14 HOUSTON VOICE / MARCH 3, 1995
Bill would transfer money
from gay organization to day
Panel kills attempt to overturn
Arkansas sodomy law
By ROCHELLE OLSON
FOR THE HOUSTON VOICE
CHARLESTON, W.Va.. Friday, Feb.
24 (AP)—A member of a gay, lesbian
and bisexual group at West Virginia
University said homophobia is
behind a bill aimed at eliminating the
group's funding and office space.
"You cannot claim yourself to be
non-homophobic when you will do
anything in your power to throw a gay
organization off campus, but at the
same time keep organizations in their
offices based solely on their race, gender or religion." Erick Rex rode, a
board member of Bisexual, Gay and
Lesbian Mountaineers, said Thurs-
Delegates Eric Blass, R-Monong-
alia. Greg Martin, R-Ohio, and Arnold
Ryan. D-Summers, introduced a bill
that would cut off space and money for
the group and give it to a day care.
Blass said the university needs space
for student day care.
"It could have a good chance because a
vote against it would be a pro-gay vote
and I don't think many delegates want
to go on the record as pro-gay," Blass
But Rexrode said the groups office
space is only 8-by-12 feet. The whole
downtown campus is unfit for a daycare center because there is no outdoor area for children to play. Rexrode said.
"If Delegate Blass thinks he is going
to get this bill passed without a fight, he
is wrong," Rexrode said.
Blass said the gay group receives up to
$8,000 in taxpayer funds yearly.
"I just don't think, to be quite honest,
the homosexual and lesbian community should be funded by the state
whether it's a penny or a million dollars," Martin said.
Rexrode said the group is financed by
membership dues and private dona
tions, not taxpayer money. The group
paid for its own computer and pays its
own phone bills, he said.
The lawmakers are stepping over
their bounds by trying to tell the university what to do, Rexrode said.
Morgantown is a comfortable
place for gay, bisexual and lesbian
people because of non-discrimination laws at the university and in the
city that protect them, Rexrode said.
Delegate Brian Gallagher, D-Mon-
ongalia. said he received no requests
for such a measure and doubts there is
room at the union for a day-care center.
"I don't think a vote for that is pro-gay
or anti-gay." he said.
Delegate Barbara Evans Fleischa-
uer, D-Monongalia, said the bill was
"ridiculous." She received no calls
from constituents requesting the
measure and does not support it, she
"I think it's a publicity stunt," she
The bill was sent to the House Education Committee. Chairperson
Roman Prezioso, D-Marion, said he
had not read the bill and had not decided
whether to put it on the agenda.
Prezioso noted the bill also would
need to be sent to the Finance Committee.
Martin, said he represents conservative constituents, many of whom
believe the gay lifestyle is deviant,
and that everybody should be treated
equally under the law.
"They have what we might call traditional family values and overwhelmingly are not happy lhat funding is being used to supplement and pay
for homosexual and lesbian projects," Martin said.
Ryan agreed it was an inappropriate
use of taxpayer money.
"It's a problem there. They could use
day care services," he said.
By JAMES JEFFERSON
FOR THE HOUSTON VOICE
LITTLE ROCK, Friday, Feb. 24
(AP)—For the third time in six years, a
Senate committee killed legislation Friday that would make private,
consentual homosexual acts legal
The state sodomy law makes sexual
acts between people of the same sex a
misdemeanor, along with sex with
Sen. Vic Snyder, D-Little Rock, has
sponsored legislation to remove
private homosexual acts from the
law in three consecutive regular
He said Friday that heterosexuals in Arkansas can privately
engage in any kind of consentual sex
they choose without state interference.
"But if you are gay or lesbian, the
state has a right to go in your home and
arrest you," Snyder said. "We're
just one aggressive, misguided
prosecutor away from having an
ugly incident in this state."
Former Sen. John Pagan, a constitutional lawyer, said the issue was
not whether the Legislature
approves of homosexuality, but
whether lawmakers believe in the
rights of privacy and equal protection.
Some states have repealed similar
sodomy laws and the courts have
invalidated them in other states, he
"There's nothing at all radical
about this bill. This bill is very much in
the mainstream of current American legal thought," Pagan said.
About a dozen spectators in the
Senate Judiciary Committee
meeting wore lapel stickers supporting Snyder's bill, including
the Rev. Bryan G. Fulwider of the
Interfaith Council, a group of 14
faiths representing about 450,000
A United Methodist minister,
Fulwider said his denomination
has struggled with the issue of homosexuality for many years.
"Many of us believe and understand
it as one of the ways God creates God's
human beings," he said. "We don't
believe the state has any business
legislating or dictating what
consenting adults do in the privacy
of their own homes."
Shirley Herndon of Little Rock
described her daughter, whom she
did not name, as an upstanding citizen of the state and good person who
for a decade has been involved in a lesbian relationship.
Ms. Herndon criticized the sodomy law as an unconstitutional
infringement on her daughter's
right to live her life as she saw fit.
But opponents of the measure noted
the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of
Appeals' affirmation of the law in
"Our law is constitutional and,
basically, we ought to just leave well
enough alone," said Jerry Cox,
director of Arkansas Family Council, a conservative group that
focuses on family issues.
Larry Page of the Christian Civic
Action Committee said the law was an
important public policy statement
"that some behavior is not appropriate, regardless of how politically incorrect that view would be."
The committee voted the bill down
on a voice vote. The only member
other than Snyder to voice support
for it was Sen. Mike Everett, D-
Two years ago, Everett revealed in
emotional testimony he had
accepted his son after learning he was
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