Log Cabin Condemns Anti-Gay Murder in Alabama

Nation's Leaders Must Speak Forcefully Against Anti-Gay Intolerance, Say Gay Republicans

March 5, 1999 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Tumblr

(WASHINGTON, DC) – The nation's largest gay Republican organization condemned the savage, anti-gay muder of Billy Jack Gaither, 39, outside Sylacauga, Alabama, on Feburary 19. Police have obtained the confessions of two men who said they killed Gaither because the victim had made an advance on them, and that they "didn't like it because Gaither was gay." The killers confessed that they kidnapped Gaither, placed him in the trunk of a car, drove him to an isolated area, lit several tires with kerosene, beat Gaither severely with an ax handle and threw his body on the burning tires.

The anti-gay nature of the murder was kept quiet by police and community leaders since the killing to assist the authorities in finding and arresting the suspects, who were arrested this week. It was similar to the brutal anti-gay murder of Matthew Shepard, 21, in Wyoming last year, and the racially-motivated dragging death of James Byrd, Jr., in Texas, which resulted in a murder conviction earlier this week.

"The savagery of this murder is horrifying, but sadly becoming too common," said Kevin Ivers, director of public affairs for Log Cabin Republicans. "Such brutal murders motivated by intolerance are happening with an alarming frequency, and they are the product of bigotry and hatred left unchecked."

"There is something wrong in society when gay people are continually murdered in this manner, and our leaders have a moral duty to address it," Ivers said. "The leaders of both parties must speak out with equal force against the anti-gay hatred and intolerance that is feeding such crimes. It is bigger than legislation. It is a moral issue and a values issue, and goes to the heart of who we will be as a nation. Every political leader, especially those who seek the presidency, must reflect on why this is happening, and what they can do to help stop it from continuing."

Log Cabin Republicans is the nation's largest gay Republican organization, with state and local chapters nationwide, a full-time Washington office and a federal political action committee.