Woody White, congressional candidate in the 7th district Republican primary, said he personally thought homosexuals should be treated as criminals during testimony as a law student before a Nebraska legislative committee in 1993.
WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – Woody White, congressional candidate in the 7th district Republican primary, said he personally thought homosexuals should be treated as criminals during testimony as a law student before a Nebraska legislative committee in 1993.
White, who was in his second year at University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Law, strongly opposed a bill that would have prohibited employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
White, according to a transcript from the Nebraska Legislature, said the bill was "nothing more than mere subterfuge designed to promulgate homosexual behavior as normal and worthy of minority protection when it is clearly not comparable with the civil or the women's rights movement."
"Homosexuals are not suffering from injustice or inequality," White said in 1993. "The right of individuals to believe the gay lifestyle thought to be immoral and to manifest this belief by terminating the employment of gays must not be mistaken for unjustified discrimination. It is not wrong to uphold the belief that homosexual behavior is immoral."
During White's testimony, a state senator asked him, "Do you think homosexuality should be made a crime? Should homosexuals be treated as criminals in other words?"
After explaining that he thought the issue should be up to each state, White said, "I come from a state in the South where it is still a crime to engage in sodomy. I would, as a personal choice, I would say, yes."
In his 2004 campaign for N.C. Senate, White referred to this testimony on his campaign webpage.
"From Student Body President when he was in college to testifying before the Nebraska Unicameral while a law student, Woody's life has been defined by taking the lead on tough issues and in providing commonsense solutions to problems," reads a cached copy of the website.
When asked during an interview early Friday afternoon if his views had changed since 1993, White did not answer the question directly.
"I hope you'll produce the whole transcript on your website and instruct your viewers to go read everything that I said because in context, the conservatives and most people will understand what I was trying to say," White said.
More than four hours later, his campaign released the following statement:
"Let me be clear: I do not believe gay and lesbian men and women are criminals. They are not. And on the question of workplace discrimination, I believe they should not be discriminated against. This is not inconsistent with my position on marriage – which I believe is between one man and one woman. Nor is it inconsistent with my Christian faith. My position today on this issue is what is important; not what I said over two-decades ago as a 23 year old law school student."
During the interview, White said David Rouzer, one of his opponents in the GOP congressional primary, was "unquestionably" responsible for notifying the media about the Nebraska testimony.
"This is what you learn in Washington, and my opponent David Rouzer has learned from the inside crowd, that you attack people for being conservatives," said White. "That's what liberals do, is attack conservatives, and that's what he's doing and that's a disappointing thing."
"It's obviously not true. This is absurd," said Jessica Wood, spokeswoman for Rouzer's campaign. "This is the kind of campaign tactic you would expect from a trial lawyer."
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