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Florida Pickets Hound
Hatemonger Gary Bauer

26-Year-Old Gay Hate Victim
Found Dead in Florida

Blame for Hate Climate Laid at Bauer's Feet

By Jack Nichols

top1028.gif - 22.22 K GayToday's Jack Nichols prior to the evening demonstration Central Florida--In the wake of another hate killing, a small group of 8 pickets, including this reporter, demonstrated after dark outside the Melbourne Airport Hilton where, inside, Family Research Council director, Gary Bauer, addressed a banquet gathering of his political klanspeople.

News media had announced earlier in the day that Orlando resident Sabastian Durgins, 26, had been found dead of gun shot wounds to the head, his body left near train tracks and the Sanford Garden Apartment complex in Sanford, Florida.

Two boys walking near the tracks had discovered the young man's body. Police told reporters that the victim had not been robbed. He was, said the Orlando Sentinel, a hairdresser. Later, immediately following the anti-Bauer picket, television news stations were calling the Durgins murder "another anti-gay hate crime."

The pickets, who laid blame for the hostile climate favoring such murders at the feet of Bauer, initially made their views known on local radio stations and in a major Florida newspaper. Pickets represented Miami Beach's Oral Majority, The Space Coast Lesbian and Gay Alliance and employees of the Aware Woman Center for Choice. bauer2.jpg - 11.41 K Gary Bauer

dgolding.gif - 6.24 K David Golding Democratic candidate for Congress David Golding (District 15, Florida), stepped from his automobile and remained with the picketers until they disbursed. "I share your views," he said, "about the danger that Gary Bauer poses, and that's why I'm here to give you my wholehearted support."

Signs confronting Bauer's contingent included photographs of the GOP hate candidate that said: "Bauer's Bigotry is to Blame" and "Gary Baueró'Murderer' by Proxy". Another sign said: "Stop the Christian Reich's Sexual Witchhunt" which included a Swastika and "No More Nazism".
Signs with photographs of both Matthew Shepard and Dr. Barnett Slepian (who was murdered by an anti-abortionist during the weekend in Amherst, New York) said: "Jesus Would Weep", "Remember Matthew" and "Remember Dr. Slepian". sdonald.gif - 23.95 K Stephanie Donald, Co-Chair of the Space Coast Lesbian & Gay Alliance, prior to picketing Gary Bauer's banquet at the Melbourne Airport Hilton

Bauer supporters, entering Hilton grounds were, prior to the banquet, forced to digest the messages held in their faces by the pickets. Several of them gave pickets "the finger" and police gathered nearby with Bauer security forces to monitor the small enthusiastic group who were not allowed on Hilton property.

Television news ignored the pickets, engaged as they were with nearby festivities surrounding the forthcoming flight into space of Senator John Glenn, 77, and the crew of the Discovery shuttle. "They were more concerned with outer space," said Oral Majority's Bob Kunst, "than with the horrors going on here on earth."

kunst.gif - 18.07 K Bob Kunst "We only get the press, it seems, when we're mourning our dead," Kunst continued, "but they don't want to hear from us when we stand up to Republican bigots who always get the opportunities they want to attack us."

Florida candidate for governor, Jeb Bush, a son of former President Bush, and a darling of the Right Wing, was represented by a plethora of bumper stickers attached to incoming autos and, reportedly, by his press manager. Incumbent Congressman Dave Weldon (Republican) who is running against the aforementioned David Golding (Democrat), drove past the pickets who booed him as a GOP hatemonger.

Gary Bauer, who has plans to run on the Republican ticket for the Presidency in 2000, had hoped to exploit the Hilton banquet to advance his anti-gay, anti-free choice agendas. In building his political base in Florida, the last place he expected to exposed as a menace was in this conservative Republican bastion.

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