Gay movie becomes issue in LaPolice-Huelskamp race


By Mary Clarkin

By Mary Clarkin

The Hutchinson News, Kan.

(MCT) — Congressional candidate Alan LaPolice's appearance in the movie "The Art of Being Straight," has become an issue in his primary race against U.S. Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Fowler/Hutchinson.

"I am very concerned that a candidate for national office would be so out of touch with the deeply held beliefs of a great many Kansans," said Dennis Blick, chairman of the board for Kansas Family Policy Council, Wichita.

"KFPC believes Kansans deserve candidates of the highest integrity committed to traditional Judeo-Christian values, which have been the bedrock of rural Kansas communities for generations," Blick said in a press release from the KFPC.

Phillip Cosby, director of the American Family Association of Kansas and Missouri, said in the release that it's "highly inappropriate" to be "featured in a homosexual movie."

LaPolice was an actor but principally an educator in California before moving back to Clyde last year. He told The News recently he said yes to a friend and appeared in the friend's movie shot around 2006. LaPolice played a character he described as a homophobic bigot.

LaPolice wasn't listed in the primary group of characters, but can be seen in the movie's trailer. "The Art of Being Straight" was shown at various gay and lesbian film festivals after debuting in 2008.

LaPolice is challenging Huelskamp in the Aug. 5 GOP primary.

"Congressman Huelskamp has no comment for this story," responded Josh Bell, of Kansans for Huelskamp.

In an email response to The News, LaPolice wrote:

"I agree wholeheartedly that Kansans do indeed deserve a candidate of the highest integrity, and I firmly believe that I offer this. I have clearly stated that anyone attempting to undermine my candidacy by fixating on a very small movie role from nearly 10 years ago would be guilty of small-minded bigotry, and I hold to that. No Kansans are guilty of this.

"As I said, every Kansan I know can easily distinguish between movies and reality. I am concerned that individuals in leadership roles who claim to share my strong family values would confuse acting with advocacy," he said.

LaPolice said he is a practicing Catholic and "happily married with three beautiful daughters." Huelskamp also is a practicing Catholic with a family.

"Could it be that this issue is being used to distract from the real policy issues concerning Kansans, those being the economy, the debt, health care and a colossal failure of leadership?" LaPolice asked.

"The Art of Being Straight" was the end of his acting work, the candidate said. Jesse Rosen, the movie's writer and director — and straight, LaPolice noted — was a good friend.

"My part consists of about 45 seconds of screen time in which I am interrogating the main character to see if he is straight," LaPolice said.

"The implication is that I'm bigoted against gays and won't hire him if he isn't straight," he said.

"I am in no way ashamed of anything from my past. I celebrate the strength of my character and every choice I have made for better or worse has made me the man I am today." LaPolice wrote.

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