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Gay movie becomes issue in LaPolice-Huelskamp race

6/11/2014

By MARY CLARKIN

Special to The Hays Daily News

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 Tuesday from the KFPC.

Phillip Cosby, director of the American Family Association of Kansas and Missouri, said in the release 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 said he said yes to a friend and appeared in the friend's movie that was shot around 2006. LaPolice played a character he described as a homophobic bigot.

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

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

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

In an email response to The Hutchinson 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 said.

"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.

Rosen was in a pinch and knew LaPolice had acted previously, LaPolice said.

As a favor, LaPolice said, he "did a single afternoon of shooting."

"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.