Becky Ruppe, Democratic candidate for the State Senate in District 12, has succeeded in making "gay marriage" an issue in the race. Her radio spot, which mentions the issue out of no where, has now been matched by her Republican opponent, Ken Yager. If you aren't eating, you can listen to it here.
Of course, it's not an issue between the two candidates since they have the same position. Oh, and it's not an issue for Tennessee, since we have a statute and a constitutional amendment barring same-sex marriage.
But it is now an issue for GLBT people in District 12. Teens struggling with issues of sexuality and gender get to hear themselves opposed on the radio on the way to and from school every day. Adults who are probably pretty circumspect about their lives and their partners, if they had any doubt before, will know to stay in their place.
Democrats aren't saying a word. Eager to take control of the Senate, they seem to have a Reaganesque rule about not speaking ill of other Democrats. Ruppe's ad titled "Courage" is still posted without negative comment at the State party's blog. This is the same party that says it is "...the party that continues to provide messages of change and hope against the politics of fear and bullying."
Thankfully most Democrats, though silent about her ad, aren't following her lead. The saddest part to me, though, is that Ruppe's life has been one of courage. 90% of her ad rings true. But she has injected additional fear into a part of Tennessee that didn't need any more.