Dallas Voice (Dallas, Tex.), Vol. 20, No. 45, Ed. 1 Friday, March 12, 2004 Page: 15 of 72
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Black said the 54-year-old governor at first
ignored the rumors. But Perry decided to speak
out because his children were suffering, Black
The rumors spread across the nation, reaching
friends of Perry's son, who attends Vanderbilt
University, and daughter, who attends an Austin
high school, according to the spokesman.
Some of the rumors alleged that Perry was
about to resign from office.
The rumors have frustrated the conservative
governor, and last week Perry decided "enough is
enough," according to Black.
As governor, Perry understands that his "poli-
cies, politics and principles" are open for discus-
sion, Black continued.
"But when you go after his family, that's
something different. He feels like any husband
and father would."
Black said that the rumors appear to be
spreading over the Internet, primarily among the
governor's political enemies. Several versions of
the same rumor had spread quickly and widely,
and named several men the governor had suppos-
Black said that high-ranking Democratic
Party officials had talked about the rumors in
public, including at least once before several
hundred people at a rally.
"Those who want to practice the politics of
personal destruction don't need a reason, and
they are not restrained by the truth," Black said.
Black said the governor's background had
been extensively investigated for years without
turning up instances of wrongdoing.
"That's the reason that political rivals decided
that the only place left they had to attack was his
family," the spokesman said.
But Stonewall Democrats of Dallas president
Shannon Bailey said he rejects Perry's claim that
Democrats are responsible for the rumors.
Opposing factions within the Republican Party
are more likely the source, because they hope to
oust Perry in 2006, he said.
"We Democrats have been working on other
things. That's off our radar to attack him," Bailey
When the rumors surfaced in January, Bailey
said he quickly discounted them. With the
Legislature out of session and no gubernatorial
election this year, there would be no reason for
Democrats to mount an attack, he said.
"It came out of thin air. In our community you
never 'out' someone like that," he said.
The Austin American-Statesman last week
reported that Perry's office contacted the newspa-
per with the offer of an interview. One of Perry's
conditions was that he be asked about the rumors.
Many mainstream newspapers checked out the
rumors over the past few weeks, but none report-
ed them, the governor's spokesman said.
A few alternative publications and Web site
operators reported the existence of the rumors
prior to Perry's interview with the Austin news-
Before last week's interview, the governor's
press office would talk about the rumors only on
an off-the-record basis.
A small group of protesters gathered across
from the governor's Mansion two weeks ago.
Some held signs that said, "It's okay to be gay"
Friends who grew up with the governor and
his wife in Haskell County said rumors that Perry
was bisexual or gay were untrue. The friends,
who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said
the rumors that suggested Perry — who is out-
spoken in his opposition to GLBT rights — is
bisexual or involved in gay relationships are ludi-
"I know Rick pretty well, and that's definite-
ly not the Rick I know at all," said one friend who
knew the governor as a teen and young adult.
"I'm sure the rumors will die a most deserved
death very soon."
Two other longtime friends of the governor
said that they also considered the rumors ridicu-
Perry — who dated his wife for 16 years
before marrying her — last year defended Texas'
sodomy law that targeted gays, calling the meas-
ure "appropriate." TheU.S. Supreme Court over-
turned the law last June.
Perry also said recently that he supports
President's Bush's endorsement of a
Constitutional amendment saying marriage
could only be entered into by a man and a
Log Cabin Republicans local spokeswoman
Carla Halbrook called the rumors "bunk." The
organization began receiving e-mails about the
rumors weeks ago, but they were dismissed, she
"We receive all kinds of crazy e-mails on the
Web site, but that one really left us laughing,"
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Vercher, Dennis. Dallas Voice (Dallas, Tex.), Vol. 20, No. 45, Ed. 1 Friday, March 12, 2004, newspaper, March 12, 2004; Dallas, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth238885/m1/15/: accessed December 13, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Special Collections.