Nevada Assembly Speaker-designate Ira
Hansen is being criticized for remarks he made last year comparing
being gay to bestiality and prostitution.
On November 7, the Assembly's new
Republican majority picked Hansen as their candidate for speaker.
The caucus will vote in February.
This week, Hansen was forced to
apologize for sexist, misogynist, homophobic and racist writings
after the News
Review took a detailed look at his 13-year career as a
columnist for the Sparks Tribune.
“I am deeply sorry that comments I
have made in the past have offended many Nevadans. It is unfortunate
that these comments, made almost 20 years ago as a newspaper
columnist and talk radio host, have been taken out of context and are
being portrayed as intentionally hurtful and disrespectful,” Hansen
wrote in a statement.
However, the Review Journal
pointed out that Hansen left the paper in 2010 and produced a letter
written last year in which Hansen objects to a legislative attempt to
repeal Nevada's ban on gay marriage. (The ban fell last month and
gay couples can now marry in Nevada.)
In the letter, Hansen insists being gay
is a behavior, much like adultery, prostitution, pedophilia, incest,
pederasty, bigamy and bestiality.
“No one is 'born' as a member of
these so-called 'minority' groups,” Hansen wrote. “Like all
sexual behaviors, people have to choose to do them. Thus, people who
engage in homosexuality are not a 'minority' any more than adulterers
are a minority. Would prostitutes be classified as an historically
discriminated against 'minority' for special treatment under law?”
He added that “homosexual conduct
shortens lives by 15 to 20 years.”
“[T]hese things were not uttered 20
years ago in a bid to get readers of a Northern Nevada newspaper to
read his stuff,” the Review
Journal's Steve Sebelius wrote. “They were written just
last year, on official letterhead, as Hansen acting in his official
capacity sought to influence the course of debate on an issue of