Today, Silicon Valley community members led by Campbell Council Member and former Mayor Evan Low called on Ro Khanna to denounce his highest profile Republican supporter, former Republican Congressman Ernie Konnyu, over his recent homophobic remarks.
Low said: “Ro Khanna, who identifies as a Democrat, should immediately denounce the homophobic attacks of his biggest Republican Tea Party supporter, former Congressman Ernie Konnyu. His continued silence on this issue raises concerns that he may share Konnyu’s views, and I urge him to join me, Congressman Honda, and the thousands of Americans nationwide who would like to see the FDA change its views.”
Konnyu has come under fire from Bay Area press for his recent comments stating that “Gay pride is worth more with Evan Low than our citizens’ lives” and perpetuating outdated views that all gay men have AIDS. The comments were prompted by the San Jose Chamber PAC’s endorsement of Low, which Konnyu apparently couldn’t stomach.
“This kind of homophobic rhetoric has no place in our politics, from any politician of any party. We hope that Ro Khanna will quickly condemn these comments by Konnyu and denounce his support,” said James Gonzales, President of Bay Area Municipal Elections Committee. BAYMEC is a 30 year old Silicon Valley LGBT nonpartisan political organization.
Khanna’s campaign has said that it is “happy to have [Konnyu’s] support,” despite his attempts to organize the Tea Party Express to attack Democratic Congressman Mike Honda. In a message to press late last week, Konnyu reiterated his opposition to Low and Honda’s efforts to overturn the FDA’s gay blood ban, defended his efforts to bring the Tea Party Express into the race on Khanna’s behalf, and stated that his offer to stop supporting Khanna’s campaign had not been accepted.
Congressman Mike Honda has been supporting the overturn of the FDA’s gay blood ban since at least 2008, when he supported an effort by San Jose State University to bring attention to the issue by suspending blood drives on campus. His petition to overturn the ban, started last year, has been signed by over 51,000 people. He has also joined with over 70 colleagues in the House and Senate to urge the FDA to overturn the ban.
The FDA’s policy dates back to 1983 and has been in place in its current form since 1992. The lifetime ban is opposed by the American Medical Association and the American Red Cross has stated that the current lifetime deferral for men who have had sex with other men is medically and scientifically unwarrante