NAUGATUCK — A topic of national conversation after a recent Supreme Court ruling — gay marriage — has led to criticism of a school board candidate’s comments on Facebook about homosexuality and to the resignation last week of a Republican Town Committee member.
Eileen Mocny-Lingl, who was nominated by the Republican Town Committee July 22 to run for the Board of Education, responded on June 27 to a comment that longtime RTC member Fran Dambowsky posted on his personal Facebook page.
In that comment, Dambowsky quoted from the book “God is not a Republican” by Benjamin Dixon.
The quote Dambowsky cited was: “Regardless of what you think of homosexuality, gay rights is not a spiritual issue, it is an American issue. Gays and lesbians have just as much right to America and her corresponding rights as ‘so called Christians.’ America is for every person and every faith and even for those of no faith at all. If you think our role as Christians in America is to force our religious beliefs on those who don’t wish to abide by them, then you are no better than the Islamic extremists who wish to impose sharia law.”
Mocny-Lingl was the first person who responded on the Facebook thread, saying, “It’s a moral issue and it’s morally wrong.”
Dambowsky’s adult daughter, Ashley, who is engaged in what she describes as a loving homosexual relationship, jumped into the mix and wrote — “morally wrong? Who wrote the ‘rules of morals?’ I must have missed that book.”
Mocny-Lingl responded: “It’s also Gods (sic) law.”
The thread went on for more than eight hours with people supporting the Dambowsky family and others asking Mocny-Lingl not to speak for all Christians.
The debate went from Facebook commentary to a hot-button political topic July 22 when the Republican Town Committee endorsed Mocny-Lingl over sitting board Chairman Dave Heller. Heller is the longest-serving Republican board member, having been on the board for 10 years.
There were six school board candidates seeking five spots. All five nominated were Republican Town Committee members. Heller is not on the town committee. He received the fewest votes at the July 22 caucus and therefore was not endorsed to run on the Republican ticket.
Following the caucus, Dambowsky yelled at Republican Town Committee members and referred to Mocny-Lingl in derogatory terms outside of her presence. He vowed to resign from the Republican Town Committee, and did on July 23.
In a letter to Republican Town Committee Chairwoman Kim Kiernan, Dambowsky said, “…As you know, I was deeply disappointed that our town committee nominated and endorsed a candidate for the Board of Education who has openly denounced gay rights, and specifically same sex relationships and marriage as immoral. … Endorsing a candidate who so steadfastly believes that the words ‘with freedom and justice for all’ only pertain to a certain class of people is something I cannot support.”
He apologized for letting his emotions get the best of him following the caucus before asking for Kiernan to accept his resignation.
Mocny-Lingl, who asked Dambowsky for his support to her run for the school board after the Facebook flap, said she is entitled to her opinion.
“I’m a Christian. I do have many friends who are gay. So I am by no means a gay hater. And I don’t judge them; I don’t hate them,” she said. “I accept them for who they are. I myself as a Christian don’t condone gay marriage. I guess to each his own, but I don’t condone it.”
Mocny-Lingl is a Republican Town Committee board member and longtime volunteer in Naugatuck public schools. She said she believes she can represent all of the borough’s school children and their families without bias.
“I am the type of person who believes in treating everyone fairly and judging every person by the type of person they are,” she said.