Wednesday, July 16, 2014

From Joe Brown, Shelby County District Attorney Candidate - Statement of Apology to and Action on Behalf of LGBT Community

I have received the following statement from the Judge Joe Brown campaign:

Statement of Apology to and Action on Behalf of LGBT Community

A lot has been said lately about some off-cuff and misconstrued remarks that I made about my opponent. I want to start by apologizing once again to the gay community for making sexual orientation an issue on the campaign trail where its only place should be how we plan to protect this disenfranchised community. My comments have allowed my opponent to circumvent any responsibility that she has in protecting this class of citizens. I'm going to do, concisely, what I should have done from the start. I'm going to draw the distinctions between my opponent and myself on this issue. While my opponent identifies with and proudly belongs to a party that vehemently stands in the way of the gay community's right to equal protection in the workplace and everywhere else, I plan to ensure their protection in the streets. As District Attorney, I will effectively utilize sentencing enhancement factors on hate crimes perpetrated as a result of sexual orientation or GENDER IDENTITY. I, unlike those on the far-right, do NOT believe "every crime is a hate crime". And neither does the Federal Government. I would fight tooth and nail, bench and gavel, to see to it that we use not only the tools we have at our disposal, but that we advocate vigorously for new tools; such as adding gender identity to the State Hate Crimes Sentencing Act. Too many citizens turn a blind eye to violence against our constituents and I'll be damned if I sit idly aside while the state does too. This is someones mother, father, sister, brother, or loved one in Shelby County and we need to be fighting for every one of our citizens. Now while the issue of judicial involvement in our schools, with regards to bullying, is a tricky subject, as the last thing we want to be doing is exacerbating the school-to-prison-pipeline, as my opponent is doing, there should be absolutely no contention as to whether the District Attorney's office should be a part of the conversation and solution when it comes to bullying in our schools. Nor should there be any question as to whether we should use the resources we have to protect the LGBT student when we find out that they're being abused or neglected at home because they didn't turn out the way mom and dad wanted them to. That's gotta stop now. These children deserve better than the cold and dangerous streets of Memphis. Finally, we're failing to effectively define domestic violence among this community. While less than 2% of domestic violence cases occur among same-sex couples, that's still an increase of nearly 50% since 2008. The application of the law, when it comes to protecting its citizens from violence must be blind and non-discriminatory. My opponent is a tactician. She's a politician. Detraction from real issues is what she specializes in. But if she were really serious about her job, she'd be talking about the issues that the LGBT community are actually facing instead of being appalled when she's vicariously accused of being one. Being accused of being gay should never be something that offends a person. That speaks volumes about my opponents character...since we've been talking about character and all.

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