

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