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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Hudson representative’s email about gun control references polygamy and bestiality, he says he was joking

CONCORD – A Republican state legislator from Hudson on Tuesday denied reports that satirical websites duped him into thinking U.S. states or foreign countries were on the verge of legalizing sex between multiple partners or even animals.

State Rep. Jordan Ulery, R-Hudson, insisted that he sent House colleagues links to these satires to underline that humorous discourse today can turn into serious policies adopted in the future. ...

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CONCORD – A Republican state legislator from Hudson on Tuesday denied reports that satirical websites duped him into thinking U.S. states or foreign countries were on the verge of legalizing sex between multiple partners or even animals.

State Rep. Jordan Ulery, R-Hudson, insisted that he sent House colleagues links to these satires to underline that humorous discourse today can turn into serious policies adopted in the future.

“I knew they were satirical sites, and that was the purpose I posted them online – to say, ‘Yeah, we are never going to think about this,’ but I interspersed them with legitimate stories that go into defining marriage in the future as love and we know where that could lead,” Ulery explained.

“Quite honestly, if you take it from a pure logic point of view – if you are talking about an ephemeral love as the definition of marriage – then anything goes. I love my dog, but obviously not in the same way as I do my wife.”

Rep. Timothy Smith, D-Manchester, a frequent online adversary of Ulery, had informed Ulery during an online chat for members of the Legislature that the sites were fictitious humor and said Tuesday that he wasn’t buying Ulery’s denial.

“He definitely was duped,” Smith said. “That’s not my opinion; that’s a fact.”

“If he thought he was really passing on satire as satire, then he’s the worst communicator in the history of the planet.

“This isn’t the first time he’s posted outrageous things and – when called on them – offered some tortured explanation why that’s not what he meant, so he doesn’t look like a fool.”

On July 22, Ulery posted the websites during an online debate as House GOP members warned that ultimately, Democrats want a total ban on gun ownership.

Rep. Jan Schmidt, D-Nashua, responded that it was a “silly” notion.

“Nobody but nobody is even imagining a ban on guns,” Schmidt posted. “Talking about it makes you all look rather foolish.”

Ulery answered that seeking increased restrictions on gun purchases can lead to a gun ban, just as the debate on same-sex marriage has evolved over time to include wilder notions of marriage.

“And when we were discussing same-sex marriage people said talking about multiple partners, animal interactions made those who define marriage as a relationship between man and woman as silly and foolish,” Ulery wrote.

“Today, however, in several states multiple partners and even bestiality have been proposed or floated as extensions.”

The posts backing up the statement were from two satirical websites: The Daily Currant, musing about bestiality in New Zealand, and Smart Mouth Politics about lawmakers in Vermont considering a bill legalizing polygamy and bestiality.

Liberal blogs jumped on Ulery’s comments in recent days, though the reports do not include posts from Ulery to his colleagues later the same day that he had not been duped.

About 11 hours after the first exchange, Ulery posted, “No, the point is that comedy about an issue, satire about an issue followed by a NPR discussion illustrates that what is ridiculed as ‘silly’ soon becomes a serious discussion.”

Smith conceded that it was not unusual for Ulery to resume an online debate later the same night but saw this one as trying to look as though he hadn’t been fooled.

“I’m not sure he is convincing too many people,” Smith said.

For his part, Ulery understood how some could think he had been serious.

“Apparently, I was being way too subtle or obtuse,” Ulery added.

Another controversy regarding the gun debate arose when Rep. Gary Hopper, R-Weare, pasted a scantily clad woman next to a chart on high murder rates in Chicago, which has some of the toughest restrictions on gun ownership in the U.S.

“Please help me understand why you would send around this photo?” wrote Rep. Virginia “Biddy” Irwin, D-Newport. “If a Democrat had sent it, it would have been front page news. What does this photo have to do with the previous albeit ridiculous discussion on gun bans?”

Hopper said the photo is no different than advertising and programs on television going back to the “Dukes of Hazzard” series of the 1970s.

“The picture wasn’t any more offensive than what you can see on TV every night,” Ulery said.

“The reality is, a pretty girl goes a long way to getting people to pay attention, and that’s all I was going for with that.”

Kevin Landrigan can reached at 321-7040 or klandrigan@nashua
telegraph.com. Also, follow Landrigan on Twitter (@Klandrigan).