WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — North Carolina state Rep. Larry Brown, who caused controversy last fall after calling gays “queers” and “fruitloops” in an email to his Republican colleagues, is drawing fire again. In an interview Tuesday with The Winston-Salem Journal, Brown said the state government shouldn’t be funding HIV/AIDS treatment for those people who “caused it by the way the live.”
Brown, who represents Kernersville, N.C., and other portions of eastern Forsyth County, made his comments during an interview about the state’s new legislative session, which begins later this month. Stopping HIV/AIDS funding was on his list of priorities this session, along with passing a state constitutional amendment that would bar same-sex marriages.
“I’m not opposed to helping a child born with HIV or something,” Brown told the paper, “but I don’t condone spending taxpayers’ money to help people living in perverted lifestyles.”
Ian Palmquist, executive director of Equality North Carolina, called Brown’s comments “unacceptable” in a statement released Wednesday.
“These comments are completely unacceptable,” said Ian Palmquist, Equality NC’s Executive Director. “Larry Brown is out of touch with the people of North Carolina, who strongly support programs to care for the most vulnerable among us, and he’s out of step with his own party.”
Palmquist also pointed out Republican U.S. Senator Richard Burr’s long, outspoken support for funding for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program.
“I think it’s common sense,” Burr said of the program this fall. “The compassionate thing to do is to make sure people get the medications they need. But if you look at it from a budgetary standpoint, it’s much more cost effective to provide medication than it is to treat the devastating effects for individuals who don’t receive treatment.”
The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBT civil rights organization, has called on Brown to apologize for his remarks. HRC president Joe Solmonese said Brown’s comments were “hysterical, judgemental and inaccurate” and “out of line with the fair-minded people of North Carolina.”
Though Brown’s comments in October 2009 created a deluge of demands for an apology, Brown never gave one. Republican leadership across the state has also refused to weigh in on Brown’s views. Equality North Carolina used Brown’s “fruitloops” remarks to raise awareness and funds. In November, they carried hundreds of boxes of Froot Loops cereal to Brown’s offices and held a press conference addressing Brown’s heated statements.
Equality North Carolina has scheduled their 2011 Day of Action lobbying event for Feb. 15. They hope to stop the forward movement of anti-LGBT pieces of legislation like a constitutional amendment on marriage or reversals to safe schools and sex ed victories made in 2009.
more: Stay tuned to goqnotes.com for more on this story and on Equality North Carolina’s 2011 Day of Action and the upcoming start of this year’s legislative session.