8 The Star / March 2,1984
NGRA Enters Case
on Behalf of
National Gay Rights Advocates has filed
a brief in the Minnesota Supreme Court
urging that a judge not be dismissed
simply because he is gay.
The case involves Crane Winton, a District Court Judge in Hennepin County,
The Board of Judicial Standards, in
recommending Winton's removal, concluded that, "A homosexual may be a
judge only if he or she is celibate."
Leonard Graff, NGRA legal director,
said Judge Winton was being subjected to
an unfair double standard.
"In Minnesota," Graff said, "the same
sexual activity is illegal for gays and
straights. Yet, straight judges have not
been asked to vow not to engage in that
type of sex."
NGRA Executive Director Jean O'Leary
said: "It seems fairly obvious that Judge
Winton is being treated differently simply
because he is gay. These outdated sex laws
were never intended to be used as a measure of one's ability to serve the public."
Judge Winton has been on the bench for
Taking a Dive
Psychiatrists, public health workers and
law enforcement officials say that statistics show promiscuity may no longer be
the fashion for straights or gays in America.
The reasons go beyond fear of AIDS or
herpes, they say, and include a counter-
sexual revolution to the 60's and 70's
It's a wind of conservatism, said Dr.
June M. Reinisch, director of the Kinsey
Institute for Reserach in Sex in Blooming-
ton, Ind., who attributes part of the
change to the declining economy.
"Hard times tend to bring people back to
their puritanic roots, and they become
more moralistic about disease," she said.
Although her theory is not widely
endorsed, the trend shows people have a
reduced number of partners, even persons
who consider themselves sexually liberated.
The shift is particularly discernable in
homosexual lifestyles. Public health officials in New York, Denver and Los
Angeles report that fear of AIDS has led to
a marked drop in other veneral diseases
A Madison, Wisconsin, veneral disease
clinic reported that in homosexual men
surveyed in 1982, each had an average of
6.8 sexual partners in the previous 30
days. In 1983, that number plunged to 3.2,
and 7.4 percent of the men had been abstinent for the previous days, while none
were abstinent in 1982.
National Gay Rights Advocates has
called for an investigation of what it costs
the government to exclude homosexuals
from the military, because the armed forces discharges about 1,800 lesbians and
gay men annually, based solely on their
"Simple arithmetic shows that millions
of dollars are being spent each year to bar
gays from serving their country," said
Jean O'Leary, NGRA executive director.
"We've submitted a number of questions
for a Government Accounting Office audit
which will reveal just how much the public
has to pay for this discrimination."
NGRA has a suit pending against the
Navy, challenging the constitutionality of
its exhisionary regulations.
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Apparently a majority of the American
public does not believe in the basic tenets
of the Constitution, to judge from the
results of a recent study of attitudes
toward established civil rights, such as
free speech, right to assemble and due process.
The study, Dimensions of Tolerance,
done by scholars Herbert Mcclosky and
Alida Brill, found that fewer than four of
every 10 Americans in the general public
consistently support the full range of
established civil liberties.
Between 1976 and 1979, the authors
sampled opinion from a wide range ofthe
general public and among select groups
such as community leaders, government
officials, lawyers, judges, educators and
When groups lacking widespread popular support, such as gays, seek to exercise
their civil rights, the amount of tolerance
is startlingly low.
"Civil liberties tend to be supported
more in principle than in actual conduct,"
says the authors. "And attitudes vary considerably according to the particular liberty at issue."
Most respondents believed, for example,
that homosexual relations in private
between consenting adults should be left
to the individual,.but nearly 60 percent
would deny gay leberation groups the use
of a community auditorium to promote
But tolerance is much more firmly established among opinion leaders, who play a
significant role in shaping decisions that
affect civil liberties, and amoung younger
citizens who are significantly and consistently more tolerant than older generations.
Even such leaders, however, are inconsistent in areas of emerging liberties, that
is, liberties that have not yet been fully
articulated or endorsed by public figures
and the courts, even when such liberties
may be logical outgrowths of established
A recent metropolitan newspaper poll
showed that just under half the persons
questioned in a nationwide survey said a
candidate's homosexuality would not
influence their decision to vote for the person, and some 52 percent supported gay
anti-discrimination laws. However, by a
2-1 margin, the same people said they were
"unsympathic" to the homosexual community.
The findings were published in the Los
Angeles Times recently.
Of the 1,653 persons telephoned for the
survey, 44 percent said they knew someone who was a homosexual. Some 47 percent said whether or not a local candidate
was gay would not influence how they
A separate poll of Californians revealed
that the state is more hospitable to homosexuals overall, and 58 percent said they
did not oppose the gay lifestyle.
However, the national survey showed
that 52 percent opposed the gay lifestyle,
and only 44 percent did not.
The East was the only region where
more than half approved of homosexuality.
The poll indicated a strong resentment
of the political activism of gays, and
strongest anti-gay feelings were evident in
the South and West.
Women were more positive about gays,
and Roman Catholics were more tolerate
of homosexuals than Protestants.
The poll was conducted in September.