Tennessee state Senator Stacey Campfield's portrait will remain on Vestal High School's Hall of Fame despite his anti-gay comments.

Some graduates of the southern New York high school had called on the school board to remove Campfield from the Hall of Fame. They argued that his views on homosexuality and the origins of HIV/AIDS disqualify him for the honor.

Campfield is the chief sponsor of a bill dubbed “Don't Say Gay,” which would outlaw the discussion of sexual minorities in Tennessee's public schools before the ninth grade.

Appearing on Sirius XM's The Michelangelo Signorile Show to discuss the controversy surrounding his bill, Campfield asserted that “AIDS came from the homosexual community” when host Michelangelo Signorile asked, “What's harmful about [homosexuality]?”

“It was one guy screwing a monkey, if I recall correctly, and then having sex with men. … It was an airline pilot, if I recall.”

“My understanding is that it is virtually – not completely, but virtually – impossible to contract AIDS through heterosexual sex. … [It is] very rarely [transmitted vaginally],” Campfield insisted as Signorile denied the claim.

“Senator Stacey Campfield's unabashed homophobic rhetoric and his blatant ignorance regarding how AIDS is transmitted serves only to oppress, hurt and diminish the dignity of other human beings while at the same time fueling the cause of bullies everywhere,” said John Perricone, a Vestal Class of 1977 graduate. “Displaying his picture on Vestal's Wall of Fame disgraces and tarnishes this school's reputation. We simply ask that Vestal's BOE remove his picture so that our pride in our Alma Mater can be restored.”

Vestal Central Schools Superintendent Mark LaRoach told WBNG Action News that the Hall of Fame is not an endorsement of views.

“It is a lesson in civics. We're blessed, in this country, to have the safe-guards of a constitution. We may not agree, and we may find it offensive, what other individuals may say in a public forum. It does not mean that we're going to abridge those comments, unless they occur in our buildings and would be hurtful and certainly negative to the development of young people,” LaRoach said.