Currently, with one week remaining until Iowa’s Presidential Caucus, Ron Paul is in the hot seat. The Texas GOP hopeful denies writing racist columns for a newsletter bearing his name during the 1990s. Examining Paul’s denials, the Washington Post’s Josh Hicks gave Paul three Pinocchios which according to the Post means that Paul’s statements are misleading and use “legalistic language that means little to ordinary people.”
Paul’s views on gays are also open to question. One newsletter citation, frequently noted in the press, relates to his views on gays and HIV. Reportedly Paul said that gays “enjoy the attention” of that illness. In another 1989 newsletter, he criticizes the Massachusetts legislature for passing a gay rights laws, and implies that gays wanted to promote pedophilia:
Given the fact that Paul recently reversed himself and voted to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, one might wonder if his views on gays have changed. However, the Paul campaign’s current State Director is Mike Heath. Heath is also the chairman of the board of the Americans for Truth About Homosexuality and once worked to oppose state initiatives such as the one condemned by Paul in the 1989 newsletter. A 2010 article on the AFTAH website describes Heath as
…the former executive director of the Christian Civic League of Maine and the new executive director of American Family Association of New England. (Heath will also retain the title of AFA of Maine.) He is also the only pro-family leader in American history to direct (as part of a pro-family coalition in Maine) the defeat of two statewide homosexual “special rights” laws, 1998 and 2001. In this interview, Heath, the Board Chairman of AFTAH, touches on the new evangelical politics surrounding anti-”gay marriage” initiatives — in which principled advocates against homosexuality like Heath are ostracized in the name of building coalitions more palatable to “moderate” voters.
AFTAH describes itself as “a group dedicated to exposing the homosexual activist agenda.” Last year, the organization was listed as a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center due to frequent misrepresentations and vilification of gays in public statements and literature. Just recently, AFTAH used the Penn State child abuse scandal as a platform to link sex crimes of pedophiles with homosexuality.
Apparently, Heath’s work is having some effect in Iowa with at least one endorsement touted on Paul’s website. According to the news release announcing the endorsement, Heath has been to “295 houses of worship” in Iowa. On the matter of gays and gay rights, I wonder what position is being articulated in those houses of worship.
Given his prior newsletters and his current staff, it is fair to ask what Ron Paul really believes. Despite Paul’s denials, his views in 2012 may be about what they were in 1989.
UPDATE: Here is more on Ron Paul’s views from a former staffer. According to Eric Dondero, Paul is uncomfortable around gays but believes they should be free to do whatever they please in their private lives. The Paul campaign is taking this seriously, responding to CBS News over the matter.
If Paul had any chances to catch on with the mainstream, they are pretty much gone now. He claims he didn’t write the racist and bigoted newsletters but he has yet to name who did. He says he does not know but he has not, as far as I can read, given even a theory about who did or how he could recommend the newsletter without knowing what was in it.