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By: Nate Morris, senior editor
A local online publication has come under fire from voters on both sides of the political spectrum after urging voters not to cast their ballot for a Tulsa candidate because he is gay.
On October 18th, the Tulsa Beacon published an article entitled “Vote for Judge Morrissey and not for the homosexual”, calling on “conservative Christian voters” to oppose Chris Brecht’s bid for Tulsa County District Judge because Brecht is “truly is proud of his homosexual lifestyle and you can see proof on his Facebook page”.
This is one of at least four such articles that the publication has written attacking Brecht for his sexuality in the past five months.
The page goes on to endorse incumbent judge Linda Morrissey, calling her “by far the best choice in this race,” stating “it would be a public shame if Tulsa elected someone like [Brecht] to be a judge at any level.”
The post received swift and immediate condemnation from Brecht’s campaign, who posted a public statement on Facebook saying “this “homosexual” will not be intimidated by stuff like this. Remember to vote.”
In an interview with The Black Wall Street Times, Brecht stated he was “shocked to see that somebody would print such hate-filled words about me my family.”
Brecht, an Tulsa attorney, says he believes the statements made in the paper are not a reflection of the greater Tulsa area or its citizens.
“I was raised in a Christian household and I firmly believe that faith teaches us to lift people up and not tear each other down and to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” said Brecht, “That is what I believe the greater Tulsa community believes in.”
Judge Linda Morrissey also responded to the article, issuing the following written statement to The Black Wall Street Times:
“The code of judicial conduct calls on judges to stay above the fray and not get bogged down commenting on or engaging in the kind of negative campaigning that can degrade the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary. But I do not support bigotry, and in my 23-plus years as a judge in Tulsa, I’ve always conducted my campaigns like I conduct my courtroom, with fairness, decency, transparency and impartiality, treating all people equally, regardless of race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation. The citizens of Tulsa County have a solemn responsibility to elect our judges by considering qualities like judicial temperament, experience, knowledge of the law, and integrity. I’d like to see this campaign stick to those issues.”
In his interview with the times, Brecht offered a similar sentiment about his reasoning for seeking the seat. “I believe that every person that enters a courtroom should be treated fairly, regardless of the political influence that they or their attorneys are able to wield,” Brecht said. “My greatest hope is that every person I preside over will know that they were treated with respect, dignity and fairness, regardless of the outcome of their case.”
The author of the article goes on to express his support of President Trump and other candidates who support what he refers to as “conservative, Christian values”.
Response to the article comes amid backlash against the Trump administration following its decision to attempt to legally define sex as “male” or “female”, thereby endangering the rights of transgender Americans throughout the country.
When asked what message he would send to young people in Tulsa’s LGBTQ+ community considering a future run for office, Brecht said “I would tell them to do it. We need diverse, distinct, strong voices in all areas of the government, at the city, state and national levels. I would tell them to expect attacks from the fringe, but to press on and remain strong, because the love and support from the greater community will always win out over time.”
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