News

NH Lawmaker Apologizes for Anti-Gay Slurs

by Kilian Melloy
Wednesday Feb 17, 2010

A New Hampshire lawmaker has apologized for her remarks after declaring that fifth graders were learning about gay sex. The same lawmaker also characterized same-sex relationships as amounting to little more than anal sex.

The remarks were made by State Rep. Nancy Elliott, a Republican, who questioned whether same-sex relationships were "normal" in the context of one man inserting his member into the rectum of another man. State lawmakers in New Hampshire were considering a bill that would have rescinded the existing right of marriage for gay and lesbian families. The bill was rejected by a panel composed of state representatives.

Elliott sat on the Judiciary Committee that considered the bill, and told other members of the committee that a parent had informed her that fifth-graders in the town of Nashua had been shown explicit photos in the classroom of men performing anal sex. "Because we have made a marriage of same sex, they are now teaching it in public school," Elliott claimed. "They are showing our fifth-graders how they can actually perform this kind of sex. And they are condoning, they are saying this is normal and this is something that you may want to try."

The question of whether same-sex relationships could be considered "normal" also came up in other statements that Elliott made, in which she described a relationship between two men in terms of "taking the penis of one man and putting it into the rectum of another man and wiggling it around in excrement," going on to ask other committee members, "Would you let that happen to you? Is that normal?"


Elliott withdrew her claim that children were being taught how to perform anal sex in Nashua schools on Feb. 16, saying that she had made the statement before verifying whether the claim was true. "I would like to apologize to the Judiciary Committee, the Nashua public schools and its employees and the speaker as well as anyone else affected by what I said,'' Elliott read aloud from a prepared statement, reported local newspaper the Nashua Telegraph on Feb. 17. "I will try much harder in the future to verify fully my statement," Elliott went on, adding that she had believed the story when she told it. "I was told shortly before the hearing on HB 1590 [the anti-gay bill that would rescind marriage rights] that what I later said had happened, and I firmly believed it to be so," Elliott said. "It is for that reason and because of its relevance that I brought it up to the committee."

However, after making the claims, "I found that I could not confirm the accuracy of the information," Elliott said.

Mark Conrad, the superintendent of the schools in Nashua, told the press that there was nothing to indicate that anything of the sort had ever happened in a Nashua public school. He also reported that Elliott had not alerted anyone in the school system as to the story she claimed to have heard from a parent.

That apparent lack of action on Elliott's part drew criticism, with Diane Sheehan, the Alderman of Ward 3, calling into question why the lawmaker had not reported the story to authorities or school officials if she believed it. Sheehan said that if Elliott did not provide substantiation for the story--or else recant it entirely--then Sheehan would act to have Elliott removed from office. "She's claiming she's concerned about kids and yet she has done nothing," said Sheehan of Elliott.

Meantime, anti-gay activists seeking to take existing marriage rights away from gay and lesbian families in New Hampshire plan to get a measure on the ballot at some point. They are starting with a non-binding resolution from many of the state's smaller towns urging that a ban be imposed on marriage equality, reported New Hampshire newspaper the Union Leader in a Feb. 16 article. The issue is not expected to gain traction this year, but observers anticipate that it will play a role in upcoming elections.

Republican State Rep. David Bates vowed to put the rights of gay and lesbian families before voters. "Irrespective of what happens this year, we'll be revisiting the issue next year," Bates, a principle activist in the push to undo family parity, told the press. "I don't see an end until we let the people vote on it.

"Should our marriage law include homosexual marriage?" added the lawmaker. "If society changes, well then we're all obliged to accept that in terms of public policy. To say that we're not going to put this to a vote, that is choosing tyranny over democracy."

Not everyone agrees: opponents of such ballot initiatives say that the rights of minorities should not be put up to majority vote.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.


Comments

  • Someguy, 2010-02-17 19:00:29

    Not much of an apology. She failed to apologize for believing such and outrageous charge in the first place. She failed to apologize for airing and disgusting and inaccurate description of anal sex. She failed to apologize for treating a loving, committed human relationship as if it boiled down to one sex act she doesn’t like and can’t accurately describe. She failed to mention gay people. She failed to retract her call for a repeal of marriage equality even though she admitted the statement she gave as a reason for supporting repeal was false.


  • , 2010-02-18 09:12:01

    Someone at the Nashua Indepndent said it best: Her "source" was looking in the mirror.


  • wimsy, 2010-02-18 11:32:06

    This is the worst case of penis envy I’ve ever seen. Nobody would shove anything into that witch and wiggle it around. She has to use her broomstick


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