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Dornan, AIDS Controversy

October 02, 1988

Much has been written concerning the Sept. 18 Dornan town hall meeting. With each new article, charges of political misrepresentations, family distrust, allegations of homosexuality and affliction with AIDS continue. Throughout this escapade, however, some serious issues have surfaced and have been largely ignored.

I wonder what the political future of a congressman would be if the bigoted slur used by his wife had been directed at a racial minority or the handicapped. Justifiably, calls would be made for his removal from office, or at the very least he would be forced to repudiate his wife's remarks.

No such apology has been heard from Rep. Robert K. Dornan. Instead, he has continued his relentless attacks on lesbians and gays, seemingly oblivious to the fact that he has a legal and moral obligation to represent all of his constituents, regardless of the hatred in his heart.

The fact that a person's sexual orientation and medical condition have been topics of widespread publicity underscores the single-most important aspect of a rational and effective AIDS policy. AIDS testing must remain anonymous and confidential, and those persons must be protected by strong anti-discrimination provisions. Only then can we expect people to come forward for education regarding medical treatment and risk reduction.

I find it shameful at best that Dornan has repeatedly opposed all such anti-discrimination legislation. Perhaps if we all had a little more compassion and a lot less hatred in our souls, allegations of homosexuality and AIDS would no longer be seen as issues which make headlines, ruin businesses, destroy "good names" and tear apart our family structure.

JEFF LeTOURNEAU

Anaheim

LeTourneau is co-chairperson of the Orange County Visibility League.

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