Conservatives to use workshop controversy against Massachusetts governor

BY Advocate.com Editors

February 15 2001 12:00 AM ET

Conservatives say that they plan to use last year’s controversy about a workshop for teens that included the discussion of sexual issues to try to derail the nomination of Massachusetts governor Paul Cellucci to be ambassador to Canada, the Boston Herald reports. President Bush has yet to formally nominate Cellucci, but the announcement is expected in the next several days. The Parents Rights Coalition says it will send tapes of the workshop to senators to embarrass the governor. The workshop for gay teens, held last March, was conducted by the state's Department of Public Health and Department of Education counselors and included detailed explanations of gay and lesbian sex acts. “People across the country are really outraged by this,’’ said PRC member Brian Camenker, who is being sued by the counselors for secretly taping the session. “There is definitely going to be something pretty big.” Two counselors were eventually fired for their role in the workshop. Camenker contends that Cellucci snubbed his group by refusing to meet with them. Abner Mason, Cellucci’s top policy adviser at the time, said Camenker wanted the governor to eliminate programs for gay teens. “He wanted to come in and try to convince the governor not to continue with the policy of making schools safe for all teens—including gay and lesbian teens,” Mason told the paper. “The governor is very committed to this whole safe-school initiative. I told [Camenker] I didn’t think the governor was going to reverse himself.”

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