On Tuesday House Majority Leader
Dick Armey followed Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott’s commentary, making
disparaging comments about gay Americans and calling homosexuality a sin.
Trent Lott & Dick Armey
||White House Press Secretary
Deplores a Backward GOP
Dick Armey & Trent Lott
Pander to Religious Fanatics
Citing biblical verses from
Corinthians, when asked if he agreed with Lott's statements Armey said,
"My faith is very important to me...I do not quarrel with the Bible on
The House Majority Leader’s
remarks are the latest in a barrage of blatant attacks against gay men
and women that the Republican leadership has used to pacify James Dobson
after he threatened to bolt the Republican party unless they adopted his
far-right agenda, asserts the Human Rights Campaign.
This is not the first time
Armey has insulted gay men and lesbians. In 1994, Armey refereed to openly
gay congressman Barney Frank as "Barney Fag."
Tuesday's statement by Armey
follows the remarks Lott made Monday in an interview for commentator Armstrong
William's cable television show.
Williams asked Lott whether
or not homosexuality was a sin and Lott replied, "Yeah, it is. You should
still love that person. You should try not to mistreat them as outcasts.
You should show them a way to deal with that problem, just like alcohol
or sex. There are all kinds of problems, addictions, difficulties, experiences
of things that are wrong, but you should try to work with that person to
learn how to control that problem."
Lott's statements conflict
with modern science. They are also contradicted by mental health experts.
In August 1997, the American Psychological Association overwhelmingly passed
a resolution, at the APA convention, that asserts that there is no sound
scientific evidence on the efficacy of "reparative therapy," which seeks
to "cure" homosexuals. In 1973, the American Psychiatric Association removed
homosexuality from its list of mental disorders.
White House Press Secretary,
Mike McCurray, replied vigorously to anti-gay Republican bigots on behalf
of President Clinton, critiquing the GOP leadership’s anti-gay frenzy.
The text of the Press Secretary’s response is as follows:
What does President Clinton think when the Senate Majority Leader describes
homosexuality the way he did in an interview yesterday?
McCurray: He thinks that the American people understand how difficult
it is to get business done in Washington sometimes when you're dealing
with people who are so backward in their thinking. For over 25 years, it's
been quite clear that sexual orientation is not an affliction. It is not
a disease. It isn't something that is part of defining one's sexuality.
And the fact that the Majority Leader has such views, apparently, consistent
with some who are fairly extreme in his party, is an indicator of how difficult
it is to do rational work in Washington.
Well, wait a minute. How does this relate to -- this is stopping what kind
of work? Does this relate to the tobacco bill or –
McCurray: It's on a wide variety of matters. The views of Gary Bauer
and James Dobson define the approach that many take in the Republican Caucus
and that puts, at sometimes, the Republican Caucus and its leadership in
the Congress to the extreme point of view in American political life. And
it makes it hard to do business with people who want to –
But is there any specific piece of legislation that this kind of view is
McCurray: One would argue that the whole State Department authorization
bill is being held up for exactly, that reason. There are probably other
Back on the Uniformed Services –
Can we just finish that gay issue for a second?
Lott says he'll oppose the nomination of James Hormel to be ambassador
McCurray: Yes, exactly. You can see -- why would they oppose someone
who is otherwise well-qualified to be a U.S. ambassador other than the
prejudice that exists in their minds against people who are gay and lesbian?
And that's such a clear example of why. I mean, now you understand why.
It's because they have views that are, to put it charitably, quite out
But he says that that's because Hormel has advocated the gay lifestyle.
McCurray: Mr. Hormel has more than adequately addressed that in
his confirmation hearings. And that's not the reason. They're refusing
to move forward on that nomination because he's gay. That's quite plain
and simply the case.
Mike, you've been saying that when you refer to people who are so
backward in their thinking, people who can't do rational work, and people
who are prejudiced against the gay and lesbians, are you referring to Trent
McCurray: I'm referring to people who reflect that point of view.
And if that is the way in which he defines his approach on these issues,
I guess it does apply to him. But he should maybe clarify that and explain
how his views on sexual orientation are consistent with what every expert
in the field has to say.
Do you think your views, Mike, might hurt – the views that you expressed
today might hurt chances for the tobacco bill?
Mike, when you describe Lott's statements as backward in thinking regarding
homosexuality, are those the views of the President?
McCurray: The President has made it very clear that he thinks that
people who are law-abiding, contributing members of this community and
this nation should not suffer discrimination because of their sexual orientation.
And I think the President believes that there are a significant number
of Americans that share that point of view.
Well, regarding social issues, the President has also shown respect, acknowledged
that on various social issues there are different views because of convictions
held, but is this the same kind of spirit shown by saying that he's backward
in this thinking?
McCurray: Well, that's true when it's a matter of conscience. This
is a case in which, contrary to fact, contrary to statements of the medical
community and those who are expert, the Majority Leader has taken an incorrect
view that homosexuality is a disease. It is not. And that's an entirely
different matter. That's not a position held as a conviction or a matter
of conscience. Now, the Majority Leader, as a religious matter, a
matter of theology, may have views, and the President doesn't contest that.
The President's is the President; he's not a theologian. But that's not
the specific issue that the majority -- that I think aroused such profound
concern in the community. It was the view that's now been strongly refuted
for over a generation that homosexuality is a disease.
Didn't he say it was a sin?
McCurray: He said several things, but the one that I am addressing
is that one.