Progress can be rough, just ask the would-be first openly gay Black Hawk County supervisor, Chris Schwartz of Iowa.
The candidate already had barriers to break on the road to victory, but as of Thursday morning, Schwartz has a whole new mess to sort out.
That’s when he says he noticed his home had been vandalized in the night, with homophobic slurs spray painted to campaign signs in his front yard, and to his front door.
“Fag,” read one sign that had previously boasted the candidate’s name.
“Lev 20:13” was also sprayed onto his front door — the tired biblical argument against homosexuality that reads, “If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.”
Schwartz shares the home with his boyfriend and campaign manager Logun Buckley.
“It struck some fear into me. Especially the word ‘fag.’ It’s such a hateful word, and something I experienced all throughout my childhood,” Schwartz, 36, told The Des Moines Register. “The Leviticus reference outside my front door, that’s a death threat to us.”
“Under Iowa code it is classified as a hate crime,” said Capt. Dave Mohlis with the Waterloo Police Department. “The whole incident is under investigation. If at some point it feels like it qualifies as something for the federal government to look into, we will be sure to get them involved.”
However crass and unfortunate the incident may be, Schwartz is committed to pushing past the ugliness. Michelle Obama’s words come to mind — “When they go low, we go high.”
“We’re going to in the meantime keep our campaign going, which has been a campaign of love and tolerance,” he told the Register. “We want to let people know we’re not going to tolerate this kind of hate. And we’re not going to be intimated by it either.”
Schwartz later pointed to rhetoric spread by Cedar Valley Patriots for Christ on Facebook as the likely inspiration for the vandalism. The group has referred to him as a “pro-gay socialist who is to the left of Bernie Sanders” and strongly opposes his candidacy.
Cedar Valley Patriots for Christ’s leader, Judd Saul, refuted the accusation, making one of his own instead. In a statement he said he believes the attack is a “hoax,” calling it, “a tactic right out of the leftist playbook.” He also said his group does not condone violence and offered to cover the cost of repairs to Schwartz’s home.
Schwartz’s campaign has promised that if elected, he’ll work on raising the minimum wage, reforming how the criminal justice system punishes drug offenses and improving access to mental health. Or, you know, what Jesus would do.