GOP Right to Kolbe: "Hands Up"
August 1, 2000
SUMMARY: Religious conservatives dont want to see a gay
congressman speaking before the Republican convention - theyd rather see him busted
for sodomy when he gets home.
The selection of gay Republican Arizona Congressmember Jim Kolbe for a prime time
speech at his partys national convention August 1 was hailed by gays and lesbians,
but some voices on the religious right have called for him to be arrested for sodomy
First the cry came from Phil Burress, chair of Cincinnatis "Equal Rights Not
Special Rights," who successfully defended the citys Issue 3 a "son
of Colorados Amendment 2" proactive prohibition against the citys
recognizing gays and lesbians as a minority twice before a federal appeals court,
both before and after the U.S. Supreme Courts ruling striking down Amendment 2
itself (the high court declined a further appeal). Its the only law of its type
still on the books anywhere in the U.S. Burress letter as further distributed July
28 by Donald Wildmons Tupelo, Mississippi-based American Family Association (AFA),
said, "Mr. Kolbe as a self described homosexual means nothing except to say he
engages in sodomy. Did you know that in Arizona, sodomy is against the law? Mr. Kolbe
should be arrested when he returns to his home state for violating state law. Would you
agree that all lawmakers should insist that all laws be enforced?" That sounded like
a fine ide! a ! to the AFA, which encouraged its members to write to Republican Party
Chair Jim Nicholson.
The president of the Texas chapter of Phyllis Schlaflys Eagle Forum, Cathie
Adams, described the Kolbe speech on foreign trade as "a quota. ... This is being
done to pander to the homosexual agenda," and e-mailed her constituency that,
"My heart is crying. ... Its hypocritical to have that plank then invite an
open homosexual to address our convention just because hes homosexual,"
according to the Fort Worth Star Telegram, which wasnt clear exactly which of the
anti-gay planks in the Republican platform Adams was citing.
Bush campaign spokespeople insisted Kolbes orientation is irrelevant, and Texas
party spokesperson Robert Black told the Star Telegram that, "It appears that
Congressman Kolbe has decided that the broad issues that all Republicans agree upon is
more important than his homosexual rights agenda, and thats why he has decided to
speak at the convention."
The American Civil Liberties Union took the occasion to underscore the danger of sodomy
laws, which its own Lesbian and Gay Rights Project and other groups have been working to
nullify in the courts. The Projects associate director Michael Adams said,
"Time and time again when we file lawsuits challenging sodomy laws, conservative
groups argue that these laws are not enforced and do not present any real danger
but that they should remain on the books to send a moral message. By issuing this callous
alert, the right wing has demonstrated the very real danger of sodomy laws that
they can be used to try to intimidate and silence lesbian and gay Americans. If a
Republican member of Congress is not safe from such attacks, who is?"
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