12 MONTROSE VOICE/MAY 5, 1989
Human Rights Campaign Fund making a difference
From TOM SAUEKMAN
National Vice-President, P-FLAG
A letter from the field division ofthe Human Rights Campaign Fund came across
my desk some time ago. It appealed to my
interest and made good sense. But it
called for me to do something I've never
done before: pre-authorizing mail to Capitol Hill—so that they could send messages in my name to members of Congress when critical issues come up. Before I tell you what I did, let me explain its
Washington, D.C, though only three
hours from my front door in Philadelphi-
a, is light-years from my experience. I
rarely keep track of what's going on
there—unless it's a banner headline in
my local newspaper. Important issues
about lesbian and gay concerns are frequently over and done with before I'm
aware that they happened. These important actions, amendments and votes take
place in small committees; occasionally
they reach the full House or Senate for a
And, surprisingly, they often come up
on short notice with little time for gay/
lesbian and AIDS lobbyists to reach all of
us who care before these votes. It seems
that the process doesn't make it easy for
those of us who care to be heard other
than through quick-response strategies
such as the Campaign Fund
For years I've been frustrated. What I
find is I've been reactive rather than proactive on these issues where I do have
strong opinions. So, I spend my
time writing to complain about
my representatives' vote or
writing to oppose legislation
that seems too far along for me
Then came the HRCF field division (formerly the Fairness
Fund) letter. ■
The Human Rights Campaign Fund is the national political action committee for the gay and lesbian
community. The Campaign Fund lobbies
Congress on AIDS and fairness issues for
lesbians and gay men Founded in 1980,
they're now the 9th largest independent
PAC in America. Because thery lobby and
monitor Congress daily, they're able to
move on an issue within hours.
They currently have my permission to
send ten 50-word messages in my name
where timing and pressure is important.
The messages will speak directly to and
issue's critical points. They cost just 2.95
each. The Fund sends out quarterly reports on messages sent, their impact and
legislative results. Or you can request
and immediate copy of the message for
just 50 cents each. Since they have my address, they know which voting district
I'm in and send it to whomever
they think it will have the most
impact upon. I can cancel at
anytime if I'm not satisfied.
The whole process really
makes good sense. In fact, as I
re-read the material and
thought about it further, it
seemed a good idea to share at a
Sunday meeting. (Why keep a
good thing to myself?) I explained the
program to the group. I invited others to
give it a try by passing around the form
the Fund sends in its information packet,
I consider my first sales pitch a success:
fourteen people signed up that day for a
total of 87 Mailgrams.
We're on our way. We've done something positive for our sons and daughters. Even some very closeted parents
signed up; nothing identifies us as members of P-FLAG or any other organized
group. From the quietness and safety of
my home, I know that a sensible and
thoughtful message will be sent on my behalf on issues that are important to me.
And, as importantly, I know it will get
there in time to make a difference.
Every letter, Mailgram or phone call
sent to Congress represents 1, 000 voters. And it not only reflects public opinion but also shows members of Congress
that our side is organized in their districts. Jerry Falwell, lyndon LaRouche,
and Phyllis Schafley generate lots of
mail—often to deprive our children of
their human rights and to pass AIDS hysteria measures that undercut and effective response to the crisis.
Don't you think it's time that you stand
up with us—and have your voice heard
on Capitol Hill. Not once, but again and
—Early gay history
From MICKEY MCSHAW
I am collecting stories, photos, tapes,
posters, buttons, from Houston's gay history in order to create abook about Houston's growth as a gay power from 1975-
1985. Your help is greatly appreciated.
For more information contact Mickey
McShan at (303) 320-4041 or write to
3000 E. Colfax *368, Denver, Co. 80206.
Texas House votes down hate crimes bill 79 to 64
By JERI CLAUSING
FOR THE MONTROSE VOICE
AUSTIN (UPI)—The Texas
House Tuesday effectively killed
a bill that would increase penal
ties for "hate crimes" against religious, ethnic or other societal
groups in a vote one black lawmaker said sends a message that
racism is acceptable in Texas.
the neighbOrhOOd,. Jerry VSnAmerongen
"The dog wants out, Gracey."
"I hate to say it, but I think the
basic signal is that bigotry and
racism are OK in Texas," said
Rep. Larry Evans, D-Houston.
"That's the signal that that vote
The House voted 79-64 to table
the proposal by Rep. Larry
Wolens, D-Dallas, even after he
tried to appease conservatives by
dropping gays from the list of
groups that could seek tighter
penalties when victimized.
The vote came the same day the
House passed six of eight bills in
House Speaker Gib Lewis's anti-
crime package, carried by former
Bexar County prosecutor Rep.
Dan Morales, D-San Antonio.
Wolens, who reminded members of recent harassment and
vandalism crimes against Jewish synagogues in Dallas, tried to
save his bill by cutting the sexual
orientation provision after conservatives, who called it a gay
rights measure, passed out letters
to all House members saying the
wording ofthe bill was too vague.
'"Sexual orientation' is not defined in the bill and so would also
mean any type of sexual preference such as incest, sex with animals (bestiality), sex with the
dead (necrophilia), sex with children (pedophilia), sadism, etc." the
letter approved by Rep. L.B.
Kubiak, D-Rockwall, said.
Opponents argued the legislation was not necessary because
current laws cover harassment
and other crimes. Wolens' proposal would have increased the crime
by one degree if it was committed
out of hate for a specific group of
"The bill addressed bigotry and
the bill addressed racism and the
bill addressed hate, where that
hate is already acknowledged in
a crime such as kidnapping, assault and murder," Wolens said.
"And then action ofthe Legislature today says that the Legislature does not as a majority feel
that there should be additional
penalties if a jury is able to determine that murder or kidnapping
or assault is done in the name of
bigotry or racism. ... I think it's
Opponents argued that the in
creased criminal and civil penalties would only open up more people to lawsuits.
"We've got enough laws to deal
with these situations." said
Speaker Pro Tern Rep. Hugo
Berlanga, D-Corpus Christi. the
only minority voting to table the
bill. "I thought it was just going
to open it up for more abuse and
more lawsuits to be filed, and that
was my biggest concern."
Other opponents question.!.
whether religious leaders would
be held liable under the bill if they
spoke against certain groups.
But Wolens and Evans described that argument as a ridiculous smokescreen lawmakers
used to justify their vote.
"That was a bizarre argument
that didn't have any basis at all
in fact. That was just an inane, bizarre, crazy statement. There's
no basis," said Wolens. "It has to
be against current law before that
would be a crime under this bill.''
Evans said he thought the religious argument "was an excuse
to vote the bill down ... It's a convenient smokescreen"
How they voted to kill hate crimes bill
AUSTIN (UPI)-Here is the rollcall vote by
which the Texas House of Representatives
Tuesday voted 79-64 to kill a bill that would
increase state penalties for "hate crimes":
YES (7S)>: Alexander, Arnold, Barton,
Beauchamp, Berlanga, Blackwood, Brimer,
Campbell, Carter, Chisum, Clemons, Connelly. Counts, Craddick, Crawford, Culberson,
Earley, Finnell. Fraser, Grusendorf,
Haggerty, Hammond. Harris, C, Harrison,
Heflin, Hightower, Hilbert, Hilderbran, Hill.
K, Hill, P.. Hollowell, Holzheauser, Horn,
Hunter, B. Hunter. T, Hury, Jackson, Johnson, J., Johnson. S.. Jones. Kubiak, Kuempel,
Marchant, McWilliams, Mowery, Oakley,
Ovard, Park, Parker. Patterson. Pennington,
Repp. Kobinson, Rodriguez, Rudd, Saunders,
Schlueter, Seidlits. Shea, Shelley, Shin.,
Smith. A.. Smith, I)„ Smith, R„ Smith. T„
Smithee, Swift, Tallns, Taylor. Telford, Thomas, Valigura, Vandervoort, Waterfield.
Watkins, Wentworth, Willy, Wright, Yost.
NO (64): Blaii; Cain, Cavazos, Colbert,
Collazo, Conley,Cries, Cuellar, H.,Cuellar. R.,
Danburg. Delco, Denton, Dutton, Eckels,
Edge, Edwards, Evans. Garcia, Gavin, Gib
son, Glossbrenner, Goolsby, Granoff,
Guerrero, Harris, J., Hill, A.. Hinojosa. Hudson, D., Hudson, S., Junell, Laney, Larry,
Lewis, R., Linebarger, Lucio, Luna, A., Luna
G., Madia, Martinez, McCol lough,
McDonald, McKinney. Melton, Morales, Perez, Perry, Pierce. I'olumbo, Price, Rangel,
Robnett. Russell, Schoolcraft, Soileau, Suits
Thompson, G., Thompson, S., Turner, Uher,
Vowell, Wallace, Warner, Willis, Wolens.
ABSENT OR NOT VOTING (6): Lewis, G.,
Moreno, A., Moreno, P, Richardson.