D'Amato, Lungren Weight in on Growing Battle

June 18, 1998 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Tumblr

In stinging letter to Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-MS), Senator Alfonse D'Amato weighs in against anti-gay intolerance, with specific reference to the nomination of Jim Hormel to be Ambassador to Luxembourg: "I fear that Mr. Hormel's nomination is being obstructed for one reason, and one reason only: the fact that he is gay. In this day and age, when people ably serve our country in so many capacities without regard to sexual orientation, for the United States Senate to deny an appointment on that basis is simply wrong. What's more, on a personal level, I am embarrassed that our Republican Party, the Party of Lincoln, is seen to be the force behind this injustice."

After remarks on a talk show interview, Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R) "characterized homosexuality as a disease akin to kleptomania and called gay sex a sin." Lungren "said that he would have put it differently and that he does not know whether homosexuality is a chosen behavior, as Lott suggested." Lungren: "Those are not the words I would use to describe (homosexuality)," as to whether people are born gay or decide to become gay, "Frankly, I don't know what the answer is. I mean, if someone's got the complete answer on the question, I'd like to see it." Lungren "defended his own record on gay rights by noting his opposition to the Briggs Initiative in 1978, which would have barred homosexuals from teaching in public schools. The initiative, which also was opposed by then-Governor Ronald Reagan, was overwhelmingly defeated" (Gunnison/Sandalow, San Francisco Chronicle, 6/18).

Focus on the Family's James Dobson, 62, was hospitalized late 6/16 following a "very mild" stroke. He is now "under medical observation and resting comfortably while undergoing a series of tests and procedures to better determine his condition." There is "no indication of paralysis, no loss of consciousness, and his arteries are perfectly clear" (Focus on the Family release, 6/17).