A graphic description of homosexual sex acts placed in the Congressional Record by Rep. William E. Dannemeyer (R-Fullerton) has caused a flap in Congress, with an Indiana congressman branding the material obscene and threatening to seek an ethics investigation.
“Talk about prurient interest,” complained Rep. Andy Jacobs Jr., a Democrat representing the Indianapolis area. “I wouldn’t want my kid reading that sort of thing.”
The material to which Jacobs referred was inserted in the June 29 Congressional Record, the official daily record of Capitol Hill debate. Dannemeyer’s detailed descriptions of sex acts are part of a campaign to call attention to “what homosexuality really is,” Paul Mero, Dannemeyer’s press secretary, said Monday.
Two days after Dannemeyer provided the passage for the record, he released a letter calling on President Bush to investigate the impact that homosexual members of his Administration have had on tilting Administration policy toward the “homosexual movement” and away from the “heterosexual ethic.”
In a July 20 letter, Jacobs called on Dannemeyer to withdraw the descriptive paragraphs on the grounds that they appeared to violate the House’s longstanding decency standard. In a 1921 landmark case, the House voted to censure a member for inserting “foul and obscene matter” into the Congressional Record.
Jacobs said he would take up the matter with the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, commonly known as the Ethics Committee, if Dannemeyer refuses.
In a reply sent to Jacobs on Monday, Dannemeyer said he would “welcome the opportunity to more fully discuss the substantive reasons why the subject of my text is essential for full public debate. . . .
“The tens of millions of viewers of C-SPAN (the cable television channel that broadcasts congressional proceedings) will benefit greatly from the ensuing discussion.”
Mero said Dannemeyer is particularly concerned about a legislative effort to guarantee gays the same anti-discrimination protections afforded racial minorities by the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Such bills are pending in both the House and Senate.
“There’s a lot of legislative vehicles (involving homosexual rights) coming down the line,” Mero said, “and the homosexuals don’t want public policy debate to focus on what they do. They want it to focus on the abstract nature of civil rights. . . .
“It’s not until a family happens to be in the park and the kids stumble upon a (homosexual) couple in the bushes somewhere when all of a sudden it hits home what they are doing, and what that stands for in society.”
For that reason, Mero said, Dannemeyer “will continue to pursue this approach in the future. We will be quite open in explaining what we are talking about.”
In an interview, Jacobs said that he is not supporting the proposed legislation and that his quarrel with Dannemeyer is over the forum Dannemeyer chose to express his views. “I just don’t think it belongs in the Congressional Record,” Jacobs said.