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.