Vicki Barnes is the Executive Director of the Sweetwater Housing Authority in Tennessee, a position appointed by the mayor and City Commissioners to oversee operations of the public housing facilities in Sweetwater. Yet instead of doing her job to ensure equal access to public housing facilities in her city, Barnes has gone on an anti-gay tirade, issuing a letter to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), comparing LGBT people to murderers, drug dealers, and prostitutes, and suggesting that new anti-discrimination protections from HUD that are inclusive of sexual orientation could result in children being emotionally and/or physically abused.
Barnes wrote in her letter, available here, that LGBT people have made a "personal and moral lifestyle choice" to follow a path of homosexuality, and as such, they shouldn't be afforded discrimination protections from HUD. Barnes goes on to write that LGBT people threaten the family unit, and could prove disastrous to public housing all across the United States.
Barnes ends her letter by saying that if HUD is going to offer anti-discrimination protections to LGBT people, Section 8 Rental Assistance Programs will suffer, because landloards won't want to rent to people who might be gay.
This kind of inappropriate and discriminatory rhetoric deserves no place in Sweetwater's government. How can Barnes as a public official be expected to oversee discrimination claims and public housing services, when she openly admits hostility toward an entire population of people, and compares an entire population of people to murderers and drug dealers?
It's time for Sweetwater public officials to hold Vicki Barnes accountable for this extreme anti-gay rhetoric. As a public housing official, it's Barnes' job to make sure that everyone has access to public housing, regardless of their sexual orientation. It is not her job to police morality, and decide who deserves the chance to access public housing, and who does not.
This letter -- available here (http://www.scribd.com/full/51602344?access_key=key-15usxk8bqzvav01bvrbs) -- is a shameful act by a public official who is supposed to oversee operations of the public housing facilities in Sweetwater. How can Barnes be trusted to ensure that everyone has the right to access public housing, if she's openly expressing such extreme hostility and discriminatory views toward an entire population of people?
This type of language is inappropriate and uncalled for, and Barnes should be held accountable for suggesting that gay people deserve to be discriminated against when it comes to public housing, and for comparing gay people to "murderers," "gang members," "cults," and "drug users." This is shameful rhetoric that damages the reputation of Sweetwater, and sends the message that your community openly discriminates against people on the basis of sexual orientation. Is that a message that your community is comfortable sending?
I urge you to hold Vicki Barnes accountable for her discriminatory and official remarks.
Thank you for your time.