Snap: Sen. Robert Bird
The life story of U.S. Sen. Robert Bird is one of evolution. The conservative Democrat from West Virginia, who died June 28 after serving 57 years in the Senate, moved from opposing nearly all pro-gay legislation to backing several important bills in recent years. In the 90s, HRC rated him in the 25-35 range, in no small part for voting in favor of the Defense of Marriage Act, which bars the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages, and the Employment Nondiscrimination Act. He went so far as to link the fall of the ancient Roman Empire to homosexuality in a speech on the Senate floor. In the last two years, however, Byrd voted for the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Act and helped draft a provision to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” “I don’t think he understood gays,” said a former staffer. “It was not part of his social lexicon. Yet it was clear that there had been an evolution on gay issues.”
Slap: Rev. Tom Brock
Yet another rabid anti-gay pastor has been found to be a self-loathing homosexual himself. Hope Lutheran Church pastor Rev. Tom Brock was exposed by Lavender Magazine as attending a support group for men wanting to overcome “same-sex attractions.” The article never explicitly said Brock acknowledged engaging in gay sex, but quotes him as saying, “I fell into temptation. I was weak” at a recent mission trip to Eastern Europe. Brock is currently on leave as pastor.
Snap: Equality California
In an unusual move, the group which fought against Proposition 8 has released its polling data to the public. Much can be learned from the data, which covers about 20 polls taken from May to November of 2002. One number we found interesting was that 45 percent of those who supported the proposition did so to stop schools from teaching children about homosexual relationships — a point the Yes on 8 Campaign pressed heavily in television ads close to the election.