In an hour-long attack on homosexual activism, Orange County Rep. William E. Dannemeyer on Friday called for the House to expel Rep. Barney Frank, a Massachusetts lawmaker embroiled in a scandal involving his former relationship with a homosexual prostitute.
Speaking from the House floor, Dannemeyer (R-Fullerton) also called for the expulsion of Rep. Donald (Buz) Lukens (R-Ohio), should Ohio courts uphold Lukens' conviction on charges involving his sexual relationship with a 16-year-old girl.
Dannemeyer was twice interrupted by the presiding officer of the House, who said he had violated rules that prohibit floor discussion of matters under consideration by the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, commonly known as the ethics committee.
After the first reproof, Dannemeyer resumed his speech and referred to Frank as "Member X." However, Rep. Jolene Unsoeld (D-Wash.), who was presiding over the chamber, ordered him to stop. The incident occurred shortly before Dannemeyer had finished his prepared remarks, which he delivered to an empty House chamber after the conclusion of official business.
It was the first time that a member of Congress has formally called for the expulsion of Frank (D-Mass.).
"What is at issue here is public approbation and the common good--and not to be forgotten, the integrity of public institutions, which still list Congress among them," Dannemeyer said.
Noting that "more than one political career has been smashed against the rocks of sexual obsession," Dannemeyer asked, "Why (would) an elected public servant . . . risk his or her career to pursue a sex act with reckless abandon and regardless of the consequences?"
A spokesman for Frank said the congressman would have no comment because his case is pending before the ethics committee. Despite the accusations against him, Frank has maintained substantial support among his congressional colleagues.
At Lukens' office, spokesman Bill Jarrell dismissed Dannemeyer's remarks. "We're going to win the appeal, so the point's moot," he said. The ethics committee also is considering the Lukens matter. Most key Republican party leaders in Ohio and in the nation have called on Lukens to resign.
Dannemeyer has long crusaded against what he contends is the growing influence of the homosexual political movement on public policy and popular culture. Some critics in the homosexual community have said Dannemeyer is obsessed with the issue.
"Am I unnaturally preoccupied with homosexuality?" Dannemeyer asked on the House floor.
"That is, does the issue deserve the attention that I have paid it? . . .
"A whole political movement has been created and sustained on a single notion, homosexual sodomy," he said. "Given such attention paid to a sex act, I can only ask, 'Who is really preoccupied with homosexuality?' Surely any rational person would wonder about the judgment of an individual so consumed by a sexual practice that it would gain a dominant influence in his or her life."
Frank's problems began last summer when he acknowledged to a Washington newspaper that he had placed on his staff payroll a homosexual prostitute with whom Frank once had a sexual relationship. The congressman said their sexual encounters ended after the man began working for him.
After the newspaper story was published, Frank referred his case to the ethics committee, which has sole power to recommend disciplinary action against House members. Once the ethics committee gives a recommendation, other congressmen may introduce amendments seeking penalties, including expulsion.