Justin Carroll, a 37-year-old candidate for Town Justice in Clinton, New York, has become the target of homophobic flyers attacking him over his sexuality.
Carroll, who moved to Clinton with his husband Adam Lynch five years ago, finds the flyers both amusing and disturbing. “At first I thought the ad was just kind of laughable how amateurish it was, given the sophisticated nature of my campaign,” Carroll observed to Metro Weekly. “Second, it was disheartening, to think about that coming from this community where I’ve moved with my husband. We’ve been living here for almost five years. It’s our full-time residence, it’s our only residence. We moved up here to raise a family. It reminds us of the places where we grew up, in Connecticut and Oregon. We’ve had the most wonderful interactions with our neighbors over the past five years and are familiar with all the local establishments. I serve on the town planning board, and am involved in the local community. But obviously, when opponents don’t have things to talk about, they find things to manufacture.”
The flyers in question emphasize Carroll’s sexuality, and purport to be from a Democratic committee. They feature the word “Pride” in rainbow lettering, make reference to Carroll working with the YMCA and feature a shirtless picture of the candidate from 2005. A reported 4,300 voters received a copy of the flyer.
Carroll says he “felt like it was trying to weaponize my coming out story and things that I’m proud of, but with these nefarious undertones of ‘these people are invading our town and maybe they shouldn’t be left around children. That’s a disgusting sentiment, and it has no place in our public discourse.” He also says he is undeterred by the smears. “This is not the first time in our area where an LGBTQ candidate has come under fire for being LGBTQ,” Carroll notes. “But I don’t think it’s a prevailing opinion. This isn’t something that comes up during conversations with voters. I’m focused on the issues important to our town. Anyone who’s supporting me is interested in those issues, and they don’t want to see neighbors attacking neighbors. That’s just not the kind of place we are up here.”