GOP Congressional Candidate Dean Young Told Gay Rights Activists To 'Go Back To California' In 2002

Republican congressional candidate Dean Young, who will face off against fellow Republican Bradley Byrne in a runoff election in Alabama's 1st district on Tuesday, said in 2002 that gay rights activists should "go back to California or Vermont or wherever they came from" if they don't like the policies in the Yellowhammer State.

In 2002, then-Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore argued in an opinion on a child custody case that homosexuality is an "'inherent evil against which children must be protected." Moore's ruling was met with backlash from gay rights activists, who called for the judge's resignation.

After a rally against Moore at the state Supreme Court, Young, then the executive director of the Christian Family Association, spoke out in defense of Moore's opinion.

"[Homosexuality is] a deviant lifestyle. It's a destructive lifestyle," Young said, according to reports in the Associated Press and the Montgomery Advertiser. "If they don't like the laws of Alabama ... then maybe they need to go back to California or Vermont or wherever they came from."

Mother Jones surfaced the 2002 quote on Monday.

Young, a conservative backed by tea party activists, is vying for the seat left vacant by former Rep. Jo Bonner (R-Ala.), who left office earlier this year. The winner of Tuesday's runoff will face Democrat Burton LeFlore in a December general election.

In August, Young unveiled a pledge asking his opponents in the GOP primary to profess their belief in the "Biblical condemnation of homosexuality and thereby gay marriage" and to take "active steps to oppose gay marriage" if elected.

And in an interview with Alabama's WPMI, Young spoke out against gay couples "pretending like they’re married."

"I'm against homosexuals pretending like they're married," he said. "If you want to have homosexuals pretending like they're married, then go to the Democrat party."

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