WASHINGTON — Increasing the anti-homosexual rhetoric from Lyndon LaRouche supporters, a newspaper tied to LaRouche said this weekend that communist gangs of the "lower sexual classes" controlled by the major parties are opposing Proposition 64, the AIDS measure on the California ballot.
The latest issue of New Solidarity, a newspaper that is the most widely read of several publications that espouse LaRouche's extremist political views, included the slur in a story about gay activists who picketed LaRouche's Los Angeles headquarters to protest the initiative. LaRouche supporters placed the measure on the Nov. 4 ballot.
As the election nears, items attacking gays have become more common in the paper, which is sold by LaRouche organizers in airports nationwide and handed out free in sections of Los Angeles.
Other issues of New Solidarity published last week attacked the state's Roman Catholic bishops--who strongly oppose Proposition 64--for aligning with "the degraded homosexual culture so pervasive in California" and made a vulgar joke about gays receiving Communion at a Catholic mass in West Hollywood, a city with a high percentage of gay residents.
An issue of the newspaper last week joked about AIDS, made flippant references to actors Frank Sinatra, Robert Redford, Tony Curtis and Patty Duke and attacked Elizabeth Taylor, who has become a frequent LaRouche target since she became a visible champion of AIDS research.
Proposition 64 seeks to force health authorities to identify people who carry the virus that causes AIDS and remove them from schools and many jobs. The sponsors, who are longtime LaRouche supporters, say the initiative is needed to compel authorities to use "traditional public health" practices against AIDS.
The sponsors have sought to play down whether such practices might include quarantine, although most writings about AIDS from LaRouche's groups advocate "quarantine and isolation" of virus carriers. Lawyers for the state and others who have studied the initiative say, however, that the language of the initiative would not mandate quarantine.
In any case, virtually all AIDS experts and California political leaders have denounced Proposition 64 as seriously flawed and have said that it will cause the lethal disease to spread even faster. Quarantine is ineffective against AIDS and would disrupt the effort to control AIDS, the doctors agree. Polls show the measure trailing.
In the latest issue, New Solidarity said that three different "militant communist gangs" have been unleashed against the initiative by the Republican and Democratic parties. The groups it names are loose organizations of gay activists.
The paper used the phrase "lower sexual classes" to describe members of those groups and about 2,000 people, including clergy and public officials, who demonstrated outside LaRouche's Los Angeles headquarters in the Los Feliz area Sept. 15.
LaRouche and his supporters, who say they predicted the AIDS crisis a decade ago, have maintained that the initiative does not single out gays but calls for strong measures to protect everyone.
But the new attacks on gays lend credence to critics who contend that LaRouche and his followers are motivated by a long-standing hatred of homosexuals. LaRouche and his supporters also frequently attack people they consider enemies by labeling them as homosexuals in print, often in vulgar slang terms.
In his 1984 presidential campaign platform, LaRouche broke from prevailing medical opinion and said homosexuality is a disease whose spread can only be stopped by law. When he declared a year ago that he would be a candidate for the presidency in 1988, LaRouche wrote about the recruitment of "millions of Americans into the ranks of AIDS-riddled homosexuality."
The latest issue also claims, based on a letter published in the British medical journal The Lancet, that AIDS can be transmitted by one child biting another without breaking skin. However, the study that the letter is based on has not been validated by other scientists. American health officials said privately it is "inconceivable" the virus could be transmitted that way.
LaRouche and his supporters contend that most AIDS cases that are not classified as those of homosexually active men or infected blood exchange can be explained by insect bites and other forms of casual transmission. Health officials say virtually all the cases that LaRouche attributes to casual contact actually got the virus through sexual activity.