‘Glitter advocates’ plot their next victim

Chris Moody
June 20, 2011

If you haven't picked glitter out of your hair lately, you're probably not running for president as a Republican.

Three GOP presidential candidates have been "glittered" in the past month by liberal activists hoping to raise awareness for issues such as gay marriage and abortion rights. The pranksters typically approach the candidates at campaign events and dump confetti and glitter over their heads while friends record the scene on video.

The trend began when Minnesota-based advocate Nick Espinosa tossed handfuls of confetti onto Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and his wife during a book signing in May.

"Feel the rainbow, Newt! Stop the hate! Stop anti-gay politics!" Espinosa yelled.

All seemed quiet on the glitter front until former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty came in for another glitter bombing weeks later when members of the anti-war group Code Pink  and abortion-rights group Reproductive Rights pulled the same stunt.

Just three days after, Minneapolis attorney Rachel E.B. Lang tossed a handful of the shiny stuff onto Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann.

"As long as Michele Bachmann and other out-of-touch politicians are attacking my family and limiting my freedom, there will be more and more 'glitterings' across the country," Lang said in a statement.

Which leads to the obvious questions: Who's next? And will any of the candidates be spared?

"Right now we're trying to decide whether to do any future glitterings, and if so, who and how and where," Heather Cronk, managing director at the gay rights advocacy organization Get Equal, told The Ticket. The group has helped organize the past glitterings, and said she has up to 80 people ready and willing to carry out more around the country. "There's no list hanging on the wall," she said when asked who might be next. "It's more looking at opportunities to cut through the white washing of these folks' records."

Rick Santorum, who Cronk said had a "horrifying" record on GLBT issues, perhaps stands out as the most likely victim for the next attack. The former Pennsylvania senator has long been the scourge of gay-rights activists for his views on marriage policy. In 2003, sex columnist Dan Savage led an online campaign against Santorum that was so successful that to this day, search engine results for the word "Santorum" take readers first to a site that defines his name as the bi-product of a sex act instead of to his official campaign website.

During last week's GOP presidential debate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Bachmann, Gingrich and Pawlenty joined Santorum in support for a federal marriage amendment that would ban same-sex marriage throughout the country. So it may not be long before Romney's hair is not only perfectly coiffed, but glittery, too.

But not all of the GOP candidates are taking such a hard line on the issue. Businessman Herman Cain, Rep. Ron Paul of Texas and former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson have said they think marriage policy should be left up to the states and oppose a federal ban. Johnson, a libertarian, showed explicit support for gay issues in a recent ad. Cain, on the other hand, is always careful to clarify that he supports "traditional marriage."

The activists organizing the glitterings, however, said they want to see candidates support a federal law allowing gay marriage. While the candidates in this election cycle may differ on their approach to marriage policy, that'll never happen in this field. And that means, in turn, that all of them perfectly eligible, under the reasoning of Cronk and Get Equal, for the next glittering.

(Photo of Bachmann getting "glittered" Saturday: Jim Gehrz/The Star Tribune via AP)