NEW YORK (AP) - Samuel Wurzelbacher, the Ohio man hailed as
"Joe the Plumber" by Republican John McCain's presidential
campaign last year, said he believes gays are "queer" and said he
won't allow them near his children.
Nevertheless, Wurzelbacher said the decision about whether to
allow same-sex couples to marry should be left to states.
"People don't understand the dictionary - it's called queer,"
Wurzelbacher told Christianity Today in an interview published this
week. "Queer means strange and unusual. It's not like a slur, like
you would call a white person a honky or something like that. You
know, God is pretty explicit in what we're supposed to do - what
man and woman are for."
He added, "I've had some friends that are actually homosexual.
And, I mean, they know where I stand, and they know that I wouldn't
have them anywhere near my children. But at the same time, they're
people, and they're going to do their thing."
Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, a
national gay rights organization based in Washington, dismissed
"It would matter if Joe the Plumber mattered," Solmonese said.
"One thing among many things we learned in the 2008 campaign is
that he doesn't."
Wurzelbacher, regarded as a folk hero to many conservatives
after challenging then-Democratic nominee Barack Obama about his
tax policies, said neither political party was sufficiently
"They use God as a punch line," Wurzelbacher said of
Republicans. "They use God to invoke sympathy or invoke
righteousness, but they don't stay the course."
Wurzelbacher said he considered McCain's running mate, Alaska
Gov. Sarah Palin, one of the GOP's emerging stars. But he said the
party would have a difficult time recasting its image to appeal to
"You got the RNC talking about repackaging principles and
values to make them hip and cool to the younger generation,"
Wurzelbacher said. "You can't repackage them. They are what they
are. You can't make what they are."
Since the election, Wurzelbacher has spoken at conservative
rallies around the country and traveled to Israel as a rookie
reporter to cover the Gaza conflict.
Wurzelbacher told the magazine he might consider running for
"Not right now," Wurzelbacher said. "God hasn't said, 'Joe, I
want you to run.' I feel (it's) more important to just encourage
people to get involved, one way or another. If I can inspire some
leaders, that would be great."
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